Dec 19, 2018

Aside from being the busiest time of the year, Christmas is also the most wasteful season with all the lavishly wrapped gifts, glittery cards, and extravagant decorations. Over the past years, environmental advocates have been warning the public to reduce trash from holiday parties because the Philippines has been generating almost 50,000 tons of garbage every December, according to zero-waste advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition. We know it’s the time for festivity and indulgence, but this does not mean we should turn a blind eye to the environment’s concerns.

So before you buy those incandescent Christmas lights, plastic tinsel, disposable plates, ribbons, and rolls of gift wrap for your upcoming party, think long-term. If you’re going to buy something you cannot reuse, find an alternative. You don’t really need to sacrifice much (or anything at all).

Here’s a few tips you can apply to your party planning without being a grinch to the environment:

Opt for reusable tableware

Although the use of disposable cups, papers, and utensils in parties is an efficient and relatively cheap practice, these types of tableware are still one of the biggest contributors to our growing pile of holiday garbage. It’s best to invest in reusable tableware instead. They may be not low-priced but at least you know it’s something you can still use in the future.

Aside from being able to reuse it, you also have a wide variety of types and styles to choose from. Furniture store Guava Sketches, for one, sells eye-catching china plates with matching canisters in colors and prints fitting for the celebration. You can complement these with the designs of the utensils, like how Happy Room PH‘s red and gold cutlery accent the plates in the photo above.

Bone china plates and canister from Guava Sketches, cutlery from Happy Room PH

If some of your offered dishes require chopsticks, you still don’t have to buy those overly wrapped disposable chopsticks from grocery stores. There are stores like The Crockery Den which offers light, reusable, and not to mention stylish bamboo chopsticks.

Bowls and chopsticks from The Crockery Den

Invest in organic produce

A vendor stacks the fruits in a farmer’s market in Metro Manila. Photo courtesy of

For a greener Christmas experience, serve food with ingredients sourced from local farmers, which is mostly sold in markets available all over the metro. The practice of organic farming is good for the environment, since it reduces pollution and soil erosion, uses less energy, and increases soil fertility.

Festoon the venue with recycled decorations

Irresponsibly discarded Christmas decorations are often the main cause of the holiday season’s harmful effects on the environment. Incandescent Christmas lights, for one, consume too much electricity and generate carbon emissions. It is recommended to buy LED or light-emitting diode lights instead, as they save 75 percent more electricity than incandescent ones.

There are also rising alternatives to plastic decorations. These include Christmas trees handcrafted by artisans in Laguna. They made the trees with sturdy and fan-shaped leaves from buli palm trees, one of the largest palm trees in the Philippines, which according to the makers will last a number of Christmases.

You can also design your place with seasonal flowers or plants which you can display in washable holders like this one:

Plant bag by Carl Jan Cruz and Jessica Tremaine at Guava Sketches

Pack gifts in reusable gift wraps or bags

We’ve discussed this before (Read: Skip the gift wrapper and do these eco-friendly wrapping tips instead) but we’ll say it again: That glossy gift wrap with a short shelf life does not actually do anything aside from making your present look presentable. Although gift wrap made of recycled paper is now available, it is still best to wrap those presents in things the receiver can still use in the future such as pages of old magazines, fabric, old tin cans, boxes, or even bags. A good example would be the painted bag above from the “Pambahay Sculptures” of Cruz and Tremaine from Guava Sketches.


This story originally appeared on Northern Living Host Issue

Read more:

Skip the gift wrapper and do these eco-friendly wrapping tips instead

Forget plastic and cling film—use this sustainable food wrapper instead

How to wrap your last-minute gifts without looking rushed

TAGS: christmas Eco-friendly green green living holiday ideas northern living Party sustainable Wrap