EARTH DAY 2015 – Don’t trash it until you’ve tried the 7 R’s

Earth Day 2015

On Earth Day we need you to take a stand and show the world a new direction. It’s our turn to lead. So our youngsters can follow by example. Climate change seems to have become a remote problem, but the reality is that it’s already affecting people, animals and places around the world. A change has to be made. On April 22 we are harnessing the power of Earth Day to show our communities and our leadership that we want action on climate. The Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970. It has now become one of the most widely celebrated environmental events across the globe with over 192 countries participating every year.

In sync with the Earth Day, a global challenge called the Earth Hour City Challenge initiative has been created to celebrate cities that are taking amazing steps forward in creating a greener, cleaner and more sustainable city to live in, while inspiring other cities to do the same. This year Thane has been declared the National Earth Hour Capital from India in the Earth Hour City Challenge. There are small ideas with huge impact such as plant a tree every year, using sustainable energy sources and practising the 7 R’s, which are:

Reduce: We have less to throw away. Downsize and simplify your home to reduce waste and excess. A key part of waste “reduction” is “conservation”; using natural resources wisely, and using less than usual in order to avoid waste. Cars could be one of the great contributors to pollution. Some ways to reduce the environmental damage caused by cars include carpooling with friends, walking, taking the bus, or riding your bike instead of driving.

Also, by using solar air conditioners you can either reduce or eliminate the need of electricity required for cooling. Solar air conditioning can provide significant environmental benefits by reducing the total energy requirement.

Reuse: Reuse things again before throwing them away. A plastic water bottle, for example, could be filled with water again. This will not only reduce waste but also save you money. Donate clothing, furniture, appliances, and electronics to not-for-profit organizations. Hold a yard sale to recycle unwanted items. One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.

Recycle: Recycle whenever you can. Glass, cardboard, paper, aluminum, batteries, electronics, scraps metal; can you imagine how many things you can recycle. Start a compost bin. Some people set aside a place in their yard where they can dispose of certain food and plant materials. Over time, the materials will break down through a natural process called decomposition. The compost is good for the soil in your yard and means the less garbage will go to the landfill. Also, start placing all recyclable items in the blue box for weekly collection.

Recycling rechargeable batteries not only reduces the amount of dangerous contaminants entering into the soil and water streams, but reuses every part of the battery for a variety of products. A lot of electronics manufacturers offer recycle and reuse programme.

Refurbish: To ensure that e-waste stays out of the landfills without causing damage to the environment due to non-recyclable plastic and hazardous toxins, make the smart alternatives. The goods which are defective in appearance having scratches and smudges, fail to meet the rigorous inspection criteria. These are mostly returned unused by the customers and hence, are essentially ‘new’ items. These include carton damaged and discontinued products. They can be regenerate and refurbished and sold in the market.

Reinvent: If you think, it’s a waste, think again before discarding!! Be creative and make the waste re-inventive. A small plastic bucket could be transformed into a flower pot. One sided printed paper could be used for rough work on the back side, can be used to make envelopes. Damaged or broken home appliances could be used in school project making by kids. Waste CD’s are used to create table clocks.

Repair: When a product breaks down or doesn’t work properly, fix it. Repairing products, selling them on or donating them to charity/ community groups also reduces waste. Give your old toys to charities. Mobiles, electronic gadgets and other stuff should be repaired instead of being thrown to the pile of electronic waste (e-waste) which is most harmful to our environment. Look out for exchange schemes where companies take back the defective items and offer you the new ones.

Refrain: Decline the idea of utilizing anything that may cause harm to oneself, someone else or our delicate ecosystem.  Refrain to use food items and products that are falsely represented and not certified correctly. Save water by turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth. Buy products that don’t have a lot of packaging. Some products are wrapped in many layers of plastic and paperboard even though they don’t need to be. Say a big NO to plastics or polythene.

Reduce waste by using a computer! Instead of buying the paper versions, opt for the e-versions of newspapers and magazines. Also, you should print out only what you need. Save energy by turning off lights that you are not using.

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