The Philippines ranks third in the world with the worst crisis on ocean plastic pollution. We wrap everything in plastic, a highly toxic, non-perishable material for the reason that it’s cheap and we may think it’s just the only way to go.

Thankfully, more and more options are becoming available to skip this unnecessary packaging in this season of giving. Here are some tips:

LOVE THE SECOND TIME
Buy pre-loved. In this day of fast-fashion, vintage stands out in terms of craftsmanship and originality. It’s also usually made of finer materials than the ones we can get for P999 pesos. All you need is a keen eye and the patience to rummage through thrift shops whether offline or online (e.g., Carousell) and you’re one glance away from a truly unique, carbon-free #OOTD.

FOCUS ON MOMENTS
Invest on experiences. Dine out. Cook in. Take a class with a friend. Travel. Book a massage. Go for a walk.

So often, we forget that it’s not what we do, but who we do it with that makes something memorable. Getting someone what they want might make them happy, but being there to experience what they love to do with them— sharing that joy, is what they actually need.

DO IT YOURSELF
Everyone is good at something. I’m a particularly good cook, so I always bake healthy cakes to give away. If you’re big on music, you can create Spotify lists for your friends to play during the holidays. An artist can draw up a personalized card or update the layout of another friend’s website as an exchange gift. Take advantage of the season to get creative and practice on your skills so that you may share that genuine part of you that your tribe adores the most.

PAY IT FORWARD
I make it a point to donate to animal shelters.  Meanwhile, my friends work at soup-kitchens and charity drives on Christmas Eve. Christmas is a time of giving, most especially to those who can’t return the favor.  Instead of getting things you don’t need, why not share what you can to those who need it the most? It doesn’t take much to light up somebody’s world.

GET CREATIVE ON YOUR PACKAGES
We put things that are already inside plastics in another box to tie fancy wraps around. This Christmas, why not go minimalist with your gifts by simply wrapping it in cloth, paper and straw. I had a friend who wrapped her soaps in cheese cloth, held together by a straw ribbon and adorned with real flowers. I would skip the plastic wrapping in my fruit baskets and just keep them in wooden crates. If you really have to use a container opt for glass, paper, wood, and natural fibers. Not only is it more eco-friendly, it’s also more practical not to mention classier.

Source:
2015 Report on Plastic pollution, Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment