From waste to resource
GEETU BOHRA is passionate about the 3Rs of waste management – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Here she shares some thoughts on how we can all do much more to reduce our footprint and care for our beautiful Mother Earth.
Most of the waste that we create in our households, and which we dump outside, can be made into something else. When I heard that Sweden imports garbage and waste from other countries, it really shook me. What they do with it is amazing: they produce half of their electricity with that waste. They segregate the waste and convert most of it into other resources.
In our houses, roughly 60% of the waste is from the kitchen – vegetable peels, leftover food, and so on. Recyclable items, like polythene and plastic, make up approximately 30%, and a small amount may be hazardous, like e-waste. So just imagine how much waste we can make into resources! We start with segregation at the source.
There are 3 Rs to waste management:
We need to change our lifestyle. Nowadays we prefer comfort. If there is a disposable plate and a washable plate, many of us will grab the disposable plate so that we can eat and throw. We just leave it there, but we don’t realize how much that small act of ours is going to impact the whole ecosystem.
We waste food that somebody else could eat. To provide for that, farmers must grow more. Because the requirement is more, more deforestation is happening to create land for farming.
These are the repercussions. Just a small act of wasting food and dumping garbage creates all these imbalances. So first we need to reduce our consumption as much as possible. How can we reduce?
Here are some examples:
Don’t use plastic bags: carry your own bags whenever you go to buy something.
When you buy a shirt or other item, leave behind the packaging. If everybody does that, then the sellers cannot keep storing the packages and after some time will have to tell the manufacturers to stop.
There are many things we can do to reduce our garbage. If you come up with some ideas, please share them with us.
I have seen in my native place, a small town in a hilly region in northern India, that people take their own bags or vessels to buy things. Even for oil they use a recyclable can. In the West today, there are many stores where people take their own vessels to buy goods. To achieve this we need to transform our lifestyle and lead a life where we reduce our waste by reusing things.
Some people think so creatively and do amazing things. For example, instead of throwing away an old T-shirt or giving it to someone else, you can make a bag out of it in just two minutes! You can also involve your kids. When they do something on their own, they learn.
A five-liter water can that has been made into a beautiful birdhouse.
A flower vase made from a toilet cleaner bottle.
A hand-wash bottle and toilet cleaner bottle are made into a pencil box and pen stand.
If we teach our children, they can learn by having fun.
Recycling starts with segregation. After we segregate, it’s very important to take the waste to the right place. Most of us think that by segregating waste our job is done – no! Here are two examples of recycling:
Depending on the quantity, our wet organic and food waste can be made into Biogas, or we can make our own manure.
Some people start their own business in recycling. If we segregate our waste, they may come and collect it and some may even pay us for certain items like wood, glass, plastic or paper.
By segregation we are doing something good for the environment, the person who has a business, and ourselves.
With one act we can do something good for so many people. So make sure that your waste reaches the right places.
We do not need to be so dangerous to the environment. We need to think, act and implement to make the future better for us and for all our friends, the many species of plants and animals on Earth. And that is in our hands, my friends, in your hands and mine. We have to work towards waste management as a team, but let’s start by implementing it as individuals!
Article by GEETU BOHRA
April 02, 2019
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