Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Maximize Your Condo's Balcony For the Ultimate Green Experience

Whenever you see a sign saying ‘DMCI condo for sale,’ what comes to your mind first? Do you often think of a cramped place with nowhere to put your favorite plant in? Not so, because condominiums have terraces suitable for a mini vegetable garden. You never had to sacrifice a green experience with these simple tips.

Containers


Container gardening is the most popular terrace garden. Of course, you will need a container or two depending on how wide your balcony is. Wooden boxes, plastic buckets and clay pots are just some of your choices. You should only use high-quality containers with 8 inches depth and 6 inches diameter dimensions. Match the container size to the available space.

Any plant that can be easily transplanted is great. Optionally, germinating seed indoors like the way you would with backyard growing is possible. When the vegetable plants are ready, just transplant them to the container.

Varieties


Almost all vegetable plants that can be planted on a backyard can be also planted on your condo’s terrace. Vegetables such as eggplant, tomato, parsley, green onion, lettuce, cucumber and herbs can thrive on containers given the right conditions.

If you are planning to plant beans, squash or tomato, you should use wooden tubs or bushel baskets. These are better gardening supplies for bigger plants.  



Soils


When planting on container gardens, you might as well use synthetic soils as growing mediums. They are the best for container plants as they are made of peat moss, sawdust, wood chips, perlite, vermiculite and other such planting media. The goal is having a lightweight, loose mixture of soil media so the roots of your vegetables will get the right water and air balance.

The rule of thumb is one part soil, one part gravel and one part moistened peat moss. If you are going to buy packaged soil from your local gardening centers, they usually contain more peat so you may only need to add coarse gravel or vermiculite. Compost may be also added for extra nutrients for the plants.

Drainage


Container gardens need adequate drainage. Put drainage holes on the container, if they don’t have any. Before putting the soil though, you may fill the bottom with coarse gravel to improve drainage for your vegetable plants. Line the pot bottoms with newspaper.

Water


Do not forget to water your vegetables once the container garden is settled on the balcony. Watering is the biggest concern when maintaining the container garden. Containers dry out pretty quickly. Watering once a day every day though is enough. Water thoroughly without disturbing surface roots. You may also add water-absorbing polymers, so you need not water more frequently especially if you have bigger vegetable plants.

When it rains, and your veranda has no roof, there is no need to water them. Even when your balcony has roof above, make sure that direct sunlight is abundant. You may move the container around the balcony if you have to. Porous containers such as wood or clay will need more water compared to metal and plastic.

You may also add water-soluble fertilizers. Don’t over-fertilize the plants, however. Nitrogen fertilizers are highly suitable for green, leafy vegetables. For fruits and flowering plants, phosphorous fertilizer is more suitable.

Yield


The balcony garden may eventually yield a good amount of veggies on condition that they are getting plenty of sunlight and water. Vegetables grow best when in full sunlight. Make sure that the plants receive at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. Fruiting vegetables need more, say 10 hours a day. You may just follow the sunlight path around.

You’d know the plants are ready for harvesting. However, harvest them when they at their peak of ripeness for the best tasting veggies.


Nowadays, more and more people are moving into condominiums. If you think condos lack the land for gardening, think again. Terraces, aside from rooftops, can be converted into a vegetable garden. Growing veggies on your balcony is not difficult at all. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to green your condo. Simply follow the simple soil and container rules noted above for a flourishing balcony vegetable garden. 


C’mon and unleash the urban gardener in you!

Finding Eco-Friendly Wedding Gowns

If you are planning a green wedding in Manila, Philippines, the catering and venue are the very last thing that you should stress yourself with. There are hundreds of catering providers locally. Hizon’s Catering, which is the best wedding caterer in the Philippines, for instance, can match events with ideal venues whether it’d be a catering in Manila or nearby provinces and whether it will be an all-organic feast or not. Hizon’s is accredited to over 250 world-class venues.

What you should stress yourself about is your wedding gown. In the US, the choices of eco-friendly wedding gown designers are limited. What more in the Philippines?


The dilemma


We are talking about green weddings here, and one aspect of such is reducing the price and buying an item that can be recycled or reused. Regardless though, every bride wants to look ravishing on her wedding day. This means finding the best gown that fits your earth-friendly lifestyle.

There are many international designers, but again their costs may be too high for a green wedding. There are also local designers who cater to your requirements, but be reminded that they do not specialize in green wedding gowns. If you are going to have the gown made from scratch, be prepared financially since the cost may go up to $2,000 or even more.

Fundamentally, you can always buy online such as from Etsy although you must have a way to take a ‘good look’ at it somehow to establish the fit otherwise you have to return and have the wedding gown shipped in the Philippines again, a costly process definitely.


The solutions


All brides have their own styles, and some have their own eco-style to look for. If you are from another part of the world, the best way to ensure you can wear an eco-couture wedding gown is to buy abroad and hand-carry or have it shipped here.

There are eco-couture designers who consistently launch their collections of eco-friendly wedding gowns. Also, designers such as Chris Kole, Adele Wechsler, Justin Alexander, Katherine Feiel, Tara Lynn, Pure Magnolia and Wai Ching also accommodate custom wedding gown. Most of the designers also offer wedding gowns for as low as $100. Some even rent brand new wedding dresses.  

The wedding gowns are local and handmade. The environmentally-friendliest wedding gowns are made from organic hemp or silk, organic cotton, bamboo silk, vegetable dyed silks and with organic design elements. Some designers use vintage or remnant fabrics for their individually hand-cut gowns.

Some of the designers also offer alterations of used wedding gowns. If designer prices, which can go anywhere $500 to $3,000, are not in your scheme of things, you can start the search through prowling the local thrift stores or consignment shops. Just remember when buying vintage dresses, it is wise to go for bigger dresses than smaller ones if you want it altered. Alterations are usually around $40 to $60.

After the wedding, if you want to repurpose your wedding gown, you can donate it to Brides Against Breast Cancer or I Do Foundation. The foundation will sell or auction your gown, and the proceeds will go straight to the foundation’s advocacy funds.

Further, the search for your green wedding attire doesn’t stop at finding the perfect wedding gown. Of course, you also need to find the right pair of shoes to go with your dress. Some options for eco-worthy wedding shoes are Moshops, Beyond Skin and Olsen Haus. The shoes and sandals are perfect for any wedding. The best part is the shoes can be used over and over on various occasions.


Sometimes, weddings are not about where you want to marry, but more about how you want your wedding to be remembered. Not all couples-to-be are bold enough to have their weddings as earth-friendly as they want it to be. Unfortunately, you need to bring with you your organic wedding gown to the Philippines if you want to marry here since the choices of eco-designers are limited. Anyhow, bringing your gown or having it shipped here in the Philippines is easy-peasy.   

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Choices for Environmentally-Friendly Wedding Venues

The average wedding in the Philippines costs ₱100,000 which covers church, venue, attire, invitation, photo and video coverage, cake and catering service in Manila or anywhere you want. The biggest portion of the budget must be devoted to the food and skimp on other elements such as the venue. This doesn’t mean that you cannot have the best venue for your event though. Here are some of the cheapest yet the most environmentally-friendly wedding venues.
 

Parks


Parks are great for outdoor weddings. Some parks even have gazebos, mini fountains and ponds perfect for picture-taking. Simply, parks provide the most breathtaking backdrop for any wedding minus the high price. We have 35 national parks in the Philippines. Authorities having jurisdiction over these properties may have specific permit requirements. Get in touch with the local authority regarding such.

Beaches


Public beaches are also cheap alternatives for beach weddings. These beaches have the basic facilities such as decks, halls and gardens where the reception can be held. There are also small family-owned beaches in the southern part of Manila that you may consider. Government-operated beaches also require permits. Stringent rules also apply.

Campuses


Universities in the Philippines have conference rooms, chapels, lagoons, gardens, fields, etc. for both the ceremony and reception. These areas can accommodate as many as 150 guests. These can be rented out for a minimal fee.

Libraries


In the Philippines, there are at least 7 major public libraries, 5 privately-owned libraries open to the public and 38 community libraries. Most of these libraries have meeting rooms and canteens or cafeteria where ceremony and reception can be held, respectively. Some libraries require a fee, but some are free, but you need to write them a letter of request or secure permits from the local government unit.

Backyards


If your backyard is expansive enough to accommodate up to 100 guests, then why go anywhere else? You can have your wedding at your backyard. If you don’t have that kind of backyard, you can ask one of your friends if you can use his or her backyard for your wedding. Offer him or her a rental fee although he or she might probably decline. Hey, just helping you out on your big day may mean a lot to your friend.

Historic sites


Historic sites are also ideal wedding venues. The Philippines boasts of at least 28 historic sites where weddings can be held including Paco Park Garden. Also, some churches near these historic sites are regarded as world heritage sites such as San Agustin Church in Manila.

Restaurants


Restaurants are perfect for smaller wedding. More and more eco-friendly restaurants are sprouting like mushrooms in Manila and Quezon City including Earth Kitchen, Corner Tree Café, Le Bistro Vert, Likha Diwa sa Gulod, Pipino, Quantum Café and Rawvolution. Some of these restaurants have banquet rooms where you can held the wedding privately. The best part? You can treat your guests to earth-friendly menu.

Museums


Most museums here in our country have ornate woodworks, decorative chandeliers, high ceilings and other important décors that can add uniqueness to your wedding. There are 28 national museums in the Philippines. Also, in Metro Manila alone, there are 42 museums and art galleries to choose from.

Botanical gardens


Botanical gardens are suitable for both indoor and outdoor weddings. Not because they are called gardens they won’t have any facility fit for a wedding. There are 9 recorded botanical gardens locally, two of which are found in Manila and another two in Quezon City.


Choosing a wedding venue should be easy, that is, if you know what to look for. The places noted above are just some suggestions. Of course, you can always decide to wed anywhere you want as long as the place is spacious enough to accommodate the number of your guests. Some of these wedding venues may be free, but for most of them, you need to pay less than ₱10,000 for the use of the venue and its facilities. Anyhow, you can save on the décors since these venues offer the most natural and ‘free’ decorations. How’s that for an eco-friendly wedding?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Making Condos More Sustainable

Making condo building greener must be the topmost priority of the developers and associations. Not just the condos in Manila area or in Makati, Alabang, Quezon City, but the condos in the entire country. While not all residents may welcome the idea due to certain compromises, introducing green initiatives is still plausible. Below are just some of the ways to make condos greener.


1) Provide adequate yard waste bins (or compost containers)



Given the fact that condo buildings do not generate much yard waste, but the association can still put yard waste containers where the residents can discard their compost including food scraps. Encourage the unit owners and renters to compost and recycle by providing them an informational sheet upon moving in.

2) Create gardening spaces



Condo units usually lack the space they need for gardens. Nonetheless, mini Zen gardens as table centerpieces will do. The condo association may also consider buying identical window boxes and seedlings for all the tenants. If this is not possible, consider transforming the rooftop into a garden.

3) Use non-toxic materials



During remodeling and repainting, buy and use non-toxic and low, or non-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints. These are the chemicals that paint release once applied. When replacing carpets, buy and use carpets that are free of formaldehyde. As much as possible, use reclaimed building materials available from eco-friendly stores.

4) Use non-toxic cleaning supplies and materials



If the condo association hires a cleaning service, make sure that they are using EPA registered products. They should not be using chlorine bleach and ammonia-based cleaners. Instead, inspect if they use cleaning products that don’t contain chlorine, alcohol, triclocarban and triclosan. The products must be petroleum-free, solvent-free, VOC-free and biodegradable.

5) Recycle old appliances and materials



If the building and tenants have old appliances, recycle them. If they still work, considering donating them to the local shelter or selling them and allocate the proceeds to buying new appliances and materials for the common areas.

6) Weather-proof doors and windows



If installing weatherproof doors and windows is not conceivable, the condo management can try weather-stripping the doors, windows and trunks. Weather-stripping means sealing the door and window openings and securing them from the elements. Weather-stripping doesn’t only keep out weather, but also increases interior comfort, reduces noise and lowers utility bills. After this, the next step should be insulating the walls, attics and crawlspaces.   

7) Install CFLs on entryways, hallways and other common areas



Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) last up to 10x longer than the standard incandescent bulbs. CFLs also use 75% less energy which means lower electricity bills throughout their use. The condo association can further save through installing timers in less frequently used areas such as the laundry room. Light sensors can also be used for outdoor lighting. For the front walkways, the association may choose to install solar lights.

8) Use water wisely



There are many ways by which the building and tenants can consume water more efficient.

  • Equip kitchen and bathroom faucets with low-flow aerators
  • Mount low-flow shower heads
  • Replace toilets with low-flow toilets
  • Use Energy Star rated appliances on common areas
  • Fix water leaks quickly
  • Put native plants instead of ornamental plants
  • Use drip irrigation in the garden


For a more organized green transition, the association may form a green committee. The board can ensure smooth implementation of the projects. This also signals the commitment of the association to the initiatives and so more tenant buy-ins can be achieved. Make sure that whatever project the condo embarks all the tenants are well-informed, so they’d understand the motivation behind those projects and how they may benefit from such. Through this, buy-ins will be high and so will the tenant involvement and commitment.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

PEZA Zones - What You Need to Know About Them

PEZA, which stands for Philippine Economic Zone Authority, is the implementing agency established in helping promote investments in the manufacturing industry. The agency assists investors from the registration to facilitation of the business. It also provides tax incentives for businesses that will embrace the establishment of a presence here in the Philippines specifically on PEZA zones. We’ll dig deeper on what PEZA is, its features and benefits.


Overview


The basic philosophy behind import and export is import is inward and export is outward. The Philippines is a customs territory that imports and exports goods. In eco-zones, anything going outside of the zones are considered as exports and anything going inside are imports.

Nonetheless, the philosophy behind PEZA eco-zones is not just merely about encouraging foreign direct investments. Instead, the eco-zones are created to reflect sustainable development in the Philippines like that of Lakeside EvoZone in Laguna. Operating on PEZA zones are not only about reducing operating costs, it is also about improving occupant productivity, enhancing asset, boosting profits and optimizing economic performance lifecycle.

Aside from PEZA zones, there are also PEZA approved companies and PEZA approved buildings. The companies and buildings go through a rigorous process of accreditation before it can be declared as PEZA approved. The President is the one to proclaim if an area (or zone) is an eco-zone, but the agency will declare if the company or building is approved. As of June 30, 2013, there are 289 economic zones in the country:

  • 2 medical tourism parks/centers
  • 17 tourism economic zones
  • 18 agroindustrial economic zones
  • 65 manufacturing economic zones
  • 187 IT parks/centers

Evidently, not all kinds of businesses are registrable. PEZA chooses which among the business operations may register as an eco-zone. If your business falls in any of these categories, then you should consider registering with PEZA and reap the benefits of doing such.


Prior registration


The establishment of the business operations is not automatic. There are two ways a business by which a business can register. First, it can file application papers during incorporation with SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and second, after SEC registration. Upon registration, various documents will be required depending on the nature of operation and approval. Aside from SEC documents, business plans and maps may be required. The business must establish its operation in a PEZA zone or PEZA building to qualify.

Upon registration, the business activities that an entity engages into are registered and not necessarily the entity. If a firm engages in more than one business activity, separate registrations for each activity are required. This means the firm will not qualify to the incentives for its non-registered business activities.


One-stop and non-stop shops


As a one-stop shop, PEZA issues:

  1. Building and occupancy permit
  2. Import and export permit
  3. Non-immigrant visa
  4. Environment clearance

PEZA also employs harmonized customs processes since it has a memorandum of agreement with the Bureau of Customs. It also has a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Business permits are waived for companies operating in PEZA zones.
As a non-stop shop, PEZA provides 24/7 continuous service to companies. All officials are on-call 24/7.


Fiscal and non-fiscal incentives


A certificate of registration will be provided by PEZA for those business activities that are deemed compliant with the requirements. The terms and conditions including the incentives are detailed on the certificate. Fiscal incentives include:

  • Income tax holiday

Tax holidays are provided in specific durations such as 3, 4 and 6 years. The tax holiday is also subject to extension under specific circumstances. PEZA registered companies are not liable to pay 30% income tax.

  • Special income tax

Upon the tax holiday expiration, PEZA registered companies are liable to pay 5% special income tax. The percentage is based on the company’s defined gross income wherein only specific expenses (as enumerated) are deductible from gross sales.

  • Value added tax

Purchases of goods and services required for the utility of the registered activities receive 0% VAT.

  • Exemptions

PEZA registered companies are exempted from withholding taxes on payments of the local buyers from the otherwise customs territory. These are also exempted from paying government fees including permits and licenses.

  • Duty free import

Further, the non-fiscal incentives include simplified import-export procedures, employment of foreign nationals and issuance of special non-immigrant visas to the employees. Apart from state-of-the-art building and facilities, the eco-zones are fully-secured and with adequate, un-interrupted power and water supplies.


Economic growth and development has a huge impact on the natural environment. The Earth’s ecosystem is now approaching a critical stage if it is not at it already. Our government, including all of us, must do its share. Urbanization is challenging, but we can always look for ways to conserve our resources. If it means operating businesses on eco-zones where consumption is strictly regulated, then so be it.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Green Weddings 101: How to Make Your Wedding Eco-Friendly (Part 3)

We’ve discussed in the second part how you can plan a green wedding including invitation, attire, reception, flowers, décors, gifts and parties. Finally, we will look into food, ceremony, jewelry, makeup, photography, favors, transportation and honeymoon. For food, the emphasis is on choosing the best catering services in Philippines. Again, here are some practicalities that will keep your sanity and creativity at the same time.

Food


Food can affect the sustainability of any green wedding. One of the common practices is having local growers as food suppliers, thereby eliminating the amount of chemicals used in producing and the amount of emissions released in transporting.

Green caterers frequently have contacts with local suppliers whom they can work with in adding organic elements on the food where possible. Some couples request their caterers to customize the menu and make it more vegan or vegetarian.

Find the wedding caterer who can pick the best seasonal fruits and ingredients for you because you might not be able to taste test them ahead of time. Local produce needs lesser fridge time and lesser packaging thereby producing lesser wastage.  

The same goes with the wedding cake wherein organic, in-season ingredients are used in reducing chemical use further. So, there is no need for the cake to travel miles to the wedding reception, reducing carbon footprint in the process. Don’t use plastic toppers. Choose fruits or flowers instead.
If there are leftovers, couples may choose to have them composted. Untouched foods are also donated to a homeless shelter locally.

Ceremony


Regardless of wedding, ceremonial paraphernalia are used. In the Philippines, weddings are not complete without rings, arrhae, candles, veils and cords. Veils and cords used can be made from organic fibers while the candles are made from beeswax.

Red carpets are usually used in local weddings although some couples may choose a personally-designed aisle runner. The runner can be made from organic cloth as well.

Jewelry


Wedding rings are a must. They are symbolically important. Blood or conflict diamonds are a big no-no. These are the diamonds mined in conflict areas. Instead, couples often consider buying from eco-conscious jewelers that use recycled metals and stones in their rings. Some jewelers strictly enforce the use of ethically sourced diamonds and other gems. These are sustainable luxuries that you cannot afford to miss on your wedding.

Other less expensive options are re-fashioned family heirlooms or antique jewels for a wedding ring or buying handcrafted rings. These are the most common choices not just for wedding rings, but also for engagement rings.

There are couples who opt to wear wooden wedding bands in place of metal bands.

Makeup


On average, a lipstick wearer absorbs 4 lbs. of lipstick over her entire lifetime. Cosmetics, like lipsticks and other makeups, have toxic chemicals in them. Instead, use all-natural beauty products for the bride and bridesmaids. Organic hair products should be also used.

Some brides seek out local green salons for her wedding day to style and makeup the female members of the entourage.

Photography


What’s a wedding without a photographer to capture the special moments? Most photographers today had already migrated to digital. Digital photography means paperless, chemical-free way to cover the event. In fact, digital photographers simply gave newlyweds choices on which photos to print.

Green photographers who use rechargeable batteries, 100% recycled photo papers, non-toxic inks and LED or CFL bulbs are a good choice.

Finally, you may also ask your families and friends to bring a digicam with them. Just make sure they will share the photos perhaps on Flickr, Snapfish or even Facebook. In this way, you don’t have to hire several photographers.

Favors


Favors are trinkets that some guests may choose to throw to the garbage bin. Instead, couples choose to make a small donation in the name of their guests to an advocacy. You may give your guest a choice of charities to donate.

Some weddings, on the other hand, opt for non-wasteful favors such as seedlings or mini potted window or table plants, echoing the values of the wedding. Couples may also choose to plant a tree and name it after a guest.

Other options are homemade jams, gourmet organic chocolates, bags of dried or fresh organic herbs, organic coffee or tea, reusable bags and organic soaps and other skin care products. Make sure the containers are reusable also.

Transportation


Transportation to and fro the church to the venue is another must for weddings. Typically, the couples arrive in cars and guests travel separately. Cars are a leading contributor of air pollution.

Some to-be-weds decide to hold their ceremony and reception at the same place or close to one another (as in walking distance) so there’s no need for frequent transports. There are couples who chose to transport their guests in batch through alternative energy buses.

There are couples who arrange carpools to travel from an agreed place to the church and then to the venue. This minimizes emission while having them acquainted with one another in a less yet fun way.

Honeymoon


About 99% of the newlyweds in the US will go to a honeymoon. The choice of honeymoon destination can also reduce the impact. For instance, newlyweds may choose ecologically sensitive areas. They may also go to eco-tourism options. They may choose green hotels or accommodations such as family-operated bed and breakfast or lodging inn that opt to help in conserving resources. Both of you are going to spend most of your time in the hotel anyway.

Couples ensure that what they are spending will go to the local economy by choosing local vacation options instead of traveling abroad. Choose a location where people and environment will benefit because of that choice.



Whether it’d be in the Philippines or elsewhere, there are various ways to have a green wedding minus the need to sacrifice style and elegance. Eco-friendly weddings are like your traditional weddings without the waste. All aspects of a wedding have sustainable options to consider during planning. Whether you want an earth-friendly element in a wedding or two or go completely green from the decors to the foods, remember going green always makes a difference.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Green Weddings 101: How to Make Your Wedding Eco-Friendly (Part 2)

In the first part, we’ve tackled what a green wedding is and what it entails. Now here’s the main question: how to plan a green wedding? There are several aspects of a wedding to look at – from the invites down to the Philippines catering provider. Nonetheless, there is a surefire way of making an aspect as green as possible. Here are the practicalities involved in planning a green dream wedding.


Invitation


Weddings cannot be completely paperless. Impossible! You will need papers for save-the-date, seating program, RSVP card, seating card, menu card, thank you card, maps, guestbook, etc. Old-style paper-making is not only an energy-intensive process, but it also produces chemical wastes.

While invitations are not the sole aspect where papers are needed, the choice of the right paper products is mostly consider for such. Some sustainable options for invitations are recycled papers, DIY invite kits and tree-free milled papers. Some use postcard-like or one-page invites with detachable response cards.

If you are going to let a local printing service provider to do your invitations, make sure that it is using chlorine-free and plantable or recycled papers, vegetable or soy-based inks and eco-friendly printers.

Some couples go the extra mile to use the Internet instead and send out electronic invites to their families and friends. There are couples who create their own wedding website and put all the information there. For instance, if you have guests traveling from other countries, you can put information about green hotels or transports in your area.  

Attire


Wedding dresses contribute greatly to waste as well. In pursuing a sustainable wedding, the couples may choose to have their dresses borrowed or rented. If they opt to buy the dresses, they make sure that the dresses are manufactured by companies that advocate green business practices. The dresses themselves must be made from organic fibers like hemp silk to ensure minimal impact during production.

Nonetheless, there are bride-to-be’s who chose to wear vintage or re-purposed gowns instead of buying a new one. Some brides alter their wedding gowns so they can be recycled into new dresses or can be worn again.

For the entourage, the dresses are usually designed so they may be re-worn in the future. One-time use is never a principle of green weddings. Actually, there are eco-couture designers who clearly understand how the environmental conscience thinks.  

Unique recycled accessories may be worn by the females.

Reception


Wedding venues set the tone of the event. Some couples choose a same-venue ceremony and reception while some choose to provide eco-friendly transportation. However, there are those who pick a local spot for a reception like an art gallery, organic farm, heritage park or botanical garden. Some choose outdoor settings to minimize the need for décors. The natural backdrops will serve as your décor minus more cash to spend on it.

Some couples even arrive either on a horse-drawn carriage or rickshaw although another popular option is a hybrid car.

Make sure that the venue has comprehensive recycling processes or facilities.

Flowers


Weddings are not complete without flowers. When picking flowers for the wedding, however, a conscious choice should be those that are grown locally, seasonally and organically without using any fertilizer, pesticide or other chemicals in nurturing them. These not only release harmful chemicals, but they may also contaminate drinking supplies and waterways.

Local flowers are commonly chosen as there is no need for long transports; the longer the transportation, the higher the amount of gas emitted to the surrounding. The couples often pick organic florist as a supplier other than growing the flowers that they intend to use on their wedding.

Some brides may collaborate with their florist to come up with simple designs that require less number of flowers or faux flowers that can be used as décors later after the wedding ceremony.

Yet another practice is deciding early on what to do with these flowers post-wedding. The couples may replant the flowers if possible or donate it to the local chapel or church for ornamenting the altars. Hospitals also accept donated flowers.

Decors


Décors are present on both the ceremonies and receptions. In reducing one-time utility, some couples choose to use the same wedding ceremony décors on their receptions. Buying more flowers than usual is thereby eliminated.

For other couples, selecting ‘pre-decorated’ venues is preferred such as forest parks and farm resorts. They also use seasonal décors such as gathering sea shells nearby to decorate the place during summertime. For all-time earth-friendly appeal, decorate the venue with twigs, berries, live plants, etc. Whatever décor you have in mind, location and season are good sources of inspiration.

There are weddings that made use of stylish glasses as centerpieces. They just stuck them with ornamental stones and few stalks of flowers. For candelabra centerpieces, choose soy-based or beeswax candles.
Have the flower girls throw organic rose petals or biodegradable confetti. Refrain from releasing butterflies. 

Gifts


An average wedding can have as many as 200 guests. Each guest spends from $20 to $100 (₱500 to ₱4,000). Soon-to-wed couples ask their guests to buy gifts for the local charity dwellers. Or, they create a registry full of earth-friendly items from gardening supplies to organic linens to organic restaurant certificates and more. You may register with stores that sell eco-friendly products.

You may ask for small contributions for a green honeymoon as well. Just be discreet because majority of us Filipinos regard asking for money as downright tacky.

Parties


Bachelorette and bachelor parties are still big these days. Keep the sustainable theme going by going local. Most couples forego the parties, but if they decide to have one, they can choose a local destination and have the caterer serve local foods and drinks.

The bachelorette party can be conducted on organic spa treatment houses. Or, they can spend the day learning how to make wedding bouquets and other arrangements or DIY aisle runner. Any low-impact activity will do such as camping. The same goes with the stag party.



That’s all for Part 2. You see you’ll never run out of choices on planning a green wedding. We’ll take a look at other equally important components of a wedding in the last part. 

Are Organic Foods Safer and More Nutritious?

Organic food items are now a staple of fresh produce aisles on most supermarkets. Perhaps, you are wondering why the sudden fondness of or...