To save the planet, let's reduce, recycle, reuse. And refuse

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To save the planet, lets reduce, recycle, reuse. And refuse

Recycling is perhaps the most underrated of the three Rs.

By Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)

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Published: Wed 23 Jan 2019, 8:13 PM

We're all aware of the three Rs of waste-reduction: Reduce, reuse and recycle. They're extremely important to follow if we're serious about leaving our kids a habitable planet. By reducing the number of items we consume, we can cut down their demand, in effect cutting down on wastage. Think printing on both sides of the paper or favouring cloth to paper napkins. This then becomes a virtuous cycle because it leads to a reduction in raw material - including precious water - and if enough people do it, it'll go a long way in keeping the Earth intact for longer. In the same vein, reusing things - say, furniture from a flea market, old tyres to create a swing, or old newspapers to clean glass and use them as packaging material - has the same positive effect as reducing consumption.

Recycling is perhaps the most underrated of the three Rs. We talk about it alright, but in practice, it's limited to junking plastic into the green bin. There's much more we can do. Besides recycling paper, plastic, aluminium/other metals and glass, we can also actively consume recycled material. There are now plenty of retail outlets in the UAE selling such products at often the same and even reduced rates compared to non-recycled stuff.

And finally, let's add 'refuse' to the list. Let's actively refuse stuff that we can see would have taken a toll on the environment. It isn't enough to just say no to plastic bags at the grocery counter, let's refuse and reject harmful detergents or cleaners that do not come with eco-friendly signage. When accepting delivery of things purchased online, let's make sure we let the delivery person and their firms know if the packaging is superfluous. Let's refuse single-use plastic like straws, spoons and cutlery if it accompanies our delivered food. And then let's not just stop there. Let's repurpose and rethink our way out of the environmental hazard we find ourselves in.

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