In Wangari Maathai’s autobiography, Unbowed, one of the things that strike me the most is that caring for the environment is futuristic thinking. We may not see the effects of our actions, but our children and grandchildren sure will. As Wangari says, ‘“The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That is the problem.”
That said, recycling is one of the ways that you can slow down the production cycle. Recycling is important for a very simple reason. It helps to reduce waste which has a huge negative impact on the natural environment. Recycling requires much less energy, if any, and therefore helps to preserve natural resources.
Here are a few ways in which you can recycle and save your money at the same time.
- Recycle Paper
In the digital era that we live in, it makes little sense why we still use so much paper. Documents can be created and disseminated online. We can live in a completely paperless world. According to an article in The Guardian, however, paper has played “an essential role in the development of mankind” thus making it difficult to completely eliminate.
What we can do, however, is to recycle it. If you find yourself using a sheet of paper, don’t throw it away immediately after use. Keep it aside and use it the next time you need to jot something down. That was, you are not wasting resources. In doing so, you will spend less because you won’t see the need to keep purchasing paper. You can find other ways to recycle paper from making toys to using it as liners. Here are a few interesting ideas –10 Ways to Reuse Waste Paper
- Reuse old fabric
You have a nightdress that you’ve worn for ages. You notice that it’s torn and so you want to get rid of it immediately. What happens once you throw that piece of fabric in the bin is that it probably ends up in a dumping site. Clothes take between 20 to 200 years to decompose, of course depending on the fabric. We need to slow down the production cycle because by producing apparel and garments, massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions enter the atmosphere, water sources are depleted, and carcinogenic chemicals, dyes, salts, and heavy metals are dumped into waterways.
Instead of throwing it immediately, why not find other use for it, perhaps as a duster or for cleaning surfaces? In doing so, you will save your money as well.
- Buy second-hand clothes
If you are a person that only buys new clothes from the store, then you are missing out on affordable unique pieces. But on top of that, this buying habit increases the production of textiles, which, as explained above, depletes the environment. The global fashion industry is generating a lot of greenhouse gases due to the energy used during its production, manufacturing, and transportation of the millions of garments purchased each year.
How can we fix this? Buy fewer clothes but if that is not an option think about buying second-hand clothes. You will save your money, and in the process, you recycle clothes that would otherwise go to waste.
- Recycle old electronics
Ever wondered where your electronics go once you get rid of them? These discarded electronic products often end up in the landfill, and yet they shouldn’t. Some of these items can be repaired or reused if still functional. If they are irreparably broken, the e-waste should be recycled to reclaim reusable materials. They affect the earth’s air, soil, water, and ultimately, human health.
There are, however, companies that have taken it upon themselves to collect old electronics and recycle them. Find these companies and send your electronics to them so that they don’t end up in waste. What Are You Doing With All Your Electronic Waste? Safaricom Has An E-Waste Initiative You Should Know About
- Cooking Oil
Cooking oil coats plants and animals and depletes their oxygen. When this happens, the plant and animals may suffocate and die. It also pollutes the environment with an offensive odour. That said there is a need to recycle the oil so that it doesn’t cause harm to the environment.
How can we do this? Recycle the oil! There are ways around it. Put toothpicks in your fryer as you fry your foods to stop the oil from burning, and so it remains clean. Recycle your cooking oil so that it doesn’t go to waste, and at the same time, you save your money.
Plastics are undoubtedly harmful to the environment. For one, it takes many years for them to decompose. In addition, toxic substances are released into the soil when plastic bags perish under sunlight and, if plastic bags are burned, they release a toxic substance into the air causing ambient air pollution. It seems as though whichever way you choose to dispose of plastic, the effects on the environment are dangerous.
That said, it becomes important to recycle plastics. There are very many ways to go about this. Buy a water bottle instead of buying bottled water every day. Recycle bottles in the house for storing water and other liquids. When you buy products in containers, store them, and recycle them for your leftovers. That way, you save both the environment and your money at the same time.