The Biggest Misconceptions Filipinos Have About Green Living
In the Philippines, the zero waste and plastic-free movement have been gaining traction over the years. But while we are certainly seeing more and more green living efforts from both individuals and businesses, there’s unarguably some hesitation from both ends.
Data proves that our country is far from perfect: In 2018, the Philippines was recognized as the third-largest generator of solid waste among Southeast Asian countries. With the boom of online shopping amid the nationwide lockdown, the Philippines has probably generated even more waste between 2020 and 2021.
Difficult and discouraging as it is to live a sustainable lifestyle in the Philippines, many Filipinos continue to seek areas wherein they can help the environment. After all, we only have one planet to live on — it is only right that we focus our efforts on protecting it.
If you want to hop on the zero waste movement, we promise you will not regret it. In this article, we hope to clear your hesitations and misconceptions about green living.
Myth #1: Individual efforts towards green living do not matter
Photo by JORLUORSU
Perhaps one of the major roadblocks of the zero waste movement in the Philippines is this mentality: I am just one person. What I do does not matter.
As we regularly face bad environmental news, it is quite understandable to feel overwhelmed. It is easy to think: What does my rejecting a straw amount to, when there are oil spills, illegal logging, and unstoppable mass productions of face shields?
To combat this thinking, we remember what Anne-Marie Bonneau, a zero waste icon, once said: “We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
Through the years, we have certainly seen how our individual actions have impacted the world we live in. Not so long ago, people started refusing plastic straws. As this small action became widely practiced, many companies also started striding towards sustainable business practices. In 2019, Boracay and Siargao restaurants began serving drinks with straws made from rice and coconut leaves. In a bold move, McDonald’s and Starbucks likewise abolished single-use plastic straws in favor of other alternatives.
Reality: Every step towards green living, no matter how small, counts.
Myth #2: Green products are expensive or not worth the price
Photo by ANNA OLIINYK
We have heard of a lot of Filipinos rejecting green living because of this misconception. If you share this idea, it is easy to understand where you are coming from.
More and more companies are on the road to transforming themselves into sustainable businesses; unfortunately, some corporations capitalize on this — even to the extent of greenwashing. Greenwashing is a marketing scheme that promotes something as sustainable, even when it is not, to attract more consumers. Because of the green living “trend”, these deceptive companies have been getting away with raising their prices in the name of sustainability.
To ease your discomfort, remember that green living does not mean constantly swapping out items you already have. Green living largely means lessening the waste that goes to the landfill. Meaning, the fewer items you purchase, the better. In this sense, green waste living can even be cheaper than not living sustainably.
In connection to that, you might find well-meaning sustainable businesses that truly support the zero waste movement. Many of these companies offer products at a more expensive rate. This is probably because they do not practice mass production.
When products are sustainably sourced and carefully crafted, they tend to take up more time, effort, and labor. Sustainable businesses will typically provide you with a breakdown of their expenses.
Reality: Green living means using what you already own more than buying “zero waste alternatives.” As to it being a bit more costly, if you are not paying the right price, someone (an underpaid employee) or something (the environment) else is.
Myth #3: Green living is extreme or all-or-nothing
Photo by RIKAC
Living sustainably comes in all sorts of forms, so it’s easy for some people to be overwhelmed by the things they have to do to get there. As a result, they either decide to go all the way or back out before they even begin.
You might have come across the term “eco-anxiety”, which refers to people’s fear of environmental damage. It also happens when you try to be perfect at green living. That is, when you don’t leave much room for flexibility, as well as a bit of creativity; the same way how humans tend to see the world as just black or white.
The fact of the matter is, moving towards greener living can start from something simple. Say, walking to a destination when there’s no need to ride a vehicle. Using plates and cups made from compostable materials (e.g. sugarcane) over plastic or paper is another. Even refraining from sending useless emails, which consume more electricity, helps!
Reality: Green living is a gradual process. We can't save the world on our own, but the little sacrifices we make matter. Take it one step at a time, one swap at a time.
Myth #4: Green living is aesthetically pleasing
Photo by FILMBETRACHTER
Contrary to Instagram and Pinterest, green living does not translate to a pantry filled with delicately labeled mason jars. So if you are trying out the green lifestyle, you do not have to go out and purchase all of these containers just to “look zero waste”.
Again, green living means using what you already own. This might mean reusing your years-old Tupperware. Or, upcycling those glass peanut butter containers as plant pots. Green living may also mean choosing biodegradable products — and of course, intentionally composting them after use.
Reality: There is no perfect formula for green living. The pressure of curating cookie-cutter kitchens and bathrooms is unnecessary.
Myth #5: Green living is time-consuming
Photo by MONFOCUS
As with every lifestyle transition, green living can demand some time from you — especially at the beginning of your journey. You might find yourself spending hours researching the concepts of sustainability. Before going out to eat, you might need a few more minutes to prepare your reusable cutlery, and then a few more to wash them upon usage.
There is no denying that you will need to exert some effort to live a green lifestyle. But, this does not mean the lifestyle is unattainable altogether. In fact, once you get the hang of it, you will be able to make better, eco-friendly choices without even thinking about it.
Not long after you start your zero waste journey, you will already have your go-to shops and stores. You will know which restaurants around the block avoid single-use cutleries and use eco-friendly food packaging instead. You will know which green alternatives to pick up the next time you are in the grocery.
Reality: It is easy to adapt to the zero waste lifestyle, especially when you are part of a community that lives the same way.
Through the myths that surround it, green living is worth it
It’s true, green living has its advantages and disadvantages. But here is something we are sure of: Taking care of the only planet we live on will always be worth the effort.
Thankfully, green living is becoming more and more accessible throughout the years. For example, sustainable businesses like Econtainer Philippines are helping us approach the lifestyle with ease.
Econtainer Philippines offers eco-friendly, 100% backyard compostable sugarcane bagasse food containers, which are proven to be more eco-friendly than paper food packaging. Unlike paper food containers, sugarcane bagasse food packaging is made of waste material which leaves a much smaller carbon footprint. Aside from that, it is also more durable and doesn’t require any chemical coating, making it much safer for our bodies and our planet.
With more brands like Econtainer Philippines providing eco-friendly alternatives for your personal needs, it will definitely be simpler for you to live out a green lifestyle.
ABOUT ECONTAINER PHILIPPINES
Econtainer Philippines is an internationally accredited wholesale supplier of food service disposables made from sugarcane bagasse. We offer eco-friendly, affordable, hygienic, and aesthetically pleasing plates, bowls, trays, and straws for businesses and personal use in the Philippines. Order or apply as a distributor now!