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Green Living
Why wither away waste?

Have you ever looked at your dustbin closely? And, have you realised that most of the things you discard, are in fact useful? In fact, most of the stuff you throw away from your home as waste, can be recycled and reused.

This is also true of many other things we dismiss as waste and throw them away. For instance, old newspapers, magazines, milk sachets, plastics, bottles and cans.

In times when most of the dump from homes ends up in landfills, further polluting and dirtying our towns and cities, small measures can reduce the hazards of dumping waste into bins. Here’s what you could do to help:

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Remember, when you throw things into your bin, you need to sort them, into wet waste and dry waste. Doing this will not only help you keep your bin clean, it will also make it easier for the rag picker to sort the waste further. The dry waste would include biscuit wrappers, cans, bottles, plastics and the wet one would be vegetable, fruit peels, tea leaves, coffee decoction and so on. Make sure you sort the waste at your end before it lands in your bin and then the huge bin near your home. This, in turn, will make for a cleaner town and city. The next time you forget to separate the waste, think of the rag pickers and the servants who have to clean the mess. Also, it will be easier and an added incentive for the rag picker to go through the waste and earn his living.

Some of the waste, especially kitchen waste we junk thinking that it is of no use, can be re-used. For instance, you could use used tea leaves as manure for your plants. Even rotten vegetables can be used for plants and their seeds to grow vegetables in our backyard. One of the best examples that springs to mind is the teen khambha or the three pots concept. These earthen pots with worms turn kitchen waste into manure which can then be used for our plants at home. Isn’t this a wonderful way of reducing waste in our municipality bins?

Instead of throwing them away, keep old papers for use in your wardrobe, different parts of your home. You could also collect them to make a scrapbook, with interesting pictures and news stories. These could make for a good read later on. Also, you could sell all the old papers, magazines and milk packets to the good old raddiwallah who would only be too happy to take them. It will be financially lucrative for you too, since you will make some money as well. Who says waste does not guarantee returns? The money can also be used to buy insurance or some annual bills. Therefore, there are many ways in which you can use this money.

This is probably the easiest thing to do at home. When you are away, or not in your room, switch off the electrical appliances that you are not using. Turn off the lights, the TV set, the music system and the gadgets. This will help save power and reduce energy consumption to a great extent. Moreover, there are a number of electric sensors that are available in the market now. Increasingly, a number of manufacturers are including energy efficiency in their gadgets, making it better for us, the consumers. You could also ensure to buy gadgets that are energy efficient and have a rating which makes them so.

In India, we have plenty of sunshine. So, instead of ordinary water heaters, we can opt for solar heaters. These will give you hot water throughout the day and also reduce energy consumption to a large extent. Studies have proved that the bills reduce to less than half when you use the solar water heater instead of a conventional one. You could also invest in solar lanterns and solar cookers. They will help you tap one of the most easily accessible resource in an extremely cost-effective manner.

One of the fast depleting resources, we need to tackle the situation by recycling and reusing water. The water which is used to wash clothes can be used for washing our vehicles, watering our plants and even cleaning our homes. We can also save water by digging rain water harvesting pits in our homes and apartment complexes. A good idea would be to install water level sensors for motors which pump water to overhead tanks. The idea here is that the sensor automatically switches off the motor when the level is full. This helps save water and also electricity. All that one needs to do is to be alert and aware of the kind of products that are at our disposal today. Also, practices and instances of people making a difference to society should inspire us to adopt these practices.

Presently, there are a number of companies which are into recycling e-waste (old TV sets, music systems, CDs, computers), rubber waste (from tyres), paper waste (from old papers) and plastic waste. Additionally, they will also help you make a business of recycling. So all you need to do is keep your options open.