Why wither waste away?

Have you ever looked at your dustbin closely? And have you realised that most of the things you discard are in fact useful? In fact, most of the stuff you throw away from your home as waste can be recycled and/or reused.

This is also true of many other things we dismiss as waste and throw away. For instance, old newspapers, magazines, milk sachets, plastics, bottles and cans.

In times when most of the dump from homes ends up in landfills, further polluting and dirtying our towns and cities, small measures can reduce the hazards of dumping waste into bins. Here’s what you could do to help:

When you throw things into your bin, you need to sort them, into wet waste and dry waste. Doing this will not only help you keep your bin clean, it will also make it easier for rag picker to sort waste further. Dry waste would include biscuit wrappers, cans, bottles, plastics. Wet waste includes vegetables, fruit peels, tea leaves, coffee decoctions and so on. Make sure you sort the waste at your end before it lands in your bin and then the huge bin near your home. This, in turn, will make for a cleaner town and city. The next time you forget to separate the waste, think of the rag pickers and those who have to clean the mess. Also, it will be easier and an added incentive for rag pickers to go through the waste and earn an honest living.

We junk some things, especially kitchen waste, thinking that it is of no use. You could use used tea leaves as manure for plants. Even rotten vegetables can be used for plants. Their seeds can be used to grow vegetables in our backyard. One of the best examples that springs to mind is the teen khambha or the three pots concept. These earthen pots with worms turn kitchen waste into manure which can then be used for our plants at home. Isn’t this a wonderful way of reducing waste in our municipality bins?

Instead of throwing them away, keep old papers to line your wardrobe and different parts of your home. You could also collect them to make a scrapbook, with interesting pictures and news stories. These could make for a good read later on. Also, you could sell all the old papers, magazines and milk packets to the neighbourhood raddiwalla who would only be too happy to take them. It will be financially lucrative for you too, since you will make some money as well. Who says waste does not guarantee returns?

This is probably the easiest thing to do at home. When you are away, or not in your room, switch off the electrical appliances that you are not using. Turn off the lights, the TV set, the music system and the gadgets. This will help save power and reduce energy consumption to a great extent. Moreover, there are a number of electric sensors that are available in the market now. Increasingly, a number of manufacturers are including energy efficiency in their gadgets, making it better for us, the consumers. You could also ensure to buy gadgets that are energy efficient and have a rating which makes them so.

India is a sunny country. So, instead of ordinary water heaters, we can opt for solar heaters. These will give you hot water through the day and also reduce energy consumption to a large extent. Studies have proved that the bills come down to less than half when you use solar water heaters instead of a conventional one. You could also invest in solar lanterns and solar cookers. They will help you tap one of the most easily accessible resources in an extremely cost-effective manner.

One of the fast depleting resources, we need to tackle the situation by recycling and reusing water.

Water used to wash clothes can be used for washing vehicles, watering plants and even cleaning homes. We can also save water by digging rain water harvesting pits in our homes and apartment complexes. A good idea would be to install water level sensors for motors which pump water to overhead tanks. The idea here is that the sensor automatically switches off the motor when the level is full. This helps save water and electricity. All that one needs to do is to be alert and aware of the kind of products available. Also, practices and instances of people making a difference to society should inspire us to adopt these practices.

Presently, there are a number of companies recycling e-waste (old TV sets, music systems, CDs, computers), rubber waste (from tyres), paper waste (from old papers) and plastic waste. Additionally, they will also help you make a business of recycling. So all you need to do is keep your options open.