The reality of today’s world is that we live in a consumerist, globalized and extremely interdependent global network of world economics. We live in a world where consumerist tendencies are encouraged and induced, and, in fact, your level of consumption of material goods and resources is a yardstick of one’s lifestyle.
This is the dominant ideology that exists, and thrives, and has only compounded in the last few decades. In this backdrop, if the battle of sustainable development is to be won, there needs to be a paradigm shift of how we look at life. However, that is a long procedure, and might take a few decades. Immediately, we need to educate the citizens of this global village about the benefits (read monetary benefits) of consuming less, for nothing attracts the attention like a financial incentive does
This article lists several products that can be reused and recycled and lists the benefits that they bring along. So read on, and have fun recycling!
Item: Cartons (Milk/juice/beverages TetraPaks) Though considered a product with a low shelf life, the fact is, once the contents of a carton are used, the empty packet is a strong product left behind! Here’s how you can use them:
- As gift boxes: Need some creative touch in packaging a gift? Cut open the top of the carton, wash it thoroughly and use it as a gift box! You may use paper, foil or other decorations to wrap the side, and inscribe a personal message as well. Isn’t that a great way to save on the crazy packaging costs, and also be labelled a creative genius?
- As Ice-Cube moulds: YES! The idea might sound bizarre, but you can have perfect rectangular shaped huge ice cubes using empty cartons. Remember to wash it properly before using it and while filling water, leave some room for expansion! It saves you the effort of freezing small ice cubes twice or thrice and also toss it into your beverages whenever you want.
- As Food Containers: Ordered Chinese take-out, but cannot decide how to store the leftovers? Simple: use cartons for storing food items. Cut open the top, and transfer whatever food is left, cover it and you’re done! What’s more? You can use these to freeze items like stocks, stews, and soups! Save some money on the pricey food containers you get in the market.
Item: Carpets/Mats: There comes a time in every carpet’s life, when it is tossed away in the garbage, making space for a new, shiny, stain-free and more stylish contemporary. But don’t throw these away just yet, use the, as:
- Line your kitchen/workshop or bookshelves: This not only makes these areas easier to clean, but also prevents things from sliding off a half-filled row. What’s more? It adds texture and colour to the otherwise similar shelves!
- Cut a piece and use them to your pets’ sleeping place: It’ll give your furry friend a little more warmth, and be a good use of something you considered as waste.
- Have little-potted plants at your place: Put them under such planters to absorb the overflow of water and avoid making a mess in your room.
Item: Silica Pellets’ Packet: You’ll find them everywhere. In shoe boxes, clothing, and eatables, their job is to prevent humidity in the packaging and spoil the product. But don’t toss them away just yet:
- Use them to preserve old printed photos: Often printed pictures begin to deteriorate due to moisture and light. So put these packets near you photo-albums or loose pictures and drive the moisture away! Save yourself from a bomb while trying to retrieve the pictures that are destroyed! You could even use them to prevent important documents from spoiling.
- It is a boon for photographers: Still using an Old-Film camera? Store in camera bags and with a film. After clicking photos in cold or wet conditions, silica gel will absorb moisture to keep your lens from fogging or streaking.
- Use them to dry wet electronics: Dropped your phone in water? Don’t worry, once wet, remove the battery and memory card and put the device in a container filled with several Silica packs. Leave it in there at least overnight.
- Use them to de-humidify your car: Put some packets away in your car (maybe on your dashboard). This will help maintain a clear windshield and leave it less foggy during times of high humidity.
Item: Children Games: Chances are that you too have several games, very popular with the Under 5 age group, with no takers in your house. The kids grow out of them, and they generally end up in the trash can. But after these suggestions, they won’t:
- Use the game boards to make coasters: Whether is Snake & Ladder, or Scrabble, the firm cardboard can be used as a coaster! Cut the boards in required sizes, and decorate them or use them without any modifications.
- Use game pieces as decoratives: Pieces from Monopoly, Scrabble, or even Lego pieces would make for a great decorative. So the next time you wrap a present, use the scrabble tiles to say ‘Happy Birthday’ and pass it off as your own ‘ingenious’ idea!
Item: Food leftovers: Each and every one of us are guilty of wasting things like food items like oil, flour, peels, etc. while cooking. So the next time you empty the dice-board over the kitchen bin here’s what will help you reconsider:
- Use Olive Oil: Did you know olive oil acts as a natural paint remover, make-up remover, shaving oil, cuticle oil, for fixing stuck zippers, lace and acne treatment, and hair conditioner. Who needs more reasons?
- Use peels of citrus fruits: To make zest powders, citrus sugar, citrus oil or simply dry and preserve them. They’ll add a zesty punch to your cooking every time you use them.
- Use peels of other vegetables: Mix potato peels, with lemon juice and olive oil and bake them! They’ll make for a quick snack. Or use peels of potatoes, onion skins, carrot, and leek ends etc. To make fresh vegetable stock, and use herbs suited to your palette.
Happy Recycling! Isn’t this a fun and creative way to do your bit?