Sunday, May 09

Giving back through recycling

October 31, 2018 | Charissa Tulinao

On the morning of October 31st, Tzu Chi volunteers in Loyola Memorial Park in Parañaque City process the recyclables they’ve gathered so far. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi’s annual recycling activity during the All Saints’ Day holidays kicked off on October 31 in seven cemeteries across Metro Manila.

  • Tzu Chi promotes waste reduction through recycling with the aim of educating about preserving the environment. With the recycled materials, it also raises funds for future missions.


Tzu Chi volunteers in Metro Manila conducted their annual recycling activity on October 31, just as the holiday has families flocking to cemeteries.

In the yearly holiday of visiting the dearly departed, All Saint’s Day, Tzu Chi volunteers went to various cemeteries to promote waste reduction through recycling.  Seven cemeteries were the focus of this recycling activity: Loyola Memorial Park and Manila Memorial Park both in Paranaque City, Himlayang Pilipino and Manila Memorial Park (Novaliches) in Quezon City, and Manila North Cemetery, Manila South Cemetery, and Chinese Cemetery in Manila.

Since 2010, Tzu Chi’s presence has encouraged people during this time of year to properly collect and assess their trash. More than advocating environmental protection, the fruits of this cultivation are the people who now enjoy happier lives.

Stationed in Manila Memorial Park with 50 fellow volunteers, 34-year-old Sedy Barrameda explained that the significance of this activity is not just to educate. By recycling, people also get the opportunity to fund the fivefold missions of Tzu Chi. She understood the value of these recyclables as she was once on the receiving end of the foundation’s charity.

“I do this because I know it could help save the environment. And also, we are able to use these recyclables to fund relief missions for the less fortunate,” stated Barrameda, who once received medical assistance for her goiter before becoming a volunteer.

In Himlayang Pilipino, food stalls were spread throughout the park. Consistent demand for food generated quickly filled up the stalls’ trash bins. The volunteers asked permission if they can recycle some of the waste.

“I think Tzu Chi is doing a good job. First, they took the cardboards which decreased our waste. Second, the volunteers told me that Tzu Chi recycles these materials not only to maintain a good environment but to use the funds for scholars and beneficiaries,” said Gwendelyn Pasaje, manning a pizza stand.

She also stated that this inspired her to support the volunteers and the activity more, now aware where the proceeds would be used.

Tzu Chi volunteer Mercita Villas, 61, enjoys recycling as an environmentalist. She also knows that the activity will also benefit Tzu Chi’s beneficiaries as much as Mother Nature.

“The funds we acquire from the recyclables are going to be used for the future projects and missions of Tzu Chi. For example, right now in Tacloban, they’re building houses for those who were affected by the typhoon [Yolanda],” Villas narrated.

The recycling activity will continue in for the coming years as it has proved its effectiveness to the cemetery visitors and the volunteers themselves.

  • Recycling begins with each piece of material sorted into the correct bin. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • In Manila Memorial Park, Tzu Chi volunteers branch out and search the cemetery for recyclables. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • A local gives out her empty bottle and asks volunteer Mercita Villas about Tzu Chi and its missions. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • Sedy Barrameda has been joining the recycling activity in cemeteries yearly since she became a volunteer. She confidently categorizes the collected materials at a recycling station in Manila Memorial Park. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • Aside from collecting recyclables around Himlayang Pilipino, volunteers educate people about their environmental advocacy and their yearly recycling activity in the cemeteries. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • A truck filled with waste peaks the interest of volunteers. Through the plastic bags and boxes, they find recyclables to collect. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • Gwendelyn Pasaje permits the volunteers to check her stand’s waste bin for recyclables. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】

  • A pile of recyclables—plastic bottles, tin cans, cardboard, and others—awaits sorting by the volunteers. 【Photo by Charissa Tulinao】