My wife and I are trying to reduce our contribution to landfill, in whatever small we can. As Wen Hengfeng, a full-time garbage campaigner at Global Village Beijing says, "Even the smallest actions can help save the planet".
I hate taking the rubbish out. I wait until the bin is as full as it can get and possibly sprouting little satellite bags in its orbit, before I take it downstairs.
What I really hate, however, is the lack of recycling facilities outside my apartment.
There is one communal waste bin and everything from food scraps to glass bottles goes in it.
In my apartment, I try to separate out the different types of rubbish the day brings. The previous day's China Daily goes on to a pile to be sold to a recycler, as do the soft drink cans and bottles. Food scraps are put into one bag, plastics and other non-organic scraps into another.
Not that it matters, as it seems that there are people who do the recycling for us. As soon as my trash hits the bin, and I turn away, someone goes through it.
A mysterious recycler strips out anything of any value and all that remains is crushed eggshells and carrot peelings.
This is, in a way, the most efficient recycling system I've ever run across - but unfortunately it's not operating at every rubbish point.
Another way in which we try and cut down on waste is when we eat out. We very rarely, if ever, order food to take away, as this reduces the number of polystyrene containers that will find their way into the rubbish.
Quite often, if we know we'll have left over food from a meal in a restaurant, we take a reusable lunch box with us to put things in. We also try not to use disposable chopsticks where possible.
I've even taken to washing and reusing empty flour bags as shopping bags, as the woven fabric is far stronger than any plastic bags you buy at the checkout.
But all of this seems irrelevant when I see the waste from businesses and kitchens near our home.
There's a single collection truck for rubbish and everything is hurled into its maw at random, defeating any chance of easy recycling.
In Australia, two garbage trucks worked each route, one for non-recyclable materials, and the other for a separate bin for only recyclable materials. Some local governments even had a third bin in operation for "Green Waste", such as lawn clippings, leaves and other garden refuse.
It took no more time than ordinary waste collection, and paid for itself in terms of the recycled materials being sold on for their market price. Even the garden waste found new life in the form of composts and soils, which were again sold on for profit.
When speaking to my students about recycling, most of the time they're not interested. The message isn't getting through to some younger people in our society that recycling is a way to save the planet. They still think that the future doesn't hinge on their actions now.
Recycling is also a way of instilling some pride in China's natural environment. If ordinary Chinese people really cared about keeping their Motherland beautiful, they'd put their waste in bins, and not strew it across the countryside.
So think about it - recycling is not a matter of being Chinese or an expat, but of saving the environment we all live in. It doesn't take much to keep China green and clean!
Importance of Recycling
Recycling is important in today’s world if we want to leave this planet for our future generations. It is good for the environment, since we are making new products from the old products which are of no use to us. Recycling begins at home. If you are not throwing away any of your old product and instead utilizing it for something new then you are actually recycling. When you think of recycling you should really think about the whole idea; reduce, reuse and recycle. We’ve been careless up to this point with the way we’ve treated the Earth and it’s time to change; not just the way we do things but the way we think.
We should recycle because:
- To Make Environment Clean
- Conservation of Materials
- To Save Energy
- Reduce Garbage in Landfills
Recycling is good for the environment, in the sense, we are using old and waste products which are of no use and then converting them back to same new products. Since we are saving resources and are sending less trash to the landfills, it helps in reducing air and water pollution. Energy saving is important if we are to reduce the future effects of global warming. If we recycle one aluminum can, we are able to save enough energy to run a TV for around 3 hours. This will obviously depend on the energy consumption of your TV, but it gives you a great idea as to just how much energy can be saved during the process of recycling products.
It is believed that (the U.S.) cut approximately 40 million newspapers each day, leading to the equivalent of about half a million trees ending in landfills every week. We’ve been careless up to this point with the way we’ve treated the Earth and it’s time to change; not just the way we do things but the way we think. Paper, plastic, glass, aluminum cans are examples of some products that are recycled in large quantities.
When you think of recycling you should really think about the whole idea; reduce, reuse and recycle. Think about it; if you don’t need it, don’t get it. If you have to get it, get something that can be used again and if you get something that needs to be recycled by the professionals, put it in the recycle bin. Conservation is an important part of recycling issue. When you produce less garbage it helps in reducing the landfills and also helps in giving the land back to the nature.
Recycling serve 2 purpose: First, it avoid landfills and helps in reducing air and water pollution and secondly, valuable material like aluminum cans and plastic and glass are reused in other forms and not wasted. Be mindful of what you do, pay attention to the items you buy and always check yourself to see if you really need it or if it comes in a package with less waste. We can all do our part and we will make a huge difference.
What We People Can Do?
There are handful number of things that you could do to save this planet.
1. Throw away all the garbage in your house that is of no use to you or you think you can’t utilize it in some other way. If you don’t have these boxes, you can easily purchase a suitable container for each recyclable product (e.g. paper, plastic, and glass), and then take these down to your local recycling center.
2. Try to avoid the use of plastic bag and plastic paper as much as possible. They not only pollute the environment but also helps in filling landfills. Also, when you shop try to look out for the products that have least packaging. Every millions of dollars are spent only in packaging of these products which ultimately go to the garbage sites.
Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.
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