Waste management — reduce, reuse, recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle — we've all heard the slogan by now. Are we aware of the importance of the message that slogan carries? Are we taking it seriously and doing anything about it? As there is not much room in the current landfills, we have to be very strict in what we can comfortably allow into them. In a way, it might be considered a good thing, as it should make people alert and more concerned about waste, making them think of it from an environmental point of view. But does it?

There are a few simple things we can do in order to improve the situation. How can we understand ‘reducing’? We can buy less to start with. Most of us, when shopping, end up buying products we did not intend to buy when entering the shop. We also buy a lot of pre-packed items, whereas we could reduce packaging waste by buying more raw, fresh, products. Clothes are another problem. We get so many items of clothing only because the new season is in or we saw something we might wear some day, and a lot of these end up in the dark corners of our wardrobes.

When doing the weekly shopping, we need bags to carry all the items in. A lot of us never bring reusable bags and keep buying plastic bags at the till every single time. A simple solution to that is get a few strong, reusable, bags and try to remember to bring them with you on your trip to a supermarket. Why not leave the bags in the back seat of your car or keep one handy in your handbag, just in case you decide to get a few bits on your way home?

If you have a printer and use it frequently, try to print on both sides of the paper whenever possible. Also look for things you can reuse and refill; things that will last long. Invest in rechargeable batteries that will also save you money in the long run. As disposable nappies fill huge areas of landfill, the inconvenience of using the towelling ones is well worth the time, effort, and energy in most cases. Using cloth nappies at home, with disposables for emergencies, will greatly reduce their environmental impact.

The average person can reuse a whole range of items. Second-hand furniture, appliances, cars, books, or clothes are all widely available. This can also work the other way round; you can offer your items that you no longer find useful to charity shops or schools.

Last, but not least, we have come to recycling. Recycling your food and garden waste can in turn reward you with excellent compost for your garden flowers and vegetables.

Always be careful when disposing of large household items such as mattresses or washing machines. Wait for the local council collection service if available, or get a licensed waste disposal company to take unwanted items to a civic amenity site.

Remember: reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever and however you can. Also try to encourage your friends and family members to join you in this important campaign. Hopefully by now, reduce, reuse, and recycle will sound like something more than just a slogan to you.


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