Recycle Reduce Reuse – How you can help the environment

We produce 1.3 billion tons of trash a year. That’s more trash per minute than the weight of 7 loaded Boeing 747s! It's time to Recycle Reduce Reuse! Find out how you can recycle and reuse your trash to reduce the burden.

Cities and towns are home to approximately half the world’s population today, and that fraction is steadily growing. Countless challenges present themselves as urban populations increase, resulting in crowding and slums, water supply and power shortages, drainage, transportation, traffic, and above all, pollution.

A Planeload of Trash Every Minute!

Pollution is the result of many variables. While smog, air pollution, and water quality, get their share of attention, one pollution source that is largely ignored, though it often stares us in the face is solid waste. Solid waste is defined as non-liquid material that no longer has any value to the person disposing it. It is often called rubbish, garbage, or trash. Solid Waste Management (SWM) is usually the largest budget item for cities, particularly in developing countries, and one of the largest employers. Uncollected solid waste is often the leading contributor to local flooding, and air and water pollution, and can have an enormous impact on health, local and global environment, as well as on the economy. As countries urbanize, consumption of goods and services are increasing with disposable income, leading to more waste. Today, the world produces 1.3 billion tonnes of garbage a year. That’s more trash per minute than the weight of 7 fully loaded Boeing 747s! By 2025, the world’s garbage output is set to rise to 2.2 billion tonnes a year, particularly as India and China continue their rapid pace of urbanization and development.

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While higher income countries currently have higher per capita waste generation, they also tend to have higher waste collection efficiency, and encourage education programs, emphasizing the 3 R’s, reduce, reuse and recycle. The less fortunate economies generally only practice informal recycling due to lack of high-tech sorting or processing facilities. Moreover, the most commonly used method for waste control in lower-income countries is landfilling or dumping, with many of the dumps in the developing world being open dumps and unsanitary landfills, polluting nearby aquifers, water bodies and settlements.

Better administration and public infrastructure are an immediate necessity in lower income countries, and public attitude needs to change as soon as possible. Unless there is a shift towards a more responsible attitude, no enduring solution is possible. Public education that informs people of options to reduce waste and increase recycling and composting, as well as the necessary equipment to separate recyclables are a good starting point. There is also a need for the design of longer-lasting and reusable products. Pricing mechanisms, such as product charges, can stimulate consumer behavior by adding a cost assessment to the price of a product, tied to the cost of the desired waste management system. Municipalities can encourage people to form groups, segregate waste and process it at their end. Repairing, donating, selling and reusing products when possible, especially in the case of e-waste, is also essential. For example, only 5% of India’s electronic waste gets recycled due to absence of proper infrastructure and legislation. And last but not least, reusing long-lasting cloth bags instead of plastic is a feasible solution to rid cities of non-biodegradable plastic bags that are a hazard to life.

According to recent research, human beings were recycling and reusing objects, 13,000 years ago during the upper Palaeolithic age. Scientists have discovered stone artefacts that show signs of modification, meaning that one tool was recycled to create an entirely new one. Though this recycling may have been driven by convenience and efficiency rather than ecological considerations, it does show that human beings have the potential to make the most out of everything they use, provided we don’t succumb to unawareness and apathy.

Project GreenHands’ 5 simple tips on reducing consumption:


  • Buy higher-quality clothing rather than more trendy, cheap clothing. If you aim at more upfront purchases, you actually end up saving cash in the long run, because of durability
  • If you are in a restaurant, in company of others, split meals amongst you if you cannot have the entire portion. Most people waste a third of their food, which ends up in the trash
  • Look for digital ways to reduce waste (eBooks, magazines, movies)
  • Reuse whatever you can instead of throwing them in the trash. You can also give them to someone else who can reuse them.
  • Use your cell phones, computers, and ipods for as long as possible. Electronic or e-waste is a growing environmental problem.

Let us know if you have any ideas on reducing waste, and share them in the comments section below.

Sources: What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management, World Bank Key Development Data & Statistics, CNN on the Boeing 747

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7 years 6 months ago

I have implemented in my apratment complex waste recycling using shredder, and composting racks. Also got my son to do a business plan around recycling of waste. Hapy to share if anyone wants it.

7 years 6 months ago

i have many many ideas and i am practicing reusing my whole life now... i grew up in the GDR where it was normal, because things had to last a lifetime... actually you gave me the idea of making a blog about this... :) thank you...

7 years 5 months ago

Plenty of people recycle, but few recycle as much as they could in their homes. The Solecan aims to change that. Check us out at or

7 years 6 months ago

as far as possible use technology or day to day amenities for the sake of convenience and not for vulgar display.

7 years 5 months ago

ever since i was barely 10 years old (now i am in my mid 20s), problems on trash have already been raised but the one thing that really makes me wonder is how the world can progress and advance in technology but the simple problem on trash is not being resolved.

7 years 6 months ago

avoid carry bags to begin with, carry a re-usable cloth bag for vegetables and groceries.

7 years 4 months ago

I recently watched a TED talk by Shaik Abdul Khadar

Commissioner - Nandyal Municipality, Andhra Pradesh, on the waste management. Please search more on him, I also read a presentation by him, which had step by step stages of waste collection,disposal and recycling. By segregation of the waste at collection points , where houses are provided with two bins, one for Organic waste and the other for non organic. The collected waste is later transported to appropriate sources, the organic waste is use for composting and used in the farm lands etc. It was an inspiring presentation! Peace.

7 years 6 months ago

I have been thinking of the Solid Waste management for long time now since the environment around us has been damaged to the maximum extent. I am planniing to do something to our society, as I have seen all over TamilNadu, te Solid waste Management is handled in a very bad way, to such an extent that wastes are even dumped in ponds and lakes and most of them are not more now. But I don't have much idea on how and where to start with.

Planning to setup a recycling unit in my Native of thanjavur to collect waste from people and give back maximim benefit to them, so that they could realise the importance of the proper disposal/recycling.

Plan is
1. To do a door-to-door campaign and explain people about the waste disposal/recycling.
2. To employ few people to collect the segregated waste from all the homes.
3. To use the bio-degradeable waste for agriculture purposes and recycle the non-bio-degradable waste sepertely.
4. To provide incentives and to encourage people to seggregate the waste at the source.

If PGH have any idea regarding this, kindly help me on this.


7 years 4 months ago

Is your foundation really concerned of Environment?? If so, then why are you disturbing wildlife and their habitat at Coimbatore Velliangiri Foothills ?? And today in the name of "Maha Sivarathiri", disturbing wildlife entire night?? Your foundation is day by day clearing vegetation and wildlife habitat at Velliangiri Foothills. Because of your encroachment in the forest, Elephants and other animals get diverted in their normal path and entering small villages.

7 years 6 months ago

I just have a few practical tips that I use in my daily life and they are easy to integrate into anyone's daily routines:

1. Re-use plastic bags you get from shops as garbage bags, instead of buying more plastic bags;
2. If possible, cancel subscriptions to various paper ads, bank statements, greeting cards from companies you're tied up with and get this info on your e-mail every month instead to reduce paper consumption and waste;
3. Stop buying bottled water, drink from the tap instead if it's safe, alternatively you could boil tap water or purify/filter it.

7 years 1 month ago

I hope they are recycling at Tennessee III. They werent when I was there about 4 years ago. Also Sadhguru, I saw, OMG, plastic bottles given out to the VIPs. :-) Sorry, they are so bad, please address this issue sometime on the environmental and health concern with the plastic water bottles that so very many people drink from.

I know they super busy at III but this would be good (though inconvenient due to location possibly.)

7 years 6 months ago

increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and reduce the consumption of processed foods like chips, soft drinks etc. contributes to lessening non-biodegradable waste

7 years 1 month ago

As ISHA family we can at least make a conscious effort to reduce the use of plastic water bottles/ cups / for far as possible to carry water from home way of avoiding plastic... In Mumbai....I try and talk to vendors ,shop owners to avoid using very thin plastic cups so blatantly by replacing them with glass / steel...have started a campaign in the very nascent stage...and is called GIVE A GLASS..whenever / wherever possible give a glass and pass on this act/ thought forward..
Thank you.

7 years 6 months ago

In schools books are reusable,but who cares?
In US they reuse,but in India,..we are faraway from such policies.

7 years ago

Reusing and repurposing is a game to me. And when something is fun, people will be a lot more willing to do it. I was raised, for example, by parents who thought garage sales and thrift stores were entertainment. I still get most of my clothes there. It takes a bit of time but I find high quality, good looking stuff and you feel so good when something good and needed turns up. I also am more than willing to take something off the street. Our kitchen table is solid wood and sturdy. It was left beside a dumpster down the street. I also regularly donate things I no longer need to thrift stores. What goes around comes around.

I love to read but don't need to own every book that interests me. Libraries are truly a public good. Our tax dollars enable us to share books with each other and we can afford a large staff of highly trained people to organize and care for them for us, as well as help us find the information we need in whatever form it's in.

7 years 6 months ago

we would like to know the ieas and the name of blog

6 years 11 months ago

Nowadays every item sold in grocery stores come wrapped in plastic carry bags and even company made items like biscuits come in non biodegradable wrapping. Companies can be encouraged to take back their original wrappings and offer a small discount to the customer who returns it to the retail store. Eg for every 15empty wrappers a packet free etc. A huge source of pollution nowadays is mineral water bottles lying all around on railway tracks to streets. We can carry boiled and cooled water for a two day journey instead. Companies should be encouraged to put up mineral water dispensing kiosks (like coke) in railway stations and bus stands where commuters can fill into their own reusable bottles. substantial plastic waste can be avoided. Plastic spoon and plastic/styrofoam plates as used in marriages/functions must be completely banned and paper plates encouraged.

7 years 6 months ago

We, at, Arjun Energy Corporation, Salem, Tamilnadu have developed Low cost methodologies to convert Cowdung in to Gas, and also we are converting all the hotel waste into gas which inturn they could use in their kitchen. we also developed new , low cost Plant Bags which every house can use in growing their own plants and vegetables in their balconies , terrace organically. you can contact us at :

2 years 9 months ago

Thanks for another informative website. The place else could I get that
kind of information written in such an ideal way?
I have a venture that I am simply now working on, and I've been at
the look out for such info.

7 years 6 months ago

Cell Phones can be donated to domestic violence shelters