Everybody is aware of the three R’s of waste management – the three words – reduce, reuse and recycle. However, very few can answer as to why these words are in that order and what meaning each of them entails. In order to clearly understand the meaning of these three R’s, one first needs to know the massive impact that solid waste has on the earth each year. Every year, on an average, a person throws away approximately 50 billion food and drink cans, 27 billion glass bottles and jars, and 65 million plastic and metal jar and can covers, especially in Australia, UK and the Americas. There is an urgent need to cut back these numbers and this is exactly where these three words come into play.
These is the first of the three R’s and this indicates that reducing is the first and most important step of solid waste management. The basic idea here is as simple as the less you use the lesser waste you will produce. The general idea regarding this ‘reduction’ is that it will affect one’s normal lifestyle and will not make much of an impact in the long run. However, this is untrue. A few simple steps of cutting back will help the environment without bringing about a massive change in one’s lifestyle.
- Buy products with less packaging.
- Buy products in bulk.
- Avoid disposable goods as much as you can.
- Invest in buying durable goods when making a big purchase.
Reusing something as much as possible means you are keeping waste out of the landfills for as long as possible and putting it to good use. Thankfully the idea of reusing things have readily been accepted by masses around the globe. Some basic ideas for reusing are:
- Don’t automatically dispose of broken items; try to fix them or fashion something new out of them.
- Use sealable containers rather than plastic wrap.
- Take your own carry bags with you to the store.
- Browse through up cycling ideas to know some alternate uses of common household items.
- Use hand-me-downs, e.g. – clothes, toys, pens, books, gadgets, etc.
Recycling is basically the process of remanufacturing a product which is then to be sold as new. Besides paper, plastic, glass, and cardboard there are many other items which can be recycled. It has to be noted though that recycling only works if the process by buying recycled materials is completed. You can start recycling today by:
- Check with your municipal garbage company to sign up for their recycling option.
- Consult with the local recycling facilities to know which items they take up for recycling.
Start a recycling program at home as well as at the workplace.