Tips for reducing solid waste - and saving money too!
The three Rs - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. There are many easy and practical ways that YOU can reduce the amount of solid waste you produce, and keep Tobago clean and beautiful. Here are a few ideas.
- Take your own bag or basket to the grocery and market.
- Do not accept bags for your purchases in stores unless you really need them (e.g. you do not need to place a bag of bread in another bag).
- Choose products wrapped in the least unnecessary packaging.
- Buy everything you can in bulk (large economy sizes) rather than small packages that use much more wasteful packaging.
- Try using concentrated products (e.g. soap) which need less packaging.
- Buy vegetables loose rather than in plastic bags.
- Compost vegetable scraps and garden waste. This can account for up to three-quarters of the waste you produce.
- Don't waste food and store leftovers in a reusable container.
- Give your food scraps to animals.
- Maintain and repair items (e.g. clothes, appliances) so they last longer.
- Sell or donate things you don't want instead of throwing them out (e.g. clothes, books can be sold at garage sales or handed down to younger ones).
- Borrow, rent or share things you don't use often (e.g. tools).
- Use cloth napkins, sponges and dishcloths instead of paper towels and napkins.
- Do not take more than you need to use. For example, don't take packets of ketchup, napkins, or utensils from restaurants unless you need them.
- Use low-energy fluorescent bulbs that last longer than the regular incandescent bulbs.
- If you mow your lawn or trim plants, let the trimmings remain on the soil to decompose and release important nutrients for the plants to use or use them in a compost bin.
Photo: This compost bin was constructed by Maple Leaf International School students from plastic tanks, with a lid at the top for putting in compost materials and a door at the base to remove the soil produced. They are available for sale, priced at $125 each.
- Use both sides of paper. Keep a collection of scrap paper to reuse.
- Wash plastic containers and jars and reuse.
- Buy things in plastic or glass containers that can be reused.
- Reuse boxes.
- Use reusable containers for food instead of disposable boxes, plastic wrap, foil, or sandwich bags.
- Reuse plastic bags.
- Ask restaurants to use reusable food containers that can be washed (or at least paper which is less damaging to the environment).
- Reuse envelopes.
Photo: This office organiser was made from pieces of plastic pipe by students of Maple Leaf International School.
- Join the paper-recycling programme of the Environment Division of the Tobago House of Assembly and the Solid Waste Management Company Limited. Call 660-7636 for more information.
- Make your own recycled paper.
- Participate in glass recycling in Tobago run by Carib Glassworks Ltd. Special bins are located around the island, call 662-2231.
Photo: Two students from Maple Leaf International School demonstrate one of their recycling stations, where cans, glass, plastic, paper and compost materials are collected for recycling.
Anyone wanting more information on ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle can visit Environment TOBAGO's Education Centre (660-7462) on Robinson Street in Scarborough, open Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. - Nicole Leotaud, Education Centre Director - 9th April 2001