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Honoring my Mother | Recycling gets a boost

With the practice of garbage segregation already being a huge ‘check’ in this household’s practice, the next big what-to-do for us, which concerned our remaining water bottles, had finally been solved when a refill station finally opened near us. Their sale of very affordable liquid detergents, hand wash, fabric conditioners and even dog and car shampoos, all locally-formulated, had given new life to those accumulated two-litre bottles, not to mention availing for us also with much longer mileage for our money.

Being residents of an OC city that is beginning to resemble Singapore, with its many fines and rules, one would assume that segregation had already been a long-time practice with everyone. However, what happens next after garbage collection, as in, where do recyclables go in the absence of an honest to goodness recycling plant, is still a question that needs to be answered.

With Sabon Station (and many others like it in the country), as the refilling establishment is called, luckily we have now found new use for some of our plastics as containers. So glad to know that this had likewise taken root among other segregationist friends (ha!) in our area.

This in itself is timely, considering that the city government had just recently passed a resolution to ban the usage of some single-use plastics, as part of its move toward a more environmental friendly trash disposal system. The refilling station, although not in a joint initiative or partnership with the city, is as mentioned timely, and paving the way for consumers to have a more constructively positive contribution, other than merely segregating their refuse and leaving the rest of proper disposal at the hands of local government. In a small but significant way, we are lessening what they actually put in the landfills (the presence of which is still up for debate).

On the economic side, care to consider the exuberant cost of liquid detergents, hand wash, car and pet shampoos that are presently available and sold at stores and malls today. At refilling stations such as the one mentioned, all these products are available at half the price and just as equally-effective, if not more. Backed up by a concept that basically promotes zero waste and usage of earth-friendly ingredients, everything else may still be production, but at that in contrast, is all alternatively-oriented and without the added flare of prevalent marketing brouhahas and other related advertising gimmickry that surround most commercial products. I checked online and the only form of dissemination for these stations were through social media and of course, by word of mouth.

Still, one has to seriously consider how the packaging of most of the commercial products at malls and supermarkets are designed in a way that many are actually unfit as reusable items. Sachets and the like, packaged for mass coverage, for those who could not afford larger quantities, or for those who do not need more, were actually discovered to comprise the significant chunk of the garbage that ended up on all canals, water outlets such as our rivers or streams, and eventually, the sea. Even camping trails are littered with these. While irresponsible disposal, already embedded into dominant culture is primarily the cause, plastics is usually the smoking gun.

For everyone, this might as well be our own little contribution in the responsible handling of plastics, the move towards zero waste and at being eco-friendly, with say, emphasis on ‘little’ for the moment. Baby steps as they say.

At present, the commercial products that used to occupy our detergent cabinet is slowly being replaced with these cheap but effective alternatives, all locally concocted by local chemists not bound to the commercial market. We all have to start somewhere.

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