Making recycling a daily habit

1 minute read 2020-12-01

There are many ways we can make recycling a habit, and here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Traditional practices, scarcity, socio-economic conditions have made Indians thrifty. We are the world’s most natural recyclers, with a gut feel of what should be thrown away and what shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, modern lifestyles are forcing us to let go of our traditional habits of ‘Reuse and Recycle.’ Consumption and Convenience are the name of the game, and the sad result? Increasing wastage. Fortunately, a lot of initiatives undertaken in India have proved that modern conveniences and traditional habits can coexist and provide a solution for waste management. A key element of these initiatives is waste segregation. An efficient and optimum waste management system depends almost entirely on segregation. To put it simply, segregation makes waste management easy and greatly improves the treatment process.

Indore, Bhopal and Mysuru - leading the way.

Indore, which was hailed as the Cleanest City in India by Swachh Survekshan for cojucative three yeas, managed 100% segregation at source - in households and in commercial establishments. Citizens were encouraged to practice home composting. Also, temples, markets, parks, where huge amounts of waste are generated, were encouraged to treat waste at source. Home-made compost is purchased from the residents by a centralized agency at a fixed rate. The wet waste is composted, and the dry waste is collected for recycling in centralized facilities. Whatever non-recyclable waste remains is used to make Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).

The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) launched ‘KABAAD SE JUGAAD’ in 2018 —a creative people-driven initiative to beautify the city using scrap items.

Mysuru has also become a role model in waste management. Multiple awareness drives on dry and wet waste segregation and training imparted to workers have ensured that the city segregates 80% of its waste. A part of the Mysuru’s wet waste is treated in Zero Waste Management units, where it is converted to compost. The dry waste is further divided into 24 different categories and sold to recyclers. Thanks to robust segregation, collection and recycling mechanisms, a very small part of the waste reaches landfills.

What can we do?

State governments and municipalities can take the lead and initiate implementation drives but without the citizens’ active participation, all efforts will come to waste - literally!

As the most important stakeholders in our communities, we can and should:

Segregate compostable wet waste and recycalable dry waste in our bins. Remember the green bin is for biodegradable waste such as fruits and vegetable peels, tea leaves, coffee powder, egg shells, meat and bones, food scraps and leaves and flowers. The blue bin is for plastic, paper, metal and glass.

Other measures we can take is to reduce our garbage footprint:

Reduce wastage of food. Buy a few high quality items that can be reused - instead of multiple throw-away low quality products. Use newspapers as bin liners and carry cloth napkins for multiple uses instead of single-use paper napkins. Print on both sides of documents to save paper. Reuse bottles and containers as storage equipment for your kitchen Donate or sell old clothes, furniture, toys or appliances Re-use old sarees to make bed and pillow coverings, refurbish old furniture before disposing it

How do we start the recycle cycle?

There are many ways we can make recycling a habit, here are a few ideas to get you started. Start a compost at your apartment complex and covert your organic waste to valuable manure for maintaining a garden Encourage your apartment residents to set a zero-waste goal.Organise “Best out of Waste” competitions in your locality, to encourage usage of waste to produce valuable products.

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