You hear it all the time - "the three R's" in the world of everything green. But what does it really mean to "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle?" Here, you will learn what it means to put these three terms to use. Did you know: the more you reduce, the less you need to reuse; the more you reuse, the less you need to recycle; and the more you recycle, the less waste there will be! But it all starts with reducing as much as you possibly can. Make it a game! Involve your kids, see how little waste you can have at each garbage collection. Try to have less and less each month until you reach your ultimate goal.
A second life
Do you want to get rid of something and it is still in good shape? Here are some options:
There are several systems to get started at home (see our article on composting):
- a heap (loose pile)
- a container (e.g. with walls of wood, usually several in a row)
- a bin (usually out of dark coloured plastic with a lid and an aeration stick, available in different models at garden centres)
- a wormery: home made (e.g. towering plastic containers), or bought (including worms) online (e.g. Can O’Worms), at nature shops (e.g. Nature et Decouvertes at City 2 and Woluwe Shopping), or at a collective composting place (more info see below, they sell nice models in wood at the one in Watermael-Boisfort, on Sunday afternoons only),
- a Bokashi system, composting cooked food and meat: Belgian Bokashi blog in English
- tumbling system, etc...
This is our very first challenge and these are some of our suggestions:
- Reorganize you garbage: get one big garbage bin for the white (and other) official garbage bags in your kitchen and make sure you get a proper lid to close it, instead of using small bags to fill up a big one;
- Make sure you get all kinds of reusable bags/boxes/trolleys: the ones provided by supermarkets, small thin bags to hide in your handbag and unfold when you need them, trolleys (some to be folded) and handy foldable boxes to leave in the car. It is such a nice feeling to be able to refuse all those plastic bags offered to you in the shops and at the market;
- Try to buy fruit and vegetables in loose and big quantities (see next month's challenge);
- Get a composting bin or compost place in your garden: this will reduce your (smelly) garbage.
- Make use of "Tupperware" and similar boxes to store things in the fridge, to use for picnic and as lunch boxes.
Ok, you have started recycling or have stepped up your recycling and reuse of items. The time has come for the next small step to make change in your environment - Precycling! Precycling eliminates or reduces the need for recycling or use by consciously preventing waste before it happens. Simply put - Thinking before consuming.
Give something back
We, at reason2.be, are always thinking about how we can operate the business more efficiently and ecologically. Our grocery home delivery service lends itself perfectly to collecting as well as delivering. So we have come up with several ways to utilize the deliveries for more than just food delivery. We collect items for recycling, reusing, disposing and trading. The ‘sustainable services’ we offer are a non-profit element of the business, and give our customers the chance to give something back. The reason2.be ‘sustainable services’ are as follows.
Not sure where to pitch that passé PC? We suggest some solutions for your elderly electrical and electronic equipment.
My printer died last month. I felt really ticked off that despite having tried 3 new cartridges, the circuitry just wouldn’t recognize the full cartridges and refused to print. It was more than 2 years old and finding the receipt for it would have been futile, so getting a refund or repair was out of the question. I wanted to do the right thing and get rid of it properly. But how... and where? Throw it away?
In Belgium, each region and even each commune has a different system of sorting waste. To find out how what goes into which bag in your commune you can check www.fostplus.be. Everything which does not go into the usual white (general waste), blue (PMD - Plastic bottles and flasks, Metal packaging and Drinks), green (garden waste) and yellow (paper) bags or glass containers in your neighbourhood needs to be dropped elsewhere and it might sometimes be difficult to find out where.
Billing itself as the ‘car drivers detox center’ (le centre de désintoxication pour automobilistes), Cyclo has been promoting cycling in all sorts of clever ways for over 10 years now. Not only do they rebuild used bikes into better-than new condition, they also help equip the unemployed with skills that get them back into the workforce. Workers rotate in a 3-year program that starts with them working alongside a professional mechanic rebuilding bikes and has them finish by managing the shop, sales and all.