Friday, July 29, 2011

Paper's Not Really Saving The World

Local Effort
Working in Ortigas Center has it's perks. Everything's near. Malls, fast food, restaurants and hospitals. Another perk is that you get to experience what Pasig City's boasting about. It's the "Green City" of Metro Manila.

Pasig city is now prohibiting QSRs (quick service restaurants and/or fast food chains) to use plastic bags for dry goods, and regulating the use of plastic bags for wet goods. Pasig made the shift from plastic to paper gradual. I'm glad to say that all of the QSRs I have dined-in here in Ortigas is complying. They're now using paper bags for take-out. Styro food containers are replaced by waxed paper bowls and boxes.

Why Paper?
Paper is an abundant material that is recyclable and biodegradable. A lot of paper mills and paper recycling plants are operating because the demand for paper is steadily increasing. Using paper in lieu of plastic will drastically reduce our carbon footprint as like I mentioned, it's recyclable and biodegradable. Our need for paper can be easily replenished, landfills won't have that much plastic bags and stryofoams that won't decompose.

If we use paper, we can throw it away and it will decompose by itself. You can add it to your compost pit if you want to. You can recycle it and use it for a project. The possibilities are endless.

Paper is made from leaves, from trees, from natural resources. Increasing the demand for paper will increase the demand for the destruction of our forests. Shifting containers from plastic to paper just changed the problem, but it's still there. We lessened our carbon footprint, yeah, but we lessened the plants that absorb the carbon we're emitting, the plants that keep our air clean, our earth cool. We're lessening the habitats of the other animals that we are living with in this earth. The problem didn't go away, it just changed it's face.

Imagine a world without plastic, that's great, but there's also a chance that that world would also be without trees. I'm not saying that we should revert back to using plastic, no. I have a better idea, which I know a lot of people are already doing it.

What needs to be done
I agree that paper is a great substitute for plastic, and until we come up with a material that can sustain itself that doesn't deplete much of our plant resources, we'll be using paper, but like plastic, we should use it as sparingly as we can.

Here are few things we can do to reduce our "paper footprint"
  1. Refuse paper bags if you can carry the product. You have two hands that can carry it, why now use it. I know it's "too" much of an effort but think of how much paper you can save by doing it? It's not really a big effort right? You just don't want to go out of your comfort zone.
  2. If you can't think of a purpose for the paper bag, other than to carry your food back to your destination, then refuse to use it. Same as with #1, just carry what you bought if you'll throw away the bag after using anyway
  3. Bring your own bag. Now's the perfect time to use those stowed away plastic bags that you were saving, or better yet, use the eco bags that you keep on buying for your groceries
  4. Dine in. In actuality, dining in will still leave a footprint cause dining in means using water to clean up, but still, it's a way to reduce paper
  5. If you have the guts, bring your own container. I wish QSRs would be more accommodating to this idea, Imagine if everyone brings their own boxes for their food, it will reduce the consumption of waxed boxes, which really are paper hogs, since the box needs to be really steady and sturdy
There you have it, 5 ideas to really save the world

Let's help in keeping a sustainable earth. Let's all do our part in saving the world

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