September 10

Treasure, not trash


While I was at the Golden Summer Festival in my local park this weekend, one particular stall caught my attention. It clearly exhibited a banner with big and bold words written on it: WE ARE NOT SELLING ANYTHING. WE OFFER FREE ADVICE.

The stall looked very ecological – and almost out of place on the festival ground – where a temporary amusement park had been erected for the day. Upon talking to them, I learned that they represented the West London Waste Authority, and learned a lot more about the rubbish that we throw out everyday.

Waste not, waste off

Everyday, Londoners throw out the equivalent of 55,000 tonnes of waste – about 20 million tonnes per year. I personally find this figure discomforting, having grown up with the knowledge that 1 tonne = 1 truck. I don’t know about you, but I struggle to imagine how 55,000 trucks would fit into the ground each day.

With the rise of consumerism, more people crave new things over old. Can you envision a world that would one day look like a scene from one of Pixar’s most celebrated animation, Wall-E? Instead of looking for a new planet to escape to, can we do our bit to save our planet?

BIN there, done that

The good news is that we are recycling more now at a rate of 40 percent compared to just 11 percent ten years ago. Before you next throw something into the bin, think. Evaluate whether the products can go through any of these possible routes:

Another way we can reduce wastage is to use food leftovers to make tasty meals. One of my favourite meals, Nasi Goreng, is made from leftover rice saved from the night before (the semi-dehydrated texture of the rice makes crispy fried rice).

A rubbish way of making a living?

Around the world, there are people who earn a living by rummaging through rubbish at skips or landfills. They are called rag-pickers. It’s a humbling sight to see people rummaging through the bins in search for treasure. But really, should someone else clear up your mess after you?

How little rubbish can you throw daily? Discover this amazing story

Watch how a Gloucester family cuts waste to one rubbish bag a year (video; article). If they can do it, what is your excuse, really?


landfill, rag-picker, recycle, repurpose, upcycle

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