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Why Go Green: A Plea to Reduce Plastic Use in Everyday City Eating

May 29, 2017

As the rain rolls in much earlier in the summer than expected, we know we will soon be faced with an aspect of city life that has simply become fact: flooding. While old drainage systems are part of the problem, the other major part is the clogging of these systems thanks to our trash problem. But I throw my trash out in bins, we may cry. I pay my taxes—it’s not my fault that the city cannot figure out how to deal with people who litter or have poor trash management systems. While it is certainly great to make sure trash is properly disposed of and segregated, our mere participation in this disposable culture of convenience means that we simply cannot wash our hands of the responsibility.

It is often said that our every action is a vote for the kind of world we wish to live in.

Living in the information age has made modern living dependent on convenience, with a premium placed on the importance of saving time. A quick meal at McDonalds, a Starbucks on-the-go, a bottle of water from 7-11—all these things make our lives that much easier, but also make the world that much more filled with trash. That the Philippines taking pride in its stunning beaches and biodiversity while also being the world’s 3rd biggest dumper of plastic in the oceans is an irony we could do without.

Pro tip: upcycle a glass bottle to as a reusable container for cold drinks. It makes the coldness last longer throughout the day than a paper cup, and the portability allows you to make the most of every centavo so you don’t have to throw the drink away until you’re done with it. Going green can save you some money too.

It is often said that our every action is a vote for the kind of world we wish to live in. If we wish to live in a cleaner, more beautiful Philippines, here is something really simple that we can do as food-lovers and restaurant-goers: bring a baunan. Whether you bring one filled with food that you made at home, or bring it over to the nearest Jollijeep for your lunch, or even just keep it tucked away in your bag or car in case you hit up a restaurant for dinner and have leftovers—having a grab-and-go dining kit (ideally a container for food, with utensils, and a reusable cup—plus points if you get a metal straw!) can create a huge impact.

Making the switch is easy: it’s just a matter of creating a new habit with patience and dedication. Look out for green community groups like MUNI for support.

According to an organization called Carry Your Cup, getting a disposable cup of tea or coffee a day for a full year results in 23 lbs. of trash. That means a mere 87 people with a daily coffee or tea takeout habit results in a full ton of waste. Not to mention the plastic stirrers, sugar and creamer sachets, or even multi-cup carriers they come with. And we’re just talking about a single drink a day—imagine if you make that your whole meal, and not just your morning cup of joe.

Tag us in photos of food in your baunan on Instagram using #PepperPH! Do you have a habit of bringing your own container to prevent waste? Share us your green food tips below.
Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.
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