Friday, April 13, 2012

The Many 'R's Towards Zero Waste

by Cindy Chen (


… your consumption. Do you really need those high heels (which looks suspiciously like your other red pair sitting on the 2nd shelf 2nd box to the left, but this one has an extra glass button on! Ooo!)? Or that shiny shiny white Wii so you can play virtual-bowling as opposed to joining your mates at the lanes on a Wednesday evening? Or even a 4x4 to drive around TOWN so you can see the road better, coz afterall, you ARE quite petite. Seriously, before your next purchase, do rethink.


… free stuff. Free is NEVER truly free. When restaurants, stalls and supermarkets offer you free stuff like paper napkins, paper placemats, plastic or wooden disposable cutlery, plastic sauceplates.. etc. Look at them suspiciously. Politely say, ‘No, thank you’.


… again, your consumption. Daily items like shampoo, detergent, water, electricity, petrol, cooking gas, candles (do we really need all those decorative candles around the home in our heat?!@.. Oh wait, some of us do get cold in our sub-zero air-conditioned homes, or we just light them up during Earth Hour, right?), the works, you get the idea.


… clothes. Retro always comes back ever so often. Reuse your mother’s, grandmother’s, even your dad’s! Apparently ‘Dad’s Jeans’ are in at the moment.


… normal everyday objects and transform them into some pretty unexpected, incredible things. Turn your own (or other people’s) junk into treasures. The fact is, many are already doing this, however, it’s only these days that it’s regarded ‘green’. And green, baby, is IN.


… your old table whose varnish has faded with time. Give it a new funcky facelift. Paint it over in a funky color that still goes well with your home décor. You’d be surprised at how lovely it looks again and it might even become a conversational piece.


… parts in your junk can be taken apart to retrieve valuable components and materials. If you can’t find a use for them, send them to those who can. Some organizations these days specialize to retrieving these parts for use in the manufacture of other products.


… your glass bottles, aluminium/tin cans, plastic etc. This is the very last R you should consider. Remember, many of these materials can necessarily be avoided in the first place if you place the other Rs first. Remember, recycling itself takes up plenty of resources.

… and the list of Rs goes on. The point is, if you change your mindset, many of these things come naturally. If in doubt, just stick to your core 3Rs and start from there. Good luck!

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