If you want to make your house a green home and if you want to imbibe the virtues of eco living the well known adage runs true: “Reduce, reuse and recycle”. The three Rs are the golden mantra for a green, environment friendly lifestyle. Follow the dictum in all that you do and you would soon be setting an example for others. The three Rs are a part of the waste hierarchy- a well chalked out waste management strategy that lists the steps in order of their importance. The waste hierarchy has one key function- to get the maximum benefit from a product and to generate minimum waste. Recently, a fourth R ‘Rethink’ has been also been included. Rethink is about looking anew at wastes.
First and foremost buy and use less. Evaluate all the purchases the next time you go shopping. Do you really need that item, can’t you do without it? Consider the idea and avoid unnecessary purchases. Whenever possible buy large or bulk packets and buy durable items instead of disposable ones. Use internet to stay connected and to pay bills to avoid paper wastes. Carry reusable shopping bags to avoid unnecessary and harmful polythene bags. Consider the packaging of a product while buying it. Avoid elaborate and flashy packaging- it’s both expensive and harmful to the environment. Do not be taken in by apparently efficient products that actually generate harmful wastes, for example, CFLs when discarded contribute mercury to the environment.
Reducing is not just about purchases but also about using things wisely. Reduce your water bills by saving water, using low flow aerators, taking smaller showers etc. Bring down your electricity bills by replacing power sucking, less efficient incandescent bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs.
If you actually set out at making use of old stuff you will be surprised at the innumerable ways at which you can reuse what you thought was good enough for dumping. Hold a garage sale- someone might find use for your unwanted stuff. Pass on old clothes, shoes etc. to the needy. Old stuff need not always be thrown away. You can repair it and use it again. Simple acts like reusing wrapping paper on gifts, washing and reusing disposable glasses, using cloth nappies and diapers for babies, using cloth napkins instead of paper napkins can go a long way in bringing down wastes.
When a process uses a discarded product to create a fresh one or to create a totally new product, the process is called recycling. Almost everything in the house can be recycled. Paper, magazines, acid batteries, plastic bags, bottles, furniture, electronic equipments, metal items…. There’s a huge list of household stuff that can be easily recycled. Old tires can make interesting seating, old furniture can be refurbished, paper can be recycled to make greetings and handicrafts. Recycling has triple benefits- it clears the house of unwanted stuff, saves money and helps you do your bit for the environment.