reduce reuse recycle at home
Sustainability

Simple ways to reduce, reuse and recycle at home

Everyone has the opportunity to live more sustainably and it all starts at home. This article will show you just how easy it is to reduce, reuse and recycle.

1. Reduce

The first step is to reduce how much you waste and how much electricity your household is using. Start by being more mindful about the items that you purchase, plastic shopping bags being one example. Investing in a few material shopping bags that can be reused will go a long way in helping the environment.

When it comes to reducing your electricity usage, small things such as the temperature that you wash your clothes at, can help you reduce your electricity consumption at home. Instead of washing your clothes at 40 degrees, turn the temperature down to 30 and ensure that you’re always doing a full load of washing in order to reduce both electricity and water. The great thing is most washing powders and liquids do the exact same job of cleaning your clothes at 30 degrees as they do at 40 degrees.

2. Reuse

Water restrictions are a part of our daily lives in South Africa, which means we all need to be more aware of ways that we can reuse our water. It’s easier than you think too. Use a bucket to collect any extra water from your shower or bath to flush your toilets or water your plants. Soapy water is actually great as a bug repellent. Waiting for the hot water to start running so that you can wash your dishes? Instead of letting that first bit of cold water run down the drain, collect it so that you can rinse your dishes with it later. You’ll be very surprised by how much water you’ve been wasting up until now. If you want to take it one step further, why not find a way to collect rain water in order to reuse it in your home later?

By being more aware of the packaging of the products that you buy, you can start finding ways to reuse them. Many products such as OMO and Sunlight offer refills so that you don’t have to buy a new container or plastic bottle every time. The refill packs generally have a lot less plastic than the original containers, another simple way that you can reduce waste and reuse items in your home.

3. Recycle

There are a number of ways that you can recycle at home:

Tips on how to recycle paper

A lot of energy goes into the production of paper but recycling paper takes 70% less energy as it doesn’t require raw materials. Collecting used newspapers, print outs and receipts in a bag that can be dropped off or even collected to be recycled will go a long way in helping the environment.

Tips on glass recycling and how to recycle plastic

Start by separating your plastic, glass and tin containers by placing them in labelled bins of different colours. Once the bins are full you can drop them off at a Pickitup facility or in one of the many recycling bins that you will find around your neighbourhood.

Recycling is an activity that the entire family can get involved in and it’s a great way for your kids to get creative. Use old margarine tubs to create Easter baskets or empty a bubble bath bottle to make fun shakers. The paper tubes from toilet rolls or paper towels and used egg cartons are perfect for weekend art projects. If you don’t have kids in the house, why not take some of your old clothing and turn them into items that can be used around the house such as cleaning rags. If your clothes are still in good condition, donate them to an organisation that gives to the needy.

Making your household more sustainable doesn’t need to be difficult and once you get into a reduce, reuse, recycle frame of mind, it becomes second nature. Recycling doesn’t need to be expensive either; it’s all about making small changes for the greater good of the environment.

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So, what is recycling exactly? We hear about it all the time through brands such as Mpact and The Glass Recycling Company but many South Africans don’t recycle because they don’t always know how to. Gaining a better understanding of recycling will help us practice sustainable living at home, ensuring we can do our part for the environment. This basic 3-step process involves reducing waste and electricity, reusing what we produce and recycling what we cannot reuse at home.