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EcoWaste Coalition pushes Filipinos to recycle more to save energy, climate

MANILA, March 2 — With the expected rise in electricity consumption during the hot summer months, an environmental group urged the public to waste less and recycle even more to conserve energy.

In a press statement, the EcoWaste Coalition gave recycling the thumbs up for its proven capacity to conserve energy, while avoiding environmental and financial costs when discards are reduced, reused, recycled or composted (3Rs + C) instead of incinerated or landfilled.

“The practice of 3Rs + C can help ease the anticipated power demand during the summer period, while offering many other benefits for the climate and the society,” said zero waste advocate Sonia Mendoza, president of EcoWaste Coalition.

“Recycling preserves our increasingly depleted natural resources, reduces greenhouse gases and other pollutants, conserves energy, instills environmental awareness and responsibility, and creates decent employment and livelihood for many,” she added.

Zeroing on the energy benefits, Mendoza said that recycling can actually trim electricity use, citing the following examples from the US Environmental Protection Agency:

— Recycling 1 aluminum soda can saves enough energy to run a 14-watt compact fluorescent lamp for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours;

— Recycling 1 glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours; and

— Recycling 1 ton of office paper saves up to 17 trees and between 3,000 and 4,000 kilowatt hours of electricity over the same ton of paper made with virgin wood products.

Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.

“The potential for energy saving from recycling is tremendous,” Mendoza said, noting the composition of waste generated by the National Capital Region (NCR) which, according to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, consists 52 percent biodegradable, 41 percent recyclable, and 7 percent residual wastes.

NCR’s projected waste generation in 2015 as shown in the Commission’s website is 9,060 tons per day.

“Recycling glass, metal, paper, plastic and other recyclables and turning the biodegradables into compost will not only save energy and prevent pollution, but also hugely cut disposal costs for residuals requiring environmentally-sound storage and treatment,” she said.

To further show the advantage of 3Rs + C, Mendoza cited a paper on "The Economics of Zero Waste" by US-based economist Jeffrey Morris as published in the book “Zero Waste Solution."

Morris stated that “the major environmental benefit from 3Rs + C is that fewer raw materials need to be extracted from ecosystems and refined into materials suitable for manufacturing products and packaging.”

“With reduction measures less-raw-material and energy-intensive goods and services are chosen by consumers, reused objects displace newly manufactured items, recycled materials displace newly extracted raw materials, and compost replaces synthetic fertilizers and pesticides,” he said. (PNA)


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