Getting rid of waste is not just the government’s problem – it’s an issue that must be addressed by everyone, including individuals, families, and private companies. It’s a serious talking point that must be discussed by all members of the community. Luckily, there are many things individuals and companies can do to reduce, re-use, and recycle – it’s just a matter of looking at what was once considered waste in a different light and realising that it can actually be an asset. Here’s how to make your company more sustainable with the reduce, re-use, and recycle principle.
It seems like common sense, but very few people actually use this principle unless they are shown how. But the concept is simple: the less we use, the less waste we produce. It’s often a difficult thing to put into practice because of modern man’s culture of consumerism, but often, asking the questions ‘Do I need this?’ and ‘Are there eco-friendlier alternatives?’ sets a person on the right path.
One way of reducing is to buy items that can be used in multiple ways or items that can be used for a long time and avoid ‘disposable’ products. Purchasing one item that can be used for two different purposes means you don’t have to buy two items.
There are many ways in which items that are otherwise meant for the bin can be used again, often in ways different from their original purpose. Old furniture can be refinished and used for storage in the garage; old clothes can be made into a quilt; discarded pots can be used to store items in the kitchen. Here are some simple ways to make maximum use of something:
Used wood or leftovers from construction can be used for woodcraft
Old envelopes and paper can be used to jot down short notes
Old shipping containers are often used to create transportable offices
Recycling is the last stage – basically, an item that is no longer used is destroyed so its substance becomes a raw material to create something new. What makes recycling time-consuming is that it involves a lot of collecting and sorting, but often, the raw material collected is much cheaper than having to buy original, new material. Items that are easy to recycle: tin cans, paper, glass, and so on.
The three R’s (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle) form the waste hierarchy principle – it’s a way of dealing with waste based on priorities, and it’s really not that hard to implement in our daily lives. It’s a matter of finding new ways to deal with the problem, of discovering fresh uses for old items, and ultimately being more efficient, as waste collection and disposal specialists will tell you. There’s a certain pride that comes with being creative and doing things the right way. And it’s fun, too!