As we go by our daily lives, buying trendy items and consuming different stuff, we generate all kinds of wastes which require proper management to foster safe and sustainable cities. According to experts, we currently generate more wastes than the natural environment can manage and this has created a need to mainstream sustainable waste management practices.

Sustainable waste management creates a system where waste is actively refused, reduced, reused, and recycled before a consumer is encouraged to dispose of their waste. This preferred hierarchy of sustainable waste management is referred to as the 3Rs.  

The 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

REDUCE;

The most sustainable way to manage your waste is to not generate any in the first place. The R- reduce is about refusing and reducing the volume of wastes we generate even before the waste is generated. This practice encourages buying only the things you need, buying long-lasting timeless products as opposed to trendy ones, buying materials that easily biodegrade, or buying products with the least packaging.

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REUSE;

The R- reuse practice entails repurposing your wastes before you think of trashing them. For example, old denim can be repurposed into rugs or tote bags, old furniture can be ripped apart and repurposed into trays or other sets. Plastic buckets can be reused as planters while plastic bottles are excellent for use as desk organizers. The concept of reuse mostly requires crafting skills and serves as great bonding projects with kids.

RECYCLE;

Recycling is a practice where otherwise waste materials are made into new products. The recycling practice involves sorting the recyclable wastes, collection, processing, and remanufacturing. Waste materials like paper, beverage cans, broken plastic buckets, or chairs can be recycled into new tissue paper, cans, and plastic benches respectively.

For waste materials that cannot be reduced or easily reused at home, recycling provides an easy option for them to be managed sustainably. With over 30% of our household waste materials being easily recyclable, recycling is a viable tool for sustainable waste management.

Other benefits of recycling are that it improves local manufacturing industries as it makes raw materials readily available and reduces the need for exploitation of virgin materials which local industries might not be capable of exploiting.  Recycling also energy demand for production and the time new products take to get to the shelf.


Take the Quiz on the 3Rs of Sustainable Waste Management

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