The 18th of March was the second ever world recycling day and a lot of celebrities did and said clever things, but what can the average person do to reduce, re-use and recycle
We can all do a little bit, and by lots of people doing a little bit, quite a lot can be done.
Currently, the biggest problem is the amount of plastic going into the environment. It’s getting into everything we eat, and really messing up the sea.
Microscopic particles of plastic have even been found in the table salt we sprinkle on our daily food.
The EU Countries announced recently that they will make the single-use plastics like fast food containers, straws and plastic knives and forks illegal by 2020.
The second problem is that we have these huge rubbish dumps called landfills that are full of stuff that can be reused, so we are messing up the earth and we don’t need to.
What can the average person in South Africa do to recycle?
I have picked some that I think are fairly easy for people to do to get the process going.
The first one is recycling at home or at work.
Separate out the glass, plastic, paper and metal at your house. If these items are separated out at home, half the problems with contamination and mixed products are solved, so its important to get this separated at the source.
On rubbish collection day you take out separate bags, and those .recyclers with the noisy trolleys will take anything they can sell. This provides income for 37000 people according to the Paper Recycling Association
Compost heap and worms as a bonus
If you have a little space, make a compost heap and you can grow your own worms in the compost heap as well.
You put all the leaves and peels and rotten fruit and veg in a bin. There are lots of fancy compost and worm bins that you can make or buy, but all you really need is a container like an old black rubbish bin with a hole in the bottom.
Start with a layer of scraps, add some worms and put it in a shady spot with a lid. Some people buy worms, but here in Gauteng they come for free out of the ground and you can have hundreds of worms in a very short time.
If you like fishing, you will find it very useful. The bass and kurper love worms. You also get what they call “worm wee” that comes out of the bottom of the container which is a very good fertilizer, and when the bin is full you have a bin full of free compost.
Reuse old shoes especially sports shoes.
If you have old shoes, especially sports shoes (the runners will know what I’m talking about) and shoes that the kids have outgrown. There are lots of people in SA that would love to have some nice running shoes, or school shoes.
Take them to a school, or a sports club, there are always people that are grateful for them.
We often hear about reduce, but how can people reduce what they are already using
Of the 3 r’s this is probably the hardest.
Don’t buy unnecessary stuff and try to plan a bit better, and if you see that you have too much, give it to someone that can use it, in that way we can all reduce, by not wasting.
The other way is to reduce the amount of packaging you are buying. Those manufacturers that put 800g of cereal in a box that can hold 1.5kg are the ones that really annoy me. They want their product to look bigger on the shelf, so they over package. It costs more to transport, it takes more storage space, It uses more cardboard or plastic than is necessary. For a box that’s too big!!
That doesn’t sound right to me.
Look carefully at what you buy. Those products that are packaged in huge boxes or in layers and layers of plastic and paper when it’s not necessary, leave them on the shelf and just choose another product that is better packaged.
So if you want to help the environment:
- Recycle in the house. Paper plastic, metal and glass.
- Start a compost heap and get free worms
- Let someone else reuse your old shoes
- Reduce what you buy and the packaging that it comes in.
Happy Recycling Day (and the rest of the year!)