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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reminded the public on the proper management of all kinds of waste as the country celebrates the holiday season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of the pandemic, this holiday season is like no other,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

“As we hold a more intimate holiday celebration with our immediate families, let’s be extra careful on the safety of our health and the environment by practicing responsibility and sustainability,” he added.

Cimatu emphasized the importance of observing proper waste segregation in households during this time of merriment, gift-giving, and feasting.

He said wastes that need to be segregated include those that are compostable, recyclable, non-recyclable, and special waste comprising of household hazardous and healthcare wastes.

According to Cimatu, food waste should be under the biodegradable or compostable trash bin, whereas containers that come with it such as glasses, cans, plastic bottles should be under the recyclable trash bin.

On the other hand, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda said that as online shopping and food delivery continue to rise due to the pandemic, product packaging such as plastic bags, as well as used plastic or paper cups, and tetra packs should be segregated as non-recyclable materials.

Used masks, gloves, face shields, and other healthcare wastes should be separated as household healthcare waste, while batteries, charging cables, and other electrical and electronic equipment should be under household hazardous waste, he added.

While proper garbage disposal is deemed critical during this season, Antiporda said Filipinos should primarily consider the basics of solid waste management, and that is, to reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible.

“Let’s be more mindful on what we buy, eat, and use and how it will affect the environment,” Antiporda said.

To minimize holiday trash, Antiporda advised the public to bring reusable bags or eco-bags whenever one shops, buy local and in bulk, list things to buy prior, patronize long-lasting goods and gifts instead of disposable ones as well as save gift wrappers and decorations to again be used for next year.

He said that whenever possible, send online greeting instead of cards, buy own groceries and prepare food at home for Christmas and New Year instead of availing food delivery services or eating outside, avoid using disposable plates and cutlery and refrain from buying excess goods, and choose products with minimal packaging.

“Time and time again, Secretary Cimatu has always urged the public to practice the ‘3Rs.’ So, whenever we buy, use, or consume something, it is always beneficial to consider if it saves landfill space, raw materials and natural resources such as energy, water, and money,” Antiporda said. ###