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Group gives biodegradable lucky charms the thumbs up

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As the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year draws closer, an advocacy group for a zero waste and toxics-free society gave the thumbs up to biodegradable lucky charms to usher in the year of the Water Rabbit.

To lessen the purchase and use of mostly plastic-based lucky charms and avoid the generation of residual trash later on, the EcoWaste Coalition cited lucky charms made from fresh fruits, vegetables and plants as eco-friendly choices for luck-seekers.

“Luck-seekers have the option of buying biodegradable charms sold in the streets of Binondo and other places, or assembling ones themselves,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, “instead of spending for charms made of plastic that are neither recyclable or compostable.”


The group also reminded those going to Chinatown to take a reusable bag with them, and refuse the red (the symbol of luck) single-use plastic sando bags given by vendors.  Consumers were further reminded to refuse plastic bags for easy-to-carry purchases to minimize plastic use and garbage.

“As January is observed as the Zero Waste Month, we take this opportunity to encourage those celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year to be conscious of their consumption choices so as to prevent and reduce the generation of plastic and toxic trash,” she added.
Popular examples of biodegradable lucky charms include the “lucky bamboo,” “lucky fruit ring,” “lucky gabi,” “lucky ginger,” “lucky pineapple,” and “lucky palay,” which are often decorated with red ribbons.

--“Lucky bamboo,” which symbolizes strength, growth, longevity and resilience, is said to attract peaceful and positive energy and progress in home and workplace.

--“Lucky fruit ring” appears like a wreath composed of 12 round fruits such as dalandan with a small pineapple in the middle, which is hung on the door to attract and welcome luck and success.

--“Lucky gabi” is said to signify unity, growth and prosperity.

--“Lucky ginger” is thought to stimulate financial growth and stability.

--“Lucky palay” consists of a bunch of rice stalks that are placed on the front door to signify a life of abundance.   

--“Lucky pineapple” is believed to bring in money and wealth since “ong lai,” which is Hokkien for pineapple, sounds like “luck coming your way” or “prosperity comes.”

As for the red ribbons, the EcoWaste Coalition suggested that luck-seekers can retrieve used or leftover ones from the last gift-giving season.

“Lucky charms and amulets do not guarantee a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead without determined efforts," the group pointed out.  “If you believe in them, please go for things that can be reused, recycled or composted, and avoid those made of plastics and hazardous substances.”

The group had earlier cautioned luck-seekers against paying for charms and amulets laced with undisclosed hazardous chemicals like cadmium and lead, stressing that healthy and non-toxic  lifestyle, hard work and perseverance, loving and caring relationships, positive outlook in life, prayers and good deeds, and respect for Mother Earth are among the tried and tested ingredients for a better life.

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