Right from our very childhood, we are taught why and how we should reduce, reuse and recycle (the 3R) waste. However, very few of us implement this in our daily life perhaps because we find it to be inconvenient or because we do not want to put in extra efforts.
It is interesting to note that when it come to selling recyclables to the local retailer or the kabadiwallah, we are all ready to put in that extra effort of separating the recyclables from the waste largely because it brings us monetary benefits. What we must realize and remember is that if we follow the 3Rs of Reuse, Reduce and Recycle in our daily life, it will definitely benefit our society while also helping us save money.
Looking at the waste load generated by our civilization today and the very limited capacity we have to manage this overflowing waste, it is the need of the hour to follow the 3Rs of waste reduction hierarchy. Here are ten ways how we can and must reduce, reuse and recycle our waste.
REDUCE – Eliminating the generation of waste.
1. Always keep a carry bag (made out of cloth, jute or even plastic if you continue to use the same bag) with you when going shopping and reduce the use of polythene bags. This is a simple point that can make all the difference in our fight against polluting and unhealthy polythene bags. Always buy products with less packaging or which are packed in recycle cartons. Do not buy vegetables tied in a plastic net.
2. Always use both sides of the paper especially when printing on paper. This can make a huge difference to the environment and will also help reduce your paper cost. Click here to browse a page on Microsoft Office’s website with instructions on how to print on both sides of the paper (duplex printing).
3. Boycott plastic water bottles and make the switch to reusable glass bottles or thermo-steel bottles. Plastic bottle are mainly made from chemicals which may cause mental disorder and liver cancer when these plastic bottles are exposed to sun. The ultraviolet rays that now reach the Earth’s surface leads to leaching of this chemical from the plastic into the water.
REUSE – Making use of materials in their original state at the same place or at some other place
4. Use rechargeable batteries rather than using one time batteries. Doing so seems expensive in the beginning but it certainly saves money in the long run.
5. Make it a habit to donate clothes, books, computers and other electronic devices to someone needy rather than just throwing them away. Find out NGOs around you where you can donate all this stuff and keep their contact numbers handy.
6. Reuse stationery and office materials rather than purchasing fresh every time.
RECYCLE – Turning waste material into valuable resource.
7. Always ensure that you get your plastic waste recycle. PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), the one from which plastic bottles are made, can be recycled into fiberfill for sleeping bags, rope, pillow, carpet fibers. HDPE (high density polythene) can be recycled into flowerpots and traffic barriers cone. LDPE (low density polythene) can be recycled into recyclable grocery bags. PS (polystyrene) can be recycled into many useful things. So don’t let your plastic go waste..ensure it is recycled.
8. Remember that materials that contain lead, nickel, steel, cooper, zinc, and aluminum are recyclable and they do not deteriorate from the reprocessing. You just need to take them to a collection center or a retailer that accepts such items.
9. Never throw away Electronic Waste (E-waste). It may contain precious metals like gold and silver which can be extracted. For example small composition of gold is present in the circuit board (PCB) of mobile phones and a total of 350g of gold can be extracted from 1000 Kg of PCB. Always give away, resell or dispose your Electronic Waste by giving it to agencies authorized for handling it.
10. Recycle food scrap and kitchen waste through composting. Maintain a small garden or potted plants in or near your house and compost your kitchen waste (like tea leaves) and recycle it into manure!
Image by K. Dooley via Flickr over CC