How to lessen disposables, waste at SEA Games 2019
The Break Free From Plastic movement gives tips on how athletes, sports fans, organizers, and hotels can go zero waste and plastic-free at SEA Games 2019

MANILA, Philippines– From refusing single-use plastic to simply bringing your own tumbler, there are many ways to go zero waste at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

As the Philippines hosts the 30th SEA Games with the theme “We Win As One,” the Break Free from Plastic movement posed a challenge to organizers, athletes, and the public to go zero waste and plastic-free at the regional meet. (READ: LIST: Zero-waste initiatives in the Philippines)

While gunning for gold and aiming for podium finishes are commendable, the Break Free from Plastic movement also stressed the need to champion the environment as it prepared a handy guide on Thursday, November 28. The guide comes just days before the official opening of the SEA Games on Saturday, November 30.

“Other communities have hosted zero-waste and plastic-free events. We can do this at the SEA Games,” the group said.

Here are Break Free from Plastic’s tips for athletes, sports fans, and guests to go zero waste and plastic-free at the 2019 SEA Games:

  1. Refuse disposables.

  2. Bring a reusable water bottle to avoid using single-use plastic bottles.

  3. Bring reusable cutlery and food containers especially when eating out to do away with single-use plastic packaging.

  4. Bring reusable bags for any mementos or items you might want to purchase. 

  5. No food wasting.

  6. Choose hotels and eating establishments that encourage zero waste practices.

  7. Do not litter.

Organizers, sports venues, and hotels can also do the following to help out in minimizing the waste and plastic used during the regional meet:

  1. Provide water-refilling stations.

  2. Encourage food concessionaires and food caterers to go plastic-free.

  3. Facilitate proper waste segregation by providing properly labeled trash bins.

  4. Do away with sachets – condiments, shampoo, conditioner – and provide dispensers instead.

  5. Avoid food wastage.

  6. Do not send the waste to incinerators or thermal waste-to-energy facilities. 

  7. Post signages to ensure people understand what will be done with waste.

  8. Make sure the recycling and composting options are clearly stated during the event to ensure proper use of all containers.

  9. Staff each waste station with trained volunteers.

  10. Encourage carpooling among attendees.

  11. When sending out invitations, clearly advertise that one of the goals of the event is to reduce waste.

  12. If any, keep decorations to a minimum.

  13. Minimize the number of things people bring inside the venue. 

The Philippines is the 3rd biggest source of plastic leaking into seas worldwide, just behind China and Indonesia, according to a widely cited 2015 study on plastic waste.

report from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives released in 2019 also said that almost 57 million shopping bags are used throughout the Philippines every day, or roughly 20.6 billion pieces a year. The same report said that in just a year, the average Filipino uses 591 pieces of sachets, 174 shopping bags, and 163 plastic labo bags (thin and translucent plastic bags).

Various advocacy groups in the country have started their own campaigns to raise awareness, while the government has also taken steps through legislation. At the individual level, one movement often mentioned in plastic pollution campaigns is the zero-waste lifestyle. (READ: How an online community encourages Filipinos to try ‘buhay zero-waste’)

The Break Free from Plastic movement said that “with the proper information, communication, and execution, reducing the [SEA Games’] impact on the environment is a piece of cake.” –

Are you attending the 2019 SEA Games and doing your part to help the environment by following any of these tips? Share your photos with us and use #ManyWaysToZeroWaste