Converting waste materials to new usable materials can be termed recycling. The resources available to us are severely limited. Thus, it is essential that we use them sustainably. The best way to do that is to start at your home as you are familiar with all the items you don’t use which could be recycled.
A book you have already read may not be of much use to you, and you may want to throw it away to clear space. However, this old book may be of great help to a keen reader who doesn’t have the resources to read their favorite authors’ bestsellers. Each year around 320 million books are thrown away in America only!
Donating your old books to the nearest library or charity can make someone’s day. Here are some charities in India which help in distributing old books to young readers!
- Sisters of the People, Delhi
- India Literacy Project, Bengaluru
- MyPustak, Kolkata
- Bookathon, Thiruvananthapuram
2. Kitchen Waste
According to the Food Corporation of India. Some 23 million tonnes of food cereals, 12 million tonnes of fruits, and 21 million tonnes of vegetables are lost each year, with a total estimated worth of 240 billion Rupees. Biodegradable material like kitchen waste is perfect for making compost to fulfill all your gardening needs. With this simple process, you will be able to make homemade manure in just one month.
- First, add fruit peels, coffee, tea powder, discarded vegetables, eggshells, and all other organic kitchen waste to a container like a bucket, pot, etc. • Second, take any dry shredded leaves, sawdust, or any other browns and them to the garbage you put in the container.
- Now we need microbes and for that, add semi-done compost or cow dung to the container. Adding buttermilk will also help in kick-starting the microbial colony.
- For making smell-free compost, you must add perforated holes in your container. Churning the pile of waste every four days would also suffice. • Now for the final step, wait while the wastes compost. Just remember to add kitchen wastes daily and ensure the oxygen flow. If your mixture becomes soggy, adding more browns will help in maintaining the ratio.
For more information, you can visit the better India.
3. Old Clothes
There’s a 100% chance you won’t need your 7-8 years old clothes since they are too small and out of fashion. However, a poor beggar on the footpath would love the feel of that cozy sweater you thought looked dull.
According to the EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per capita per year, and clothing and other textiles represent about 4% of municipal solid waste. We can also help reduce fashion footprint by wearing clothes that use sustainable fabrics. Sustainable fabrics are basically those fabrics that are derived from environmentally friendly resources such as sustainably grown fiber crops or recycled materials.
But this figure is rapidly growing. Winter is right around the corner, and many poor people are in dire need of winter clothing. Check out these organizations helping people donate their old clothes to those in need.
- Clothes Box Foundation (CBF)
- Share At Door Step (SADS)
- Apang Manav Mandal (AMM)
- Mahesh Foundation
- Clothes for Help
Thrown newspapers are usually burned or discarded in landfills which cause both air and land pollution. Approximately a billion trees’ worth of paper is thrown away every year in the U.S. A better solution than throwing these newspapers away is recycling them into usable paper.
Here’s how you can make your own paper:
- Shred the newspaper into small pieces and add 2 cups of hot water to half a cup in the shredded mixture.
- Now blend the mixture in a blender or use a whisker until it becomes a pulp. The pulp should have the consistency of pea soup.
- Pour the pulp into a flat pan and slide a screen into the bottom of the pan and move it around and evenly cover with pulp.
- After carefully lifting the screen out of the pan, hold it level and wait for it to drain.
- Place the screen over a blotter with pulp side up. Cover the upper side of the screen with another blotter and add more newspaper over it.
- You can now squeeze the water from the pulp by rolling a jar over the blotter.
- After removing the newspaper from the top, carefully flip the blotter and the screen, not moving the pulp.
- Now, let it dry for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how thick and wet the paper is.
- Voila! You got your homemade paper
Reference: Make Your Own Paper
5. Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are everywhere your parents have one when returning from the market, the ice cream you ate last night came covered in one, the cow you see roaming on the road has probably eaten loads of it due to mismanagement of plastic waste. Even after taking your plastic bags to the market, you may end up with more than you had before.
Around 5 trillion plastic bags get manufactured each year, and only 1-3% get recycled. The best way to reduce plastic waste is to reuse the same plastic bags for your daily use, such as grocery shopping, lining small trash cans, cleaning up after your pets, storing items.
6. Festive Decorations
In countries like India, which has around twenty major festivals, people tend to wind up with many festive decorations and wrapping. These are often thrown away and end up in landfills. Thus, it’s better to save this decoration and use them next year. Cautiously opening gifts to preserve the wrapping for later use is also a cost-efficient way to reuse them.
As technology advances, the rate at which your smartphones become outdated increases. In 2020 around 1.3 billion units were sold globally. Companies like Apple take your old smartphones for store credit.
Thus, helping to recycle them while also saving the environment from mining out these minerals like bauxite (used to make aluminum), iron, and many others. You can also exchange your old phones when buying new ones from Amazon or Flipkart for some discount or resell them on websites like eBay or Quickr.
Help Niswarth – The Selfless reach more people and help the communities around India by donating an amount and contributing with a selfless gesture. We continue to strive for a better society and an earth-centric world.
As those who came before us left these resources for us it is our duty that we do the same for the next generation. For that, it is essential that we start integrating recycling and reusing it into our lives.
Almost all the items used at home can be recycled and reused in some way such as old envelopes can be reused by covering the old address slip with a new one, wood scraps can be used as firewood, ice cream containers can be used for storing other items.
Just remember to reduce, reuse and recycle!