March 27, 2009

The 3R's

I always felt that unless you can link environment to the economy, no one will bother about the environment. It’s obvious; unlike chronic effects of health, environmental effects normally take time to appear, so environment is not people’s priority. However if there are economic incentives, then the story is different.

Hybrids normally cost higher than the normal cars, but if the government provides the subsidy to overcome that cost difference most will definitely choose the hybrids. Installation of solars is expensive, but if there is an economic incentive who wouldn’t want to have energy surplus at their homes. Using chemical fertilizers can have quick economic returns, but subsidy and encouragement to organic manures and crop rotation would definitely have more benefits in the longer run.

I, personally, too needed some economic incentives to go that extra mile. Saving energy at your home is directly related to your pocket, so most people do that. What about the stuffs that you purchase or discard? Do you really needed that new or do you really needed to trash that? This is where 3R principles come; this will not only save your pockets but save our environment too.

The first is Reduce: don’t buy the stuffs that you don’t need. It’s easy to get carried away when you see some online deal and buy it without thinking, fearing that deal won’t be available again. Easier said than done, I too fall in that trap. But asking questions like “do I really need it”, or “will I still be using that after a week”, or “what will my bank balance look like if I don’t buy that” might help.

The second is Reuse: there is no need to buy something new if the old can serve the same purpose. I am a big follower of this R. Most of the furnitures at my home or other goodies has been purchased through thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army. And when I moved to Maryland from Louisiana, I donated most of my stuff to the Goodwill. Normally, when people think of the thrift stores, they envision dirty and smelly used products. Make a habit of periodically browsing those stores, and you will be surprised to see what they sell there. Individuals and other big retailers get tax write offs when they donate to these stores, hence there is an incentive for the donation. For example if a store like Target has a LCD TV which has minor scratches, it’s hard for them to sell it at their store. But if they donate, then they will get a tax write off for that price (I am not sure about the percentage), and it will sell as a hot cake in substantially reduced price at the thrift store. If someone is looking to get rid of their couch so that they can purchase a new one, and it costs them to trash it, they would rather call Salvation Army to come pick it up and also get a tax break on its value (I am not sure about the percentage).

And, if you don’t even want to pay for reduced price at the thrift stores, then there is something called Freecycle. This is an exclusive group confined to a local area (there are local Freecycle groups in every major cities). You have to be a member of this group first to get information on the free stuffs that people want to get rid off, or post information about the stuff that you want to get rid off. There are many other reuse groups around, click this link to see tips on finding free stuffs, it’s a very well compiled article.

Third is Recycle: whatever that can’t be reused, can then be recycled into a new product. Good examples are newspapers, aluminum cans, etc. There is an economic incentive on this too. At my old work, we used to collect the soda cans and papers all year long, and fund our potluck once a year with the money from those cans and papers. Although, I can’t make much at home from recycling, I still make a conscious effort to separate the plastic bags that I get from grocery stores (from my regular trash).

Finally, those stuffs that can’t make through the 3R will end in the landfills. Just imagine how much we can save through 3R’s, the money as well as the detrimental environmental effects. Now let’s try our best to put 3R into practice, in our own lives.



2 Comments:

Panda said...

Exactly that environmental law is applicable in Germany, now its EU law regarding the waste disposal which follows the sameycle: R1. Reduce R2. Reuse R3. Recycle, if its not possible to reuse or recycle then dispose it properly, and you have to pay for it.

Luna said...

प्रबिण जि !
तपाईंले अत्यन्तै सम्बेदनशील बिषयमा अत्यन्तै माह्त्ब्पूर्ण कुरा लेख्नु भएको छ ।
( अग्रेजी प्राबिधिक शब्द हरु को कारण ले ति सजिलै बुझ्न् क ठिन लाग्छ । मलाई चाँही लाग्यो । )
यती गहन आर्टिकल लाई नेपाली मा पनि रुपान्तर गरेर लेख्नु भए धेरै को लागि सजिलो हुने थियो भन्ने लाग्छ । यि यस्ता बिषय हुन जस्लाई हामीले बारम्बार पढि रहनु आबश्यक छ । ( प्रबिण जि ! यदी फुर्सद मिले यिनै बिषय लाई आधार बनाएर पुन : एक पटक नेपाली शब्द मा यो गहन आर्टिकल लाई राख्नु हुन अनुरोध गर्दछु । )

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>>> कमेन्टको लागि धन्यवाद !