The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) promotes a clean and healthy environment and encourages all South Africans to do their part in preserving the natural splendour during September, which is Clean-up South Africa Month.
“During Clean-up South Africa Month, we would like to make residents aware of daily actions that will make a change in the long run. Why not reduce your environmental footprint by thinking of the ‘6 R’s of Sustainability’ when using or purchasing items?” says Prof Suzan Oelofse, president of the IWMSA.
Here are the 6 R’s explained:
Reduce - Make a conscious decision to use and consume less. “Buy only what you need and be mindful of unnecessary wastage - rather buy reusable items and reconsider over packaging,” advises Oelofse.
Rethink - Be aware of your consumption habits. “Rethink and question everything you buy and consume. By making this a daily routine, you will soon become aware of products that are recyclable or made from recyclable materials,” she says.
Refuse - “Another way to be more sustainable is to refuse buying or consuming certain items to ultimately not generate waste. This is not always easy and does not mean that you should not consume – it is rather to consume with care and thought,” elaborates Oelofse.
Recycle - Oelofse highlights that ‘Recycling’ is one of the most popular R’s, whereby raw materials are reclaimed. By separating recyclable materials at source, waste is diverted from landfill sites and clean recyclables becomes available as secondary resources.
Reuse - This is where creativity comes in; there are a lot of items that can be used for something else or by someone else, extending its product life. “Before you throw items away, first think of whether it can be used for something else. Also think about donating items to people or organisations that can make use of it,” recommends Oelofse.
Replace - Again, be conscious consumers by looking at the products and items you buy. “There are a lot of fantastic products on the market that are environmentally friendly and recyclable, which you could consider when replacing consumer goods,” shares Oelofse.
“It all comes down to conscious consumerism - by being informed and willing to make a change, residents can help alleviate waste to landfill,” concludes Oelofse.
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