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.
♥ RECYCLE ♥
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.
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.
♥ MINIMALISM ♥
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.
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.