Making the best out of waste

Making the best out of waste

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Making the best out of waste

Lengthy talks on climate change are still underway (with no foreseeable end) but you need not wait for an international conference to conclude or a government to make up its mind; everyone can help save the planet on their own, without even stepping out of the house! Just by cutting down on the amount of meat you consume, you could help control carbon dioxide emissions.

That might seem like a stretch to many but there are other options. Talking on the subject, a few Bengalureans share ways in which they have gone eco-friendly.

Rupa S, a homemaker, uses her creative side to reduce the amount of waste generated by her family.

 Instead of throwing everything in the bin, she gives the trash a new lease of life by upcycling and recycling it. Right from cereal boxes and cardboard cartons to iron boxes and furniture, she makes the best out of waste.

“Initially, I used to paint, but about six years ago I began crafting and this did wonders to me, as an individual, and for the environment. The amount of waste I generated went down drastically. Now, I turn everything I find into something new; it’s like bringing back the dead...and I think the second life is much better than the first for most of these items!” she says. Not only does she reuse and recycle her dry waste, but she also changes their form and makes them unrecognisable.

“I make sure I craft on all the sides so people can’t even make out that the item is waste. Once, my iron box broke down and I didn’t want to throw it away so I turned it into an album, like a decorative piece. I also decided to redo my furniture — instead of buying new pieces, I thought I’d give the old ones a new look.” She admits that it’s not possible for everyone to craft but Rupa adds, “The ones who can’t craft can hand over their dry waste to others who’ll reuse it. There are platforms for this.”

It’s not just dry waste that can be reused. Merlin Gladys Menezes, an entrepreneur, turns all her wet waste into compost.

“I have an organic farm in Balehonnur. Starting from 2011, I began reducing the amount of chemical fertilisers used and now, my plants are fertilised only with vermi compost and ‘panchagavya’. I also sourced a lot of fresh cow dung and have spread it across the fields. And I let the animals on the farm roam around so that they help keep the soil fertile.”  She also does mulching and trenching to avoid soil erosion. She explains that planting native trees is also helpful.

Gladys also got the labourers on her farm to be conscious of the environment. “I’ve taught them how to grow their own vegetables so they need not depend on others. And we produce ‘gobar’ gas which the labourers use for cooking. I also make sure they don’t use plastic bags or throw away their wet waste,” she says. When she’s in the City, she carries a reusable cloth bag. “I reduce, reuse and recycle. Whatever I don’t think I need, I give it away and refrain from buying anything unless I need it.”  Seethalakshmi, a retired lecturer, makes sure to segregate her waste. “I sell the plastic covers separately but reuse bottles and boxes. I use them in my terrace garden as make-do pots. And I fertilise my plants with homemade compost.”

Other ways to help the environment include checking your electricity usage, taking your vehicles for frequent check-ups, using cloth bags, refusing plastic bags (especially ones below 50 microns), encouraging organic farmers and farming and not littering in public places.

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