Recent events in my local council made me realise just how important reducing waste, including recycling, really was. Our local recycling facility burnt down in November last year and our recycling was processed at a different plant temporarily. It was a wake up call when the interim agreement between the companies expired and our recycling was dumped into landfill. Thankfully, a new agreement was reached and our recycling is now being processed once again.
It has made me think about ways I can reduce waste and recycling even more. Following are some ways I will be working on reducing, reusing and recycling this year:
1. Avoid using disposable goods such as lighters, paper cups and plastics.
The problem with disposable goods is that most of them are one-use items which end up in landfill and need to be replaced over and over again. This is not only expensive, but depending on the product’s material, may take years to decompose. Disposable products can be replaced by reusable items such as metal straws, bamboo cutlery, glass bottles and reusable cups. Plastic toothbrushes can be replaced with bamboo toothbrushes.
2. Use reusable cleaning products
To reduce waste, use dish cloths and microfibre cloths for cleaning which can be reused and washed instead of one-use paper towels or wipes.
3. Buy products made from recycled materials
Aim to buy products with the recycling symbol. This means that either it has been made from recycled material or it can be recycled.
4. Use cloth bags or reuse grocery bags when shopping
Remember to take your reusable bags, or string bags such as these, when you do your shopping to avoid having to buy plastic bags.
5. Donate or sell old clothes, furniture, toys or appliances
To avoid these items ending up in landfill, donating or selling is a good way to give them a second life.
6. Compost your green waste
When green waste goes into landfill it can create harmful greenhouse gases and ground water pollutants. Composting on the other hand is not only an inexpensive and natural process you can do at home but it also provides valuable nutrients for your garden.
7. Buy good quality, durable goods
Good quality goods with warranties are made to last which not only save you money in the long run but also makes it possible to avoid filling up landfill unnecessarily as these goods can be sold or donated once you no longer have use for them. Replacing your plastic pegs for metal ones, for example, will avoid you having to replace them whenever the sun has broken down the plastic.
These are only a few examples of ways we can start to reduce waste, reuse items and recycle to reduce landfill. Change can be overwhelming, but if we start making small changes one at a time, these will add up and will become sustainable habits which will benefit not only ourselves but also the environment.