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When we leave something behind, let's make sure its not waste. - Sachin

Updated: May 31, 2020

We humans always love to experiment with our ideas or someone else’s ideas in the search of creating something new. It’s our way of learning and growth. By doing this many times, sometimes we succeed, and most times we have to face failure. Through this phase of learning, we have always left one thing behind, and that is waste material. We seldom focus on waste material or know ways to manage it properly.

The waste that is produced daily is recyclable (organic waste can be converted into compost, papers, and plastics can be reused), but not everything can be recycled. To some extent, a few materials are always left behind and are used for landfilling or thrown at the dumping yard and burned. This causes air pollution and results in severe health issues like heart disease, breathing problems (asthma), etc. 

I want to bring to your attention these people who suffer through this. The people who are in a good position don’t hurt, but ordinary people have to struggle daily for their survival. Many of us think, “It’s just a little waste and maybe I am the only one who is doing it.” We are good at making excuses. But I would like to give an example of a beggar. A beggar sits at the signal, and let's say 2000 people travel through that road and if everyone gives him 1 rupee then in a day his earning is 2000 rupees, which might be more than your income. So even if you don’t give him more than a rupee, his\her income collected every day is enormous, and a similar thing happens with garbage too.

If you feel that by adopting small changes, things can change, then here is the first step:-

Segregate waste

Governments are working to manage and help us sort the waste that is created at home and use it for development purposes. It has been a concern to administer the dumping of our garbage at places where it is not harming the environment and health of the people. I would not say that they are working at their full potential, but “Something is better than nothing”. So now it’s our responsibility to help them out. How can we help? We can identify the waste that is produced at our home and separate it in this way:

Assigning bins to different types of garbage with colour codes such as:

  • Green colour bin to put all the organic waste (sepals of fruits and vegetables, tea leaves, waste food materials, etc.)

  • White colour for dry waste (dried garden leaves, waste paper, plastic waste, glass materials such as jars, etc.)

  • Blue colour for e-waste. (Wires, fused bulb & tube light, batteries, etc.)

Government workers collect this waste from our society. Sometimes we miss giving it, or in some regions, there is no facility to manage it. Few NGOs like Raddiconnect in Mumbai, TIGO (Trust in Green Only) in Pune, Chintan in Delhi and many more are working to collect trash from doorsteps. We need to contact them for help. Separating this waste produced at home will help them send it to its destination to be recycled.

Second step:-

One can do many things using the waste produced at home. Either it can be reused or donated or recycled. Here are a few things that we can focus on to avoid waste:

Go paperless 

Trees play an essential role in our lives. They have multiple purposes right from gum, fruits and medicines to paper, cardboard and plywood. On a daily basis, many of us use tissue paper, books, newspapers, etc. We should not forget that whatever we take from nature can be returned to it. After using paper material, it becomes trash, and many of us throw it, here is a suggestion to minimize it:

  • Collect the paper in bulk and sell it. It can be recycled and reused and by doing this you can also earn some money.

  • Instead of using tissue paper, a napkin can be the best way, as it is washable and reusable.

  •  A carpenter knows the actual value of wood materials. We sometimes buy new things (a cupboard or anything). To make space at home, one can sell it or donate it to needy people, or else one can do a few modifications to it and reuse it for himself/ herself.

  • Digitalization can help us save many papers. And access any information through the internet instead of buying books.

So instead of chopping a new tree, we can always use what we already have. 

Reduce plastic waste 

Plastics are used tremendously by people. Its effects are seen on earth, mostly in the ocean. Very few people are looking for alternative ways to use it. Governments are taking action against it. They are trying to ban it, promoting eco-friendly ways of living, making us ditch plastic-based materials like straws, bags, covers, etc. Since it is harmful to the environment, it should be replaced or re-used. How can you reuse or replace it?

  1. One can use it to decorate one’s house by making creative things like a mat, pen holder, by putting some holes in a bottle and using it as a cover of a bulb to make disco lights, etc.  

  2. Start a business with creative ideas of reusing plastic waste into decorative material and selling it. 

  3. While going shopping, plastic bags can be replaced by hand made bags made out of old clothes. 

  4. Use steel bottles instead of plastic bottles as steel bottles don’t change the temperature of the water inside it. 

Adopt composting:- 

Most of the weight in our bins is likely from waste food, vegetable peels, and fruit scraps. Certainly, when food waste goes to landfills, it can’t decay properly and therefore produces methane, a greenhouse gas. You-tube can help you provide a better way to make your own compost. Here is a link that you can refer to. 

This will not only help in the disposal but also get you valuable fertilizer for your small garden. 

Make uses of old clothes 

If we look at the history and lifestyle of people in the past. They taught us many ways to use clothes more efficiently and I am trying to experiment that with my old clothes which I don’t use anymore such 

  • Using my old clothes to make a bedsheet, bags, hand gloves, pillow, etc.  

  • Threads of the clothes are used to make designs that are used to decorate the house 

  • The condition of few clothes is really good so it can be donated the same as our ancestors taught.

With time we are getting busy day by day, by adapting changes in ourselves like modifying culture, lifestyle, job profile, etc. But in this phase, we are avoiding nature and humanity which is as important as the destiny of life. Due to an increase in population, the generation of waste is increasing day by day, moreover its affecting lots of innocent life. Luckily many of us are safe and happy and hence we ignore this fact. We often like talking about this topic a lot and blame others for the cause, instead of doing so, have you ever noticed your action. Well not to forget this famous quote “Action speaks louder than words”, so how much are you aware of your action? Because one can trick others but not to self. Every single waste generated can be used as a resource for something or someone else even to ourselves. So if we collect waste items and consciously make an effort to give them to people who can use it and make it a better place for living beings.

Sachinkumar Pandit, First year B.Sc.

Yashwantrao Mohite College, Pune.

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