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How to practise and promote reducing-reusing-recycling in Nepal

Three ‘R’s refer to reducing (minimising the amount of waste one produces), reusing (using the goods again if possible), and recycling (treating waste and turning it into usable materials).

Reducing, reusing and recycling are the three ways to reduce pollution and promote environmental sustainability. And, every single individual can contribute to managing waste and making the environment a healthier place. In order to do so, why not start promoting these 3rs of waste management from your home?

Here are a few ways how you can reduce, reuse and recycle materials in day-to-day lives in the context of Nepal.

1. Reduce

Reducing is the first step of waste management in which you cut down on the amount of waste produced. One can reduce waste by using fewer (only necessary) resources in their daily life. 

Reusable bag. Photo: Flickr
  1. While shopping, always carry a cloth or reusable bag. This will reduce the use of plastic bags.
  2. Buy foods with edible packages or less packaging as far as possible. 
  3. Limit your bathing time and consume the water wisely. Do not switch on the power until required. 
  4. Avoid buying goods with excess packaging.
  5. When you shop, look for a good that will be durable. Do not chase the latest fashion trends.
  6. Go paperless as far as possible. Instead of using newspapers, opt for the online version or online news portals, work digitally for your homework and assignments. This will help reduce the clutter.
  7. Ask for electronic or digital utility bills and pay digitally via e-payment gateways like e-Sewa, Khalti, Fonepay, etc.
  8. Reduce your food waste. Cook or buy sufficient food only so that there will be no leftovers.
  9. Buy dry goods that will last longer. For example, buy rice, lentils, beans in bulk. This will reduce the amount of packaging.

2. Reuse

Before binning any material, think if you could extend the life of it, consider reusing it. Be creative while doing so. 

Cloth napkins. Photo: Flickr
  1. Do not throw away anything, be it furniture, electronics or clothes. Repair them and re-use them.
  2. Donate or sell your old or unwanted furniture or clothes or appliances,  if you want to buy a new one.
  3. Collect the water used for washing vegetables or fruits or cleaning anything. And, reuse it to water the plants of your vegetable garden.
  4. Reuse the shopping bags while going grocery shopping.
  5. Reuse your old clothes as cloth napkins for cleaning your kitchen and other space in the house. These napkins can be used again and again after a wash. 
  6. Use scrap paper for shopping lists; use newspapers for wrapping.
  7. Reuse containers of grocery and cleaning items for storing other goods in the home. For example, you can store salt or leftovers in a jam container, you can make pencil holders out of Pringles chips’ container. You can use paint buckets and big containers for storing water and grains. Also, you can grow seedlings or flowers in yoghurt pots or leaking buckets.
  8. Share books, magazines, newspapers with your friends, neighbours and relatives.

3. Recycle

Compost. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Converting used items into new materials is recycling. It is often done after the items lose their functionality and after the ideas of reducing and reusing have already been used.

1.Segregate or collect decomposable waste like vegetable peelings, food waste, compostable napkins. And, make compost out of such organic waste.

2. Donate or sell plastic bottles, old books, and copies, shoes, glass bottles, clothes to Khalisisi or other waste collectors. These materials are brought to collection centres and recycled.

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