The foundation for any waste management program is the three R’s - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Typically the first step to manage your waste is by never generating them in the first place. If you are able to reduce all feasible waste, the next step then focuses on ways to reuse materials in an effort to extend the life of the item. Finally, recycle all the remaining materials that are accepted locally.
A fourth, in some circles, R – re-buy - encourages the use of products that contained recycled material. This assists in providing an incentive to recyclers.
Proper waste management allows organisations to reduce costs and liabilities. It also allows householders to take control of the waste generated, especially as the collection of waste has become sporadic in recent times. In addition to protecting the environment, proper waste management benefits the country through reducing waste accumulation at our disposal sites or landfills.
Let’s take a look at each of these elements and how they contribute to better management of our waste.
The best way to stick to your plan of proper waste management is to not generate the waste in the first place. Consider the following list to help you on your way:
See below a few options on ways to reduce your use of disposables.
We all generate waste every day in some form. To help reduce the amount of waste you generate, look for ways to reuse the items by finding a new purpose or use for it. Some simple ideas include reusing old tablecloths or sheets for cleaning rags, reusing containers for storage for example. And for all those people who still print on single-sided office paper turn the unused paper into scratch work.
Most things are like cats - they have multiple lives. It's simply up to us to let them live out their lives!
Once a product has exhausted its lives, make it part of the great cycle - send it back to start over again as something new!
DID YOU KNOW?
Finally, if we need to "close the loop" of the waste management cycle and encourage recycling Consumers should purchase products that contain post-consumer recyclable material as this will encourage manufacturers to use more recycled material in their products than natural/virgin resources.
We, as consumers, are able to drive the demand for recycled products and contribute to the sustainability of the industry.
CARIBBEAN ENVIRONMENT WEEK OVERVIEW:
The Caribbean faces a range of environmental challenges. We already know the problems: decline in biodiversity; waste management and our “plastic problem”; the urgent need for sustainable development, not “business as usual,” as we move towards economic growth; financing for sustainable development; and planning and designing for a more sustainable future in our urban areas. The overarching, ever-present phenomenon of climate change is having an impact on every aspect of our economy and livelihoods; is the Caribbean building sufficient resilience and placing priority on disaster preparedness?
This inaugural series of discussions aims to provoke a free flow of ideas on some of the solutions to these issues. When the week is over, we plan to have some clear pointers for further discussion, planning, and implementation, which we will present to our expert participants and followers on social media. Moving forward!