Every year, on Earth Day, we like to bring attention to something that can help all of us have a positive impact on our planet.
Earth Day brings attention to a large number of issues such as pollution of the ocean, climate change, conservation of the Earth’s ecosystems, energy conservation, overpopulation, the introduction of wastes and toxicants into the wilderness and the seas, nanotechnology, the deforestation of rain forests and we could go on and on.
This year, we want to focus on the issue of waste management and how we can support and help reduce this: with the three R’s of the waste hierarchy. This is the order of priority of actions to be taken to reduce the amount of waste generated and to improve overall waste management processes and programs and it consists of reusing, reduce and recycling. We know, you’ve heard this before. But today, we’re going to give you some practical tips on how to implement this in your day-to-day life and actually make a difference.
The concept of reducing what is produced and what is consumed is essential to the waste hierarchy. It is simple: if there is less waste, then there is less to recycle or reuse.
This process of ‘reduce’ begins with an examination of what you are using and what it is used for. Start asking yourself if there is something else that could be used for more than one purpose instead or if you really need to use that specific item or not.
Here are some easy steps you can take to reduce waste:
- Opt in to paperless mail
- Avoid using disposable plates, spoons, glass, cups and napkins
- Avoid buying items that are over-packaged with foil, paper, and plastic
- Use refillable pens instead of buying too many
- Purchase multi-tasking products that perform different kinds of jobs in one (like cleaning products, for example)
- If you’re not using any item for a long time, it’s time to give it away. This goes for clothes, household products and so on.
Learning to reuse items, or repurpose them for use different from what they are intended for, is essential in the waste hierarchy. The good part is that you may either reuse those items for your own use or donate so that others can use them.
Here’s some easy examples of items you can repurpose and make most use of:
- Old jars and pots can be used to store items in the kitchen. They can also be used to store loose items together, such as computer wires.
- Old newspapers can be used to pack items when you’re planning to move to another home or store old items.
- Waste paper can be used to make notes and sketches and can be sent to the recycling centre when you don’t need them anymore.
- Old clothes can be turned into bags or tote-bags with the help of tutorials available on the internet.
The last stage of the waste hierarchy is to recycle. To recycle something means that it will be transformed again into a raw material that can be shaped into a new item. However, this needs to be done right.
By carefully choosing the products that can be recycled, it can be the first step towards efficient recycling. Here’s some easy steps on how to pick and choose what you purchase, so that you can later on recycle that same item:
- Buy products that can be recycled like paper, glass, aluminium and plastic used in the house, school or office. Aluminium, for example, can be recycled multiple times.
- Pick items that can be recycled: there is usually a recycling symbol on the bottom of products to know whether or not it is recyclable.
- Avoid buying hazardous materials that could pose difficulty for you to recycle
If you’re wondering why recycling is such an important part of the waste hierarchy, just keep in mind that recycling 10 plastic bottles can save enough energy to power a laptop for more than 25 hours!
Of course, the three R’s help tackle the waste issue, but doing our parts is essential in order for this to happen. Reducing, reusing and recycling helps save energy, money and space in landfills as well as reduce pollution caused by harvesting raw materials. Please make sure to leave a comment below with any extra tips on how you implement the three R’s in your daily routine!
We can’t wait to hear from you!
Cherchez La Femme team X
[info sourced on conserve-energy-future.com, all imagery sourced on canva.com]