Ok – it is not rocket science that the first ‘R’ we are going to talk about is RUBBISH.
The stats are quite scary as – boy oh boy – do we create a lot of waste here in the UK:
Of this total, 7.2 million tonnes were sent to landfill this year. This method has been in decline for some time as incinerating waste has become more popular. But when we burn it, we’re not harnessing the energy this generates as well as pumping out carbon dioxide and other nasty gases into the atmosphere.
While the government has a very “ambitious” waste strategy in place we, as end consumers, need to think about the waste we create.
So there are some more R’s to consider.
Admit it, we all have stuff we don’t need. Unfortunately each man-made object has an environmental cost to our planet. We must think before we buy, use the power of your pound to tell companies what you want and don’t want. Just deciding not to spend £100 on stuff can save 100kg of greenhouse gas pollution!
You can reduce your overall consumption by asking yourself: Why are you buying it? Do you need it? Will you use this item more than 20 times? Is there a sustainable alternative? Tough as it is, we have to do our best to reduce the amount we purchase and just throw away. We are all guilty of those poorly thought through purchases. But if you start up front by being honest with yourself about how much you need and will use an item, it’s easy to cut back.
Ditch disposable for reusable! Almost everything we buy and use in our daily lives ends up being thrown away at some point. It goes to landfill, becomes litter or pollutes our oceans, contributes to the emission of harmful greenhouse gases, or harms the planet in other ways. We need to cut our consumption to reuse stuff. Buying sustainable things like reusable water bottles will have an impact for the better.
This can also be called Upcycling. We all have stuff that no longer serves any purpose. But by simply taking something you are no longer using and altering it for another, more practical use is an underused option in today’s materialistic society. Think, jam jar into screw holder, or pallet into shelving unit. It can be made into a fun family activity too!
So when you’ve exhausted all the waste reduction techniques listed above, it’s time for the final R and yep – you’ve guessed it – Recycle. Recycle everything you can. Anything made from metal, wood, most plastics, paper and cardboard, and electronic e-waste should be recyclable. Municipal tips are really good at actually recycling stuff and if you don’t mind home-sorting this is the way to go. I can’t lie though, the government has quite a lot of work to improve mixed kerbside recycling efforts, as lots of waste here is just incinerated.
Either way, we must revise how we do things. This last R is added by us! It is essential we manage waste better. We do not have infinite resources. We do not have a planet that can continue to cope with how we currently manage waste. We believe though, that if everyone does their bit, together we can make a difference.