The mismanagement of urban waste is one of the main environmental problems in the world. The large amount of garbage that is generated each year is causing its storage spaces to collapse. The main question is why is this happening? Why do we generate so much garbage? The answer is simple, we consume more and more and every time we do so we throw away huge amounts of garbage.
However, not everything is gray in this scenario. There are many practices that, as consumers, we can carry out to reverse this situation and make the future a better place. In turn, it is not only the responsibility of the consumer, but also large companies and governments must carry out alternatives that generate an environmental impact.
As consumers, one way to carry out more sustainable habits that help reduce the carbon footprint caused by garbage is to apply the famous 3R rule. What is this about? It is a more conscious and responsible way of relating to waste, making decisions that help reduce the large volumes of waste that are generated daily. Recycle, Reuse and Reduce are the three words of change. It is about transforming small daily habits into new practices that are friendlier to the environment and that help reduce the garbage we generate every day. If these practices are replicated, the changes can be huge.
Recycling: Is it garbage or is it raw material?
It is the most popular r and has a very big impact. It is about converting a product that is no longer useful into raw material to create a new product. At the individual level, what the consumer has in his hands is the activity of separating the waste generated at home. This means separating them according to their origin, understanding that paper, cardboard, glass and some plastics are recyclable. At a macro level, in many countries, companies and governments have the responsibility to generate the conditions for this to happen: installing differential containers and creating recycling plants to send these materials.
A very interesting case is that of Greca, a venture that uses waste from button factories as raw material. In this way, Greca converts that waste that could end up in landfills into colorful accessories and decorative design objects.
Reuse: A bit of ingenuity before throwing away
It is about extending the useful life of a product. This means that, before discarding it because the product is no longer useful, it is necessary to find a way to repair it or give it another use. This way of caring for the planet is applicable to all products that we consider garbage. Whether it’s packaging or electronics, everything is reusable. It’s just a matter of applying ingenuity and thinking of creative ways to avoid discarding items that can serve us for another use than we are used to.
As in the previous “erre”, there are companies that choose their raw material by reusing waste. This is the case of Xinca, an enterprise that manufactures shoes from the reuse of tire rubber.
Reduce: choosing to consume responsibly is possible
The third of the “rs” is perhaps the most important of all. If we reduce the level of garbage that we generate on a daily basis, the total volume of waste will be less. The reasoning seems obvious, however we must know that this implies that when consuming, we must do it more responsibly. For this, we need to be aware when choosing what we are going to buy. In the first place, we must ask ourselves if what we are going to take is really necessary. If the answer is yes, it is best to choose products that offer us a more sustainable alternative.
Some companies are implementing different strategies to seek to generate a lower environmental impact on the planet. This is the case of Rexona and Dove, who in their manufacture made the decision to create compressed containers with the same amount of product. In this way, a great benefit is achieved throughout the value chain. On the one hand, in the production stage, the consumption of gas and aluminum for the manufacture of the container is reduced, in the distribution stage, the number of trucks destined to transport the product is reduced and, finally, in the consumption, less waste is generated for the environment.
Taking care of the environment is in our hands. The 3R rule is one of the many tools that we have at our disposal to reverse one of the most serious environmental problems that our planet is facing today: excess garbage. Achieving it implies the commitment of producers, who must look for alternatives to offer their products in a more sustainable way; and consumers, who have the responsibility to choose more environmentally friendly products.