Waste and Recycling What We Need is Personal Innovation

Waste and Recycling; What We Need is Personal Innovation

What are a few of the first few things you should know about plastic? Number one; it is estimated that there is currently over 10 million tonnes of plastic floating around in the ocean. Number two; globally, less than 10% of the plastic we use is reused and recycled. From the moment we are born we start to leave behind a pile of waste in our wake; in fact, your very first disposable nappy is most likely still drifting around the planet. 

As an individual there are a few solutions we can look into doing; the first is rethinking our habits. Sounds obvious but the impact of a habit goes further than you think. A habit is defined as an action that we do repeatedly, and a lot of the time subconsciously. If we employ our own personal innovations into our habits we can change the way we produce waste and view it. 

Firstly, buy alternatives. Smart and committed people have set out to create environmentally-conscious products that replace damaging ones. Things like biodegradable sanitary pads, reusable shopping bags and plastic-free floss are all available now. If you consider yourself a conscious consumer, or a respecter of Mother Nature then you really don’t have any excuses anymore. 

This is old news but enough with the single use already; plastic water bottles, straws, cling-wrap; ; these are easily avoidable and easily replaceable. There is a mindset around making these changes; think about your first nappy still being on earth, think about 10 MILLION tonnes of plastic in the ocean right now; absorbing these staggering facts will help you realise how easy it is to make the shift and what a monumental difference it will make. 

The next thing to do is educate. We might find it difficult to change our own consumerist behaviour but we can teach the right habits to our children from the start. By simply showing the right path we can change a whole generation of behaviour, and who knows, we might find ourselves being taught by them. 

The next, and probably the space where we can all improve is to recycle. Start small (and easy); create two bins; one for non-recycling and one for it. There are companies like Clear Conscious that make your life so easy if you just do this alone. The City of Cape Town, Johannesburg (see their Separation at Source programme and calendar) and Durban all have waste facilities in place (information adjusted to Level 1 restrictions) to assist with collections and drop-offs. Companies like Easy Recycling don’t even require that you sort your waste before handing it over, for R120/monthly or R600/6 months they will come scoop your trash weekly. 

If you’re not sure what you can recycle; here’s an easy grid to help you out. 

Make the change, be the change, encourage the change, criticise those who don’t want to be a part of the solution, nature doesn’t have a voice, we need to stand up for it in every way possible. 

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