Let’s keep it simple! We all know that all of us generate waste. It varies in terms of nature of the waste generated in towns, cities and metros. The waste varies in kind of material that goes into that waste and you might laugh it out but waste varies from families to families and in amount(kg) as well. Some of us generate less waste and some of us generate a lot of waste. 

Interestingly, in the last 2 decades, we have grown conscious of the food, electricity and water wastage. But we have not consciously tried to understand 2 things:

  1. What causes wastage?
  2. How much amount of waste we generate?

I picked this number to give you a rough idea of how much waste we are generating. Generally when you read reports or you listen to the news, you would have heard or seen this “India generates 65million tonnes waste annually.” This number seems big but what it does not do is give us a fair amount of idea of our contribution to this number. 

By calculation this implies 450gms of waste being generated per person per day in an urban city. This number is approximately 200gms for an individual in smaller towns or rural demographic. We are the source of all of this collected, uncollected, processed and unprocessed waste being generated in the country. And our source is “all what we consume”. (Read here if you are interested in more details)

Can we put a check on waste being generated?

Let’s do a simple math. This means 450gm x 30days = approximately 15kgs of waste being generated in a month by me. 

Same goes for you as well!

And if you are 4 in number in a family, this number means 60kg for your family for a month. By the way, this number includes only municipal wastage. It doesn’t take into account electronics, clothes, leather, plastic (in form of house items), etc. This is just a reflection to the Part b. of the problem – How much do we contribute to the wastage?

Now let’s answer the Part a. of the discussion – what causes wastage? CONSUMPTION. While there are basic stuff that all of us definitely need to buy, there is a lot of stuff we buy out of sheer desire, social status or we just feel obligated to buy such stuff because peers have that. 

For many of us, shopping is a stress buster and in these times of increasing depression and loneliness – these scenarios and situations happen quite too often leading us to buy more and more than what we actually need. And this leads to MORE WASTE BEING GENERATED. 

Last year I dedicated my year to being thankful. This year, I am dedicating my year to Minimise Consumption and Effective Disposal of all kinds of Waste. And I want all of you to be a part of this. I am sure Together we can! We are going to implement this at our home and I will share what happens at the end of the year!

For now, I am going to list down stuff that needs effective disposal.

  • Food
  • Old Clothes
  • Old Bags and leather stuff
  • Old shoes, belts, purses, wallets
  • Old books, used notebooks and other stationery
  • Electronics – earphones, headphones, laptops, phones, other gadgets etc.
  • House articles such as bedsheets, linen, cushions, pillows, mattress, broken articles, plates, cutlery, etc.
  • Larger appliances such as TV, washing machine, refrigerator, or maybe a car, etc.

And I will keep updating this list from time to time. I will also keep updating the effective ways or channels of disposal as and when I will get to know.

Now, I am going to list down stuff where we can minimise consumption:

  • Food items (beyond use and need)
  • Clothes and stuff for personal consumption (such as makeup, toiletries, etc.)
  • Home Articles (as listed above)
  • Leather products (including hand bags, laptop bags, watches, shoes, wallets, etc.)
  • And each that item which once bought is a liability, doesn’t get consumed so easily and is thrown away because either it is too old to be used or has reaches an expiry date

So, in short what we are trying to achieve here is:

  1. Minimise the consumption in our day-to-day lives
  2. Effective disposal of items/stuff that is no more in use

I am not sure if just being conscious of these 2 will help eliminate the problem in totality but it will definitely curb some part of it.