We all know the importance of recycling. The concepts of the three R’s namely reuse,reduce and recycle. This not only helps us save the environment but also adds up in our bank accounts in form of savings. It encourages creativity and develops lateral thinking. It has given birth to the recycling industry and created job opportunities for many.
Reuse comes with limitations, not all items we discard everyday can be reused. Wear and tear, safety and hygiene are some culprits to this. Every item has a life and once it’s lived its purpose, it is not deemed fit to reuse any further.
Reduce; well yes we can reduce our consumption of certain products. Using homemade and eco-friendly variations can offer great choices. Buy when needed prevents over stocking and reduces wastage too.
Recycling has its own challenges. Thanks to the science and competent R&D today, most items can be recycled when disposed cautiously. Plastic, glass, paper and metal all can be recycled and given a new meaning only if it is collected and redirected to right industries where a new product is created out of it.
Sparsh my older one had the option to choose between yoga,yoga colouring and recycle for his club activity at school. He aptly choose recycle and now is a proud owner of all items he has created out of waste paper rolls, egg cartons , plastic cups, bottle caps and so on. He chose to talk about recycling PET bottles, to demonstrate a concerning cause to save the environment and how he would contribute in the process.
I got the opportunity to visit his school one day and attend an ongoing session on waste management with 5Th graders. It was exciting to understand what kids thought about the three R’s.Concepts, problems, solutions were discussed with live demonstrations of certain items which if swapped had the potential of making a difference to society (like using a refillable water bottle to one time use bottles, carrying steel boxes for lunches, using steel mugs/glasses instead of paper cups etc.) were touched upon. But what I liked most was the fourth R which was introduced to them called RE-THINK.
Re think before disposing would ensure proper waste segregation (wet, dry, others) and facilitate waste management which is the biggest challenge to the recycling industry. Donating old jars, clothes, plastic bottles, books etc would add value to our waste. A waste to you could be a treasure to another. Re selling old books and branded clothes add to pocket-money as well.
Re think before buying would not only save you from burning your pockets but also encourage healthy living. Tarry a little and take a step back. Think of how our grandparents lived. Preferring home cooked meal to ready to eat, cloth bags to plastic bags, steel containers to plastic jars are only a few examples. Environmental sustainability doesn’t mean living without luxuries but rather being aware of your resource consumption and reducing unnecessary waste.
In order to sustain the environment we need to begin with sustainable living from the micro levels of our homes. As a practice I help the children clean their room on weekends, and every weekend they amaze me with their Re thinking abilities. Keeping board pins, rubber bands in old paint bottles, old T-shirt into cloth bag, broken pen stands to planters are just to name a few.
I talk of recycling to them in form of stories which leaves them to explore possible outcomes. In form of games where they decide which waste goes into which bin. Last night was given to research where they both spoke with family members and looked up on the internet to understand how we can potentially reduce consumption of items which led to landfills. No crackers this Diwali was one such initiative by the kids to save the environment.
On a recent trip to the departmental store, I gave them both a fixed sum and let them decide their buy provided it adds value to them and not to landfill. Anaya choose a cloth bag to a pack of chips and a box of candies, while Sparsh settled with capsicum and parsley seeds and some apples for his apple juice to a market bought tetra pack of apple juice. This weekend I intend to let them explore our kitchen and make a list of avoidable items. Wish them luck !
Sadguru shared a wonderful insight on plastic menace in which he says “Plastic is a miraculous material.Plastics are not the problem, but irresponsibility is!”
In the mean time please share in the comments if you have made any lifestyle change/s supporting this cause.
Happiness and sunshine:)
P.S: Do save on water,energy and e waste too. Check this to know more. http://www.globalstewards.org/ecotips.htm#reduce