Let Us Know and Manage Our Waste

Why Should I care?
When I was growing up, whenever things went wrong, the words that rang in my ears were “This world is not my home, I am just passing through”. My thinking got changed when I understood that Jesus is coming back to redeem not only humankind but the entire creation. And that process has already begun when Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God 2,000 years ago. Caring for the earth and reigning over the creation was our primary vocation before the fall that is being redeemed in the Kingdom of God. We, as human beings and God’s image bearers, are responsible for the earth and our role of redeeming the creation along with God has already begun.
We, in the Christian world, have been concerned more about the Salvation of souls. We care less about what happens to all the waste we generate from our homes and have left the waste management system to municipal and Government authorities. What we have left undone, the secular world has picked up for various reasons. It is time we realise our role in the Kingdom of God in which God is going to renew the entire creation when He comes back to renew the earth.

What Can I do?
There is a small hill near the place where we live. It is not made of soil and trees but it is a mound of waste. Waste that has been dumped there has slowly accumulated over the years. Dump yards are a common site in India. What can we do about it? The simple steps in solid waste management are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

1. Reduce: It is about getting/buying only what I really need. It is against the materialistic culture that we live in. I recently heard Uncle LT Jeyachandran mention this: we should not be Materialistic but we are not against Materiality. Matter is not wrong but covetousness is.
In that way, we need to buy unnecessary things. When we get only what we need and use what we get, the amount of waste generated from our households will reduce. It is reduction at source.

2. Reuse: Articles like clothing, books, vessels etc., can be reused. I once heard of a kid’s birthday party where unused stationary and toys were kept for the children to take as return gifts. Instead of throwing articles that can be reused into the dustbins, why don’t we find someone who can use it? We should become good stewards of materials, which God provides us.

3. Recycle: The two kinds of waste that we can manage in our households are the waste from our kitchens which are the biodegradable waste and the recyclable waste. 70% of waste generated in our households is biodegradable waste or wet waste. These are generated in our kitchens such as vegetable peelings and other food waste

Biodegradable waste can be treated at home in a compost which will eventually serve as manure for the garden. The problem with mixing the wet waste with other waste is that it greatly increases the amount of waste and the generation of ‘leachate’, the toxic liquid that seeps from waste. The second major category of waste we can handle at source are the recyclables – paper, plastic, clothes and glass. I once saw a man picking dirty plastic bottles.

The ‘kabali wallas’ will be happy to collect our recyclable wastes. We need not add it to our waste! We need to segregate waste and use different bins for wet waste and recyclables. It is far more easy to segregate waste in our homes instead of requiring the municipal workers to do the same. If we all segregate waste and treat our own biodegradables and find a solution for our recyclables, the amount of waste that goes out will be much less. Treatment of waste will also be easier.
I guess that is what it means to be truly human and also truly a Christian, being responsible in not just keeping my house clean but caring about what happens to my waste.

Let us Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

Dr Lynda Keren Robbins, has done her PhD in Environmental Science, involving in EU from student days and currently enjoying her role as a home educator for her two sons, Chennai

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