Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… How You Can Play Your Part To Save The Environment
By now you may have heard this old dictum a thousand times: reduce, reuse & recycle. But how clear are you on this 3R principle? However tired you are of the environmental conservationists’ call for us to band together to save the environment, keep in mind that global warming, deforestation and other earthly ills are real and taking place right at this very moment. Even simple actions, over time, can create a big impact to the environment. You can start right away with these simple yet practical steps:
Simply being aware of your every action can make the difference and help you make wise choices
This is the first and arguably most important of the 3Rs. Reduce simply means to live with increase efficiency so you consume, purchase and use fewer resources in the first place. But it could also be the hardest because it requires us to forego some of the hardened life notions that we are so accustomed to: new over old, more over less, bigger as better and convenience at all cost.
Simply being aware of your every action can make the difference and help you make wise choices. Start small by cutting back from where you are now.
- Mend clothes rather than buying new
- Repair toys, electrical goods and appliances rather than replacing them
- Choose electronics and appliances that are energy-efficient
- Don’t use disposable kitchenware like plastic cups or cutlery
- Drink from a water cooler or filter instead of bottled water
- Buy used. eBay, Lelong and Mudah are good sites to start looking
- Avoid overly packaged goods. The packaging is a total throw-away
- Avoid using toxic materials, such as most household cleansers
- Reduce water usage at home
- Switch off lights when not in use
Before you recycle or dispose of anything, consider whether you can use the same item more than once or preferably many times. It need not be for the use it was originally designed for. If you can find ways to reuse the items, then you can help stop another item from going straight to the overloaded landfills. Be creative. Here are some tips you can start with:
- Reuse glass jars to store cookies, loose change, etc
- Reuse books, toys, clothes, furniture and appliances by sharing with friends, family, donate to charity or even sell for second hand
- Create a compost with food scraps
- Upgrade your computer instead of buying a new one
- Turn an old shirt into a pajama
- Write on the blank side of a printed A4 paper
- Use an opened envelope as a shopping list
Although it still takes energy to recycle something, the benefits to the environment are really amazing.
Recycling is the breaking down of a waste product to produce a brand new item. The new item can be either the same as the original (e.g. recycling a glass bottle into a new glass bottle) or completely different (e.g. recycling plastic bottles into synthetic fabrics). Among the 3Rs, recycling has caught on the best partly because of lots of emphasis and recycling programmes are around.
Although it still takes energy to recycle something but the benefits to the environment are really amazing. For example, the energy saving from recycling a single glass bottle will operate a 100-watt light bulb for four hours, power a computer for 25 minutes, power a colour TV for 20 minutes, or power a washing machine for 10 minutes (1).
- Make it a habit to recycle according to the recycling symbols, e.g. paper, plastic, aluminium, glass, or anything else that are recyclable
- Dispose of handphones and handphone batteries at designated centres
- Buy products made of recycled materials and packaging
These are some simple steps to save the environment. Sadly, not many are willing to go out of their way to make a difference. We believe you can make the change.
(1) “Environmental Factoids”, United States Enviromental Protection Agency.