History and Culture
How to Hold Zero Waste Events in Our Islands
Aklan, Metro Manila
CJ Clemente | Oct 02, 2018
Boracay is soon awakening from its slumber since April of this year, to be even more beautiful than people remember it. Some photos have already surfaced, and if to be believed, are spectacular at the very least. The shorelines look immaculate with no litter or a swarm of tourists to litter (literally and figuratively) the area, and the water looks its pristine self once again.
It´s been said that Laboracay has seen its last on the beloved island as the rowdiness of the event has caused more harm than good to the place. Only smaller parties will be allowed so that those who want to enjoy the quiet will be able to do so.
With fewer parties and visitors permitted, Boracay residents and the Department of Tourism are hoping to continuously work on its rehabilitation as it´s still not completely done just yet.
On the other hand, to be able to prevent closures from happening to other parts of our beautiful country, we need to be more proactive in caring for the environment even when we´re having fun. Enter—zero waste events.
MUNI, a community organization that aims to encourage people to think about the impact they have on the environment in their daily lives, holds regular workshops for those who want to know more about sustainable living. They also help you start small by bringing products that further their cause.
While the first thing that comes to mind is a lame, mellow party, you can actually manage to put together different kinds of fun events without compromising the environment.
Last MUNI Meet-up, the panelists talked about the challenges and solutions for mounting successful zero waste events.
Drei Castillo, Co-Founder of Good Food Sundays shared the hardships that come with hosting a market for small farmers. Since her events deal with food, it´s difficult to do away with the use of plastic one way or another, but she has managed to contain that by being selective on which suppliers to work with.
Gab Paloma, Creative Director of Save Philippine Seas, seconded how truly difficult it is to stand your ground with suppliers because you´re battling the convenience of single-use plastic in all kinds of events.
Kimi Juan, travel photographer and blogger, recently got married in an intimate, eco-conscious way without having to sacrifice fun, memories, or her principles when it comes to zero waste management. She says the biggest challenge in planning her wedding was ´going against the norms´because all the decisions she made had people, in her own words, ´shookt´.
She tells the audience how she had to refuse cake because, simply put, she doesn´t eat cake and she doesn´t want to waste it. She cut out many things she felt she didn´t need. Her centerpieces were composed of leaves found around the venue and upcycled materials, her printed invites were only about ten (10) pieces but all the rest were digital to minimize the use of paper, she didn´t give away souvenirs, and her photobooth used recycled paper.
Ïn the end, it´s about prioritizing what you need¨, says Juan.
Here are some tips that might help make it easier for you to make your own events—whether it´s a party, a wedding, or just a potluck with friends—eco-friendly.
Produce evergreen materials
Banners, tarps, posters should be made with the future in mind, which means no dates so you can reuse them, especially if it´s a regular event that you hold.
There are ways to make things easier (and not to mention, cheaper) by using digital resources. For example, registration can be done online or on the spot by typing in your information instead of printing out sign up sheets. You can also do away with nametags and just have introduction activities to get to know each other. There´s always a way!
Incentivize merchants and attendees to bring their own bags, utensils, packaging, etc.
For example, give out discounts for people who will use their own bags for their purchases, or maybe give a freebie for those who come with their own utensils, or lessen their door charge or booth rental. There are ways to make zero waste events happen that can be fun and rewarding.
List down the materials you need and then take inventory of which ones you already have in hand. For those that you don´t have, ask friends who may know people who have what you need so you don´t need to buy them.
Consider the extra steps you might need to take in order to make your event just the way you want it. You may need to review your set of suppliers and have enough time to check if they´ll be able to meet your requirements, or you might need to consider the venue if it´s feasible to have an easy cleanup afterwards, etc.
“Remember, you don´t have to trash the world to have a successful event”. - Kimi Juan
To know more about their meetups and how you can do your part to save the environment, get in touch with MUNI at https://www.muni.com.ph/