“By 2025 garbage production will reach 6 million tonnes a day, a quantity that will be “enough to fill a line of rubbish trucks 5,000 kilometers long every day.” ” as reported by The Hindu.
With India’s increasing population, waste generation is also increasing. Urban India is the major contributor to this waste, adding 1.3 lakh tonnes every day. This waste needs to go somewhere. Most of it ends up in landfills and only 5% of it is turned to compost. Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in India consists mostly of organic which can easily be composted. However the lack of waste segregation at the source makes this process economically unfeasible, leading to overflowing landfills.
The government recently launched “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” to address the problem of garbage generation. The government is trying to do its bit. However, there cannot be a change unless the citizens take part. This article will bring to the readers easy and economically feasible ways to tackle this problem at its source. Here are a few life hacks to guide you through a ‘swacch’ neighborhood.
- WASTE SEGREGATION
To all those who were avid followers of the TV show “Satyamev Jayate”, they might already be doing this. Kabadiwalas are a monthly affair at every Indian household. Old newspapers, books, and all sorts of paper are sold to them. Nobody even thinks twice about segregating this from other waste. A little more effort is all that is required. Segregate waste into wet waste and dry waste, by making two separate bins. It’s simple. Kitchen waste is wet waste, whatever else is left is dry waste.
2. REUSE A BOTTLE AND PLANT A TREE
The simplest way of waste reduction is not producing it. Reusing commercial plastic water bottles to store water isn’t recommended. The repeated washing can lead to wear and tear, and is, therefore, a health risk. However, these can be used for other innovative purposes. Plants grown in plastic bottles are not only eco-friendly but also look quirky. They are easy to do and are fuss free. They can be hung or kept on the floor. The following link offers various ways in which this can be done.
Everyone loves a sandwich but WITHOUT THE CORNERS. These are thrown away without a second thought. Instead, these can be dried and turned into tasty bread crumbs, or added to various dishes. You can make bread pudding or croutons (supplement almost every dish). Don’t forget, these bread corners can also be fed to animals or birds.
The internet offers endless recipes to turn leftovers into tasty dishes.
Potpourri has become increasingly popular. Instead of buying it, one can make one’s own. Go on a nature walk and you will find all the ingredients for a potpourri mix. Use tree nuts, bark, pine cones, acorns or simply look in your kitchen. Orange peels make excellent potpourri. Dry them and store them in a glass jar for future use or display them in a bowl. Your house will smell great!
There are certain things which can be easily substituted for eco-friendly ones. Use cloth napkins instead of tissue paper. Use jute bags or simple cotton ones to do your shopping. You would not have to pay that extra 5 rupees for that plastic carry bag every time. Do not use disposable items spoons, plates or cups, instead invest your money in the steel ones. These are certainly a bit expensive, but the cost is a one time deal and they can be used over and over again!
- REUSE PAPER
Recycling is the most common way to reduce waste. However, paper deteriorates in quality every time it is recycled. Rather than selling it, try and reuse it. Newspaper or magazines make great wrapping paper. One can use them to wrap novels, gifts, and delicate items while traveling. They look way better than the gift wrapping paper available in the market, plus they are free of cost. Add a pretty ribbon and voila!
Everyone’s childhood consisted of making paper boats during the monsoon or those paper planes. Newspaper are excellent for origami. Use them in your projects. It will fetch you those extra marks!
- OLD IS GOLD
Second-hand stores are the way to go. Be it second-hand books or clothes. Once in a while you find small personal inscriptions inside old novels. They are fun to read and interesting. Take part in this process by donating clothes or handing them over to your friends or relatives. The same can be done with books. Reusing saves them from ending up in landfills.
There are other ways that we are aware of but are too lazy to follow- Using a bucket to bathe instead of showering, using both sides of the paper, printing only when it is absolutely necessary, composting, etc.
Imagine every urban household segregating its waste. The job of the ragpickers would become so much easier. As we use nature’s resources, it’s only fair that we do something in return. Be a responsible citizen, do your part, and save the Earth, which needs you desperately.