Saturday, January 12, 2013

Reuse, reduce, recycle

Going green and helping to save the planet is an excellent cause. Apart from being environmentally correct it also helps us to be more thrifty and avoid unnecessary wastage. However, recycling in Malaysia or at least Hulu Langat is hard work. At home in Batu 14 we try to do the 3Rs as much as we can. Yes, it may be due to the influence of Captain Planet but a bigger factor is because we have no garbage collection services. That is what you get (or should I rephrase that to' what you don't get') when you live in a kampung.

My neighbours either burn their wastes or dump them in the river or an unsuspecting neighbour's land. For us all this while we have been carrying our garbage out and dumping it at the local market which is about 10km away. That is the nearest place with proper dumping facilities. So the decision to recycle is really a matter of necessity. Reducing wastes means reducing several 20km trips weekly.
However, it has not been an easy process. It requires a lot of hard work and space. You will need space to store the items (paper, plastics, glass) for recycling; you will need space to place the compost bin, the kitchen waste compositor, the bottles of citrus peels window cleaner that is waiting to mature (to complete fermentation) etcetera, etcetera. And if you don't do it right and and in a systematic way your home will end up like a hoarders nightmare!

So far, what have we done (we in this sentence refers to my mom and I).
1. Cloth diapers for my son (reduces 6 disposable diaper going to through trash daily)
2. Sort out the papers, plastics and glass wastes. Paper and plastic are sold to the local recycling center which is only a kilometre away. Our only problem is glass... no one buys glass nowadays except some shopping center (but only on Saturdays)
3. Make our own compost from plant based wastes. I am trying several methods from various green websites.
4. Lastly, using the Kitchen Waste Compositor: A kit I bought at the recent MAHA fair which uses some sort of bioenzymes to convert kitchen wastes into safe compost materials.  So far the process has been quite okay except for the part where  I have to put all the 'sludge' and bury them after a week.   This last step have truly cut the amount of  garbage  we throw out to more than half.... hooray!
It is an ongoing effort and I hope we will continue to have the enthusiasm to do this. There are days when I feel jealous of those who live in housing estates with the convenience of the 'garbage collectors'. They truly are the unsung heroes of 'modern living'.