You may think that this post is not necessarily travel related, but I’ve come across most of these ideas while travelling around the city and even when hiking up mountains or visiting waterfalls.
In the Philippines, there is still a lack of knowledge or environmental etiquette on how to maintain nature and leave it the way we saw it. I don’t understand why some people go out to experience the beauty of nature, and at the same time, leave trash behind. I’ve visited distant waterfalls and I’ve seen candy wrappers, shampoo sachets and even non-biodegradable sanitary products left behind.
Even if these so-called “nature lovers” think it’s such a small piece of plastic, it makes a huge impact on the ecosystem. It’s such a poor mentality having to think that someone else will pick it up after them.
These uneducated hikers then complain that some natural reserves have been closed down for rehabilitation purposes, but don’t realize that if they kept nature the way it was, without leaving any trace, then there may not have been any need for closure. People need to learn how to be more sustainable – less waste, less clutter, and respecting mother nature when you go out and visit her.
I hope this article will help you change some of your daily habits. I hope you can share this post as well, to help create a more sustainable Philippines. It’s the small things that count.
- If you plan to stay in a coffee shop, ask the baristas to put your coffee or tea in a mug rather than a plastic cup. Disposable plastic cups are very hard to recycle because of the plastic lining, and imagine all the people having at least 1 cup of coffee per day. How much trash are we generating?
- Avoid using straws in restaurants. Straws are one of the top 10 items being picked up during beach clean-ups. Any single-use plastic item is bad for the environment, so avoiding it will help save us and our marine species in the long run.
- When getting take out to eat in your office or home, tell them not to include plastic spoons and forks. Utilize the ones you have at home or at the office. Again, single-use plastics are terrible for the environment. They take at least 100 years to decay. And you would rather use them for convenience?
- When bringing “ba-on” (packed lunch), buy a lunch container rather than using disposable plastic food containers. Microwavable food containers are getting cheaper to buy, and people are opting to use new ones each time to save on the washing. Just remember, some of these cheaper plastic options can leach cancer-causing dioxins into your food, so you are destroying your own body by constantly using disposable plastic.
- Buy a reusable water bottle. Avoid using plastic disposable water bottles. They are also not good for your health. Aside from the BPA and PCBs, it takes at least 3 bottles of water to manufacture 1 bottle of water because of the chemical production of plastics. The toxins pollute our waterways and sicken animals (and we end up eating these animals).
- Bring your own grocery bags when shopping. They are stronger and better for the environment compared to plastic bags and paper bags. Plastic bags are the major cause of flooding, so if you’re tired of walking home from work getting your feet wet during a rainy day, rethink about that next plastic you plan to get from the supermarket.
- Shop virtually. Instead of travelling across the metro and finding things to buy, it’s best to first check online. Gadgets and even groceries can now be purchased over the web. If you know what to buy and not sure if the franchise near you has the item you are looking for, send them an e-mail first or call them.
- Take your food home. When you eat out, most restaurant servings come in larger than normal sizes. Opt to take out the remaining food and this will save you from preparing another home meal – just make sure the restaurant uses paper food containers or just use your own personal lunch box!
- Buy in bulk when shopping for groceries. For items that have long expiry dates, try to purchase them in bigger sizes. Aside from the product coming in cheaper, you also help out the environment instead of buying them in tetra packs or sachets.
- Eat local. There’s so much buzz about imported food – Fuji apples, French cheese, and Australian Beef. Just remember that your food has travelled thousands of miles to get to you, so it’s not that fresh and has caused a large carbon footprint. If you eat local produce, they are more likely going to be fresher, and also cheaper!
Do you have any other suggestions to add to this list? Please feel free to share and I will add it in!
To check out more of Natalie Tarin’s travels, visit: @coco.natty