Recycling is not eco-sustainable, Minimalism is.

Looking at my dustbin.

“When was the last time I empty my dustbin? Hmm…sometime ago.”

“Hey ya…coz’ I don’t buy so much stuff anymore.”


I was taught to recycle from school. And I was into recycling during my high school years. I considered myself a tree-hugger. I want to save the environment by recycling whatever I think can be recycled. I thought I did enough.


My gang in Nature Society Club at school.


Malaysia is still very new to recycling. Last year in 2016, a minister from Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said that only 15 percent of waste is recycled. Now to make this even horrifying, Malaysians produce 30,000 tons of wastes every day! (*1).

(1 Malaysian = 800 grams of waste a day).

*Side fact: One American produced about 2 kg wastes per day, Americans make 254 mil tons per year (*2). So, imagine what we human race are doing to our ONLY home – Earth.


But what I’ve figured out is that recycling can never be the answer to the crisis we are having. The answer lies in producing less waste. And that’s when minimalism comes to play a huge part of my life. Although I recycle – papers (magazine, book, cardbox), plastics (bottles, food wrappers), cans, clothes, etc… I soon realized I wasn’t doing much for the environment. Why?


1- Not all things can be recycled.
Learn what can and cannot be recycled. (

Your plastic or paper cup that still has a stain on it (imagine your fav hot Starbucks in your hand)….yes, that goes into landfill, not recycled.


2- Recycling process still uses energy and emits CO2.




I first embraced minimalism because I was buying and having too many clothes. I found out that most of my clothes ended up in landfills, even though I put it at the ‘recycle / donation’ bin. Instead of two seasons, fashion now has 52 seasons. The documentary I watched (The True Cost) tells me my clothes cost people’s lives (directly on textile labourers, indirectly on you, those living on this Earth).


Soon, this awareness that I must buy fewer clothes, thus throwing out fewer clothes, have translated into my other areas of life. I buy fewer beauty products, eat less junk food, less ‘useless’ present to loved ones, no magazine, no home décor…you get the idea.


Of course, I have still a long way to go, to a greener lifestyle. But I am sure minimalism will help me make better, happier and greener decisions. Eco-friendly practices, innovations, and products are great, but not having them is even greater.


3R_trademarkia.jpg   no plastic bag day.jpg

waste sep_NST.jpg
Separate your waste (NST)


Nevertheless, kudos to Malaysia for making baby steps towards greener waste management such as ‘No Plastic Day’, and waste separation. But let’s remember the famous 3R’s first two words are REDUCE & REUSE. Recycle should be the final choice.






2 thoughts on “Recycling is not eco-sustainable, Minimalism is.

  1. did you know that there are more r’s than three?

    i thought that i was a tree-hugger as well, by reducing, reusing and recycling. until i discovered a couple of more r’s that takes care of our mother earth. like repurposing, remixing, repairing. i actually wrote about it, if you’d like to take a look and learn new fun ways to hug trees. 😀 i’ve called it there are more than three r’s to simple life.

    here it is:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s