5 R's of Waste Management

Every year, 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste is created. Our day-to-day activities generate waste but it should be managed properly. Waste management is becoming an issue of concern with the rising population. Inefficient waste management techniques lead to diseases, unpleasant smells, unpleasant sights and many more. There are many different waste management techniques which include dumping, landfills, incineration, waste to energy, bioremediation, etc. This article explains the 5 R's of waste management i.e., Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle.

1. Refuse

Refusing waste can be the very first step in reducing waste management. If we avoid unnecessary actions that involve the creation of waste then this would help to manage waste efficiently. If we carry our own shopping bags to groceries shop, malls and vendors,  can help to reduce creating unnecessary waste. We should refuse to pay money for buying shopping bags. While buying something from a shop, we should always ask for any returnable containers so that while buying the same thing again we can use the same container. Making smarter decisions while purchasing can help to reduce waste. Refusing can be a bit difficult at the start but if implemented can help to manage waste to a great extent.

2. Reduce

Reducing amounts of waste generated can help to lower the weight of waste generated annually. We should reduce the use of plastics, harmful products, non-recyclable products. Any product that we use, if it's going to contributing to waste after some time, then the very first thought which should come to our mind is" Is it necessary?" and if it's necessary then we should try to compromise and reduce the quantity required. For example, we should use both sides of a paper to print our notes onto the paper. This will reduce the number of pages going to waste. Using metal spoons instead of plastic spoons can help to reduce waste. The aluminium foil which we use for packaging food can be substituted by something organic.

3. Reuse

The basic concept behind reuse is to bring those things into consideration from which we have already been benefitted. Using the same thing, again and again, can help to reduce waste. Our leftover blank pages of school notebooks can be used to learn something. The aluminum foil can be used twice if washed properly after its first use. The packaging materials which include gift wrap newspapers can be used again. A gift wrap can be used many times before just dumping it into the dustbin. We can buy refills for pens rather than buying a new pen every time. Have a look around your room and you will find many things which can be used again and again.

4. Repurpose

Every item which cannot be reused, reduced or refused, try to repurpose. Repurpose means using objects in such a way that they serve more than one purpose. Repurpose can also be called upcycling. For repurpose, one needs to be creative and everyone is creative in some or another way. Being creative does not mean that you have to be an artist or be good at drawing. Creativity comes from the mind, try inventing new ideas to make a new version of things so that they can be used again. Broken coffee mugs can be used to make pen and pencil stand. Large tin cans can be used as a dustbin. Cardboard boxes can be used for storing supplies. In this way, we can bring creativity into waste management. 

5. Recycle

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into usable products without losing their purity with the help of machines or manpower. Recycling is a key component and the most eco-friendly method of waste disposal techniques. Energy can be produced while recycling waste. Recycling waste is sustainable when the recycled product is beneficial to human use. It depends on the ability of the product to acquire its original properties after being recycled. Recyclable materials include many kinds of glass, paper, cardboard, metal, plastic, tires, textiles, batteries and electronics. Reuse of biodegradable waste or composting of food or garden waste is also a form of recycling. Examples of recycling include used notebook pages after recycled get converted into new pages so that they can be utilized again. Used cold drink cans getting converted into cold drink cans,  used polystyrene can be converted into new polystyrene are also examples of recycling.