Environment

SM Biodegradable Plastic Bags

One night, alone in my bed, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was working overdrive. My attention was somehow directed to the trashbag we had hanging by the doorknob of my bedroom. It was an SM shopping bag and I was puzzled by what was written at the bottom: BIODEGRADABLE.

I was itching to turn Alfred’s laptop on and do some research right there and then. But I had already turned off the wifi router downstairs and I really didn’t want to make myself up more by walking all the way down and then up again. So I decided to leave it until the next day.

I forgot all about it though. The next day, I wracked my brain for what I wanted to research but couldn’t remember what it was. Today, I saw three or four blue SM plastic shopping bags on a chair – obviously my parents went shopping on Sunday afternoon. Then I saw it again: BIODEGRADABLE.

Was it possible? I asked Alfred. We finally looked it up.

I am disappointed that there is not much press about SM’s – the largest shopping mail chain in the Philippines – initiatives like this. I mean, they should totally use it in their advertising. Here’s one story I found on Google. And there are a lot of shoppers who blogged about this too. They have photos posted as well, which is what kept me from posting my own photo of the bag. Haha.

BUT. There seems to be a question of proper disposal still.

On the Wikipedia entry on Biodegradable Plastics, it says

Proper composting methods are required to efficiently degrade the plastic, which may actually contribute to carbon dioxide emissions.”

Okay, I’d really like to know more about bioplastics and the proper disposal of such. Like, would it better if we use the SM bags to line our trash cans or would that mean it would also end up in landfills and would still not be decomposed as fast as literature says it should? I’d rather not research much on it right now though. At least not now. So if you have any useful links that can tell me more about this, be sure to send it over?

I appreciate that SM is taking steps to address the problem of environmental degradation, at no obvious added cost for the consumers. Maybe Robinson’s and Ayala Malls will follow suit? They should also encourage buyers to bring their own reusable bags.

Fused Plastic Bags

Okay, I will admit it. I just had to turn the computer on before I went to work this (or yesterday) afternoon, and do a little more browsing. While going through the beautiful handmade products over at Etsy, I got several ideas and set out to learn what I could about them.

I saw a store that sold bags made from recycled plastic bags so I wanted to find out how those were done. I also remembered a comment on a blog post I read about a quilt made from coffee cup sleeves (amazing work). It was about fusing plastic and using that to water-proof the quilt so it can actually be usable. That led me to searching the net for fusing plastic bags.

It appears to be a very simple process. I can do it. I want to do it. But I have no idea what to make. You know, I wouldn’t know what to use the fused plastic fabric for. The different sites showcase various uses for it, but not one thing that I would really want to make for myself or others that I know would be used everyday. Know what I mean? Ahh, me and my ideas. I really should have a partner in crime who is far more creative or artsy than I am. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re interested, head on to Etsy Labs for the simple tutorial, and you can check out this short video too.

Verabear the Social (green) Entrepreneur

Envirosax really had me inspired. It’s a great concept and I love that it has designs and comes in colors that make it look cool to bring your own shopping bag. I mentioned in a previous post how I agree that it is indeed a step in the right direction. The only thing that would make it even better (and cheaper) would be if the product was sourced and made locally. No more jet fuel to take it to the Philippines too.

I broached the possibility of producing and selling reusable shopping totes to my boyfriend, and briefly to my dad. They said it is a good idea. I hope Alfred doesn’t forget that he promised to help me find the materials and assist me in my attempt to make them. As far as I know, there are no products like it in the Philippines. The canvass bags really just won’t do because they are bulky and this kind of bag would appeal as a second (or third) bag that one can carry along with them everyday. The bayong wouldn’t fit in my purse so that’s no competition.

I’m thinking that sellers like Bags in the City and the Multiply community in the Philippines will help me sell these. I actually am excited. Perhaps finally, I’ve found a way to redeem my social conscience and still earn on the side. Maybe in the future I will enable others to create and earn for themselves too. All while helping contribute to a greener Philippines.

Me and my dreams.

Weekend with Frank (the Typhoon)

After 36 hours of no TV, electric fans, computer and Internet – we are back online. Warning: extremely long post. You gotta give it to me, I itched to post!

Tropical Storm Frank changed course and hit Manila directly on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Alfred and I left work together and were both surprised at the strength of the winds and the rain that welcomed us as the glass doors of the building opened to let us out.

As the cab took a right on our street, it was so dark – there was no electricity in our neighborhood but those living right across the creek from us still had their lights on. Since the typhoon had cooled the house, we didn’t mind not having electricity, we did hope that power would be restored when we awoke. It was not to be.

At 3PM, we went down to eat and then confirmed that not only was power still out, but that my grandpa’s house had already been flooded though the water was already receding. My nephews had spent the day with my mom and dad and they even ate our share of lunch. Their moms and dads were already scrubbing their floors when I went out to check on them and the flood waters were already outside our gates. Our house was only built 6 years ago and the floor was elevated to the highest flood level recorded in this area, so we were safe from the flooding. My brother and his girlfriend got off work in the morning but were not able to come home because it was already flooded. They spent the day at Trinoma and were only able to come home at around 4PM when the water cleared.

Though it was still raining, the wind had died down and it was evident that the worst was over. We had also hoped that it meant that power would be restored very soon.

We had planned on malling because Alfred was on leave for Sunday night. We had not been to the mall since he moved to the night shift, and we were both itching to check out some shops. Off we went as soon as the water receded back to the creek and out of the road. We had to walk on the rip-rap though to avoid the stinky mud that was left by the flood. I had to concentrate on avoiding so much as glancing at the water lest I’d feel like falling into it. Eventually I asked Alfred to walk beside me on the sidewalk instead of behind me just so he could hold my hand. Haha.

Getting a cab was easy and so we were in Cubao in no time. The weather was conducive for a cup of coffee so we had some with muffins before we set off window shopping. When we finally went up to Gateway, we hit the shoe stores first but I didn’t find anything I really wanted. Next stop was Fully Booked – since seeing it in Yummy mag, I’ve wanted to purchase an Envirosax and so I did.
This is how my lovely bag looks like and I am totally bummed out that I can’t show you the pic of Alfred modeling the bag for me last night. After purchasing the bag, I met him at the mall’s lounge and I went in to take a pee, leaving him with the rest of our stuff. When I came out, he had already unfurled the bag and put my purse in it. I also actually used the bag for shopping too. We went back in to Fully Booked and I finally got the sequel to the only Garth Nix book I’ve ever read, Sabriel. This one’s titled Lirael and it’s the first brand new book I’ve bought this year. I’ve just been buying previously owned books, remember? I also refused the Body Shop paper bag for my purchases and just plopped them in my reusable shopping bag. ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of Body Shop purchases. White Musk is my new favorite scent and I love how the Chiffon Sheer Body Mist is so light – it feels soft, smells pretty, and you won’t feel sticky when you spray it on. Mom had it and I just had to get one for myself too! I also bought a gift box that had small bottles of White Musk Sumptuous Silk Shower Gel and Smooth Satin Body Lotion. Body yum! (the shimmer fragrance in the picture is on my wish list)

I also asked the attendant if they still collected the empty bottles of their products and she mentioned that they still do and they returned them to the factory, but there was no promo for it, meaning I won’t get anything in return if I took the bottles back. I don’t care. Knowing that I returned those plastic bottles for recycling is enough for me.

Alfred has been wanting to checkout the Adidas sale since he heard about at the start of the month, so the Adidas shop right next to Body Shop was one of our stops. He didn’t see any of the shoes he wanted on sale but he did see some jackets that he has been wanting to buy since time immemorial (of course he will only be buying one, if he actually gets to buy any). We’ll probably go to Trinoma next weekend (after payday) because he wants to checkout the stocks there too.

Last stop before having dinner was grocery shopping and of course we came prepared with the reusable canvass bag. I restrained myself from buying anything unnecessary and I really do congratulate myself for it. ๐Ÿ™‚ After all our purchases were tallied I found that I had enough receipts to get a ShopWise card and earn points. The system was offline though, probably because of the intermittent power outages.

After dinner, we were confronted with a challenge – transport. There was a long queue waiting for cabs outside the grocery and after waiting in line for about 5 minutes and seeing no taxis, we decided to wait somewhere else. Out came my jacket (with hood) and our big umbrella and we walked towards Gateway. After another 15 minutes of waiting and only one other couple getting a cab we decided to move on to another stop, and then another. When we least expected to get a cab while walking towards the main road to just get public transport, we got one. ๐Ÿ™‚

As we approached E.Rodriguez, we were hopeful because there were lights on the street and establishments. As we turned right at Sunny Side Drive and then through the streets of our barangay, there was hope because they too had power. Sadly – our street was still cloaked in darkness. Yes, just our street.

And I could not sleep. It wasn’t hot, it was still raining a bit and it was still quite cool. There were a few mosquitoes buzzing around but they weren’t bothering me – afraid I’d whack them I guess. But while Alfred was sound asleep, I couldn’t. When he woke up, I was just drowsing off. Haha.

I had to call Meralco several times over the evening, early morning, and yes, until this afternoon, to follow up on the reactivation of our service. I swear, between me, my cousins an uncle, I can’t count the number of times we’ve called their customer service hotline 16211. We understand that it’s because of the storm and that they have to address consumers from all over the Metro. But we didn’t even get an explanation for why were the only street that had no power for more than 24 hours already!

What’s worse is that the first time I followed up on my initial report, they said that a crew was sent over and was already at the site – and since my report was specific to this street, naturally that’s where I’d assume they’d be. We waited another hour, then two. Nothing. When we called back, the feedback was that power was restored. Well, duh?! Would we be calling back if it was? So they gave us a new report number. This time, response was not as fast. Up until 3PM all they can say when we called was that we were lined up on queue to be addressed. I asked that they trace whoever it was that reported that power was back in our area because obviously they didn’t go to the actual street that was reported! After I asked for such a report, on the next call, the rep mentioned that the team didn’t actually go to the site, but was just patrolling the area. That’s clear misreporting and mishandling of the report! Ugh.

Anyway, I do not want to continue hating the power company Meralco. There’s no use, right? I was upstairs when their crew finally came and I heard my cousin welcoming them sarcastically. They (including the kids) were singing the Meralco jingle that one would hear when they call the support number (their hold music). Apparently, they had to disconnect our lines yesterday because there was a tree that was in danger of falling due to the winds. They just didn’t come back to fix it right away. Now why didn’t they just note that in our reports and told us that in the first place? At least we’d know that they knew the reason why we didn’t have power!

Please offer prayers for the victims of the tragedy also caused by typhoon Frank.

Anyhoo… I am off to browse and watch TV and DVDs, and charge my phone, and drink cold water, and just show appreciation for our electricity. Haha. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh I do hope I still get to catch a sale or two in the digi world.

Hearing Mass. EcoWise at ShopWise. and a Boodle feast – Part II

So hearing mass was the first part of the Sunday night. After the priest dismissed the congregation, Alfred and I parted with Joy. I would have wanted to take Joy up on her invitation to her new apartment and have some pasta that she prepared that afternoon. We had to turn her down though, for two reasons: Alfred really really wanted to eat at a particular restaurant, and we had some grocery shopping to do.

We’ve been to ShopWise several times already, mostly when we needed to buy Pedigree or Alpo for Zune. There was a also a time that we bought vegetables and fruits there for my week’s diet. I’ve seen the banners and adverts they have regarding their reusable eco-friendly bags and always thought that that was a fantastic idea. I never bought one before because we had no real intention to make ShopWise shopping a regular activity. Last night, we decided to buy the bag because, well, as it turns out, we do visit ShopWise almost every other week.

I took pictures of the bag but I’m having a hard time uploading using my mobile phone. Argh.

So we got the bag and the cashier started filling it up with our items (it’s a big bag) and then I read about the reusable bag and their double points promo. For ShopWise card holders, much like SM Advantage, you get points for your purchases. For people using the bag, they get double points for all items that fit in the bag. So the reusable bag has three purposes : 1) reduce the amount of plastic used by Shopwise customers; 2) have a sturdy big bag for your grocery items; and, 3) earn double points for your Wise card.

I really just bought the bag for it’s eco-friendly purpose. I’ve also been declining plastic bags from Ministop, often just carrying or pocketing the stuff I purchase. I also wish they would allow us to bring our own canvas bags when shopping at SM. Or perhaps SM should have their green bags available for clothing purchases, etc., and not just for use in their Supermarkets and with conditions at that.

Anywho, we’ve been really conscious about plastics and waste lately, it figured in quite a number of our recent conversations. I’ve mentioned that the Choco Oreo Truffles ala Bakerella are a big hit and people are actually ordering it from me now. I can’t help but think about how wasteful the packaging is. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it is plastic. So Alfred and I were thinking of alternatives and paper bags just don’t seem a good idea so we got the microwavable plastic stuff (more expensive than the ones I’ve used) and then we’ll just put tags on it to encourage buyers to reuse the container or give it back to us to take a small amount off their next purchase. We’ll see how that goes.

Finally, we could sit down for dinner after running around that massive grocery store. Alfred originally wanted to eat at Hap Chan but I wanted a Boodle feast at Seafood Island. Either way we would be spending around 500 pesos for the meal. Just as before, we thought about how gluttonous we looked ordering a feast for 3-4 persons, while there was just 2 of us. We looked at a family of about 3 adults and 2-3 kids who also ordered one of the boodle feasts. Are they having the 3-4 version, or the 5-6? Hopefully the latter. In fairness, they had additional orders.

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