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You and I have great responsibility towards the environment. How the Earth will be in the future depends on us, and rests in our hands. As easy as we can build and nurture the environment, is unfortunately as easy for us to harm it as well, because our behaviour will shape our surroundings.

We have been given many teachings and guidance on how to conserve the planet in the past years, and knowledge on how to actually put those teachings into action is made accessible on plenty of platforms. We are more than aware of our important role in health of the environment. The question is, are we practicing what we preach? Moreover, are we practicing enough?

Humans produce large amounts of waste, much of which is not biodegradable. There are many types of garbage that may be damaging our soil, air and the water system that we may not realize yet. Therefore to prevent destroying the ecosystem and maintain a high quality of life for all species including us, we must manage and store our waste efficiently and safely.

So in order to achieve that, we must all RECYCLE.

Recycling started nearly four decades ago, when a U.S. paper company wanted a symbol to convey its products’ recycled content to their customers. The design competition they held was won by Gary Anderson, a young graphic designer from the University of Southern California. His entry, based on the Mobius strip (a shape with only one side and no end) is now universally recognized as the symbol for recycling.

Our future generations deserve a healthy and clean environment. With recycling, the positive impacts it brings could just provide them that. Instead of throwing away our waste, we are converting them back to new products without having to use raw materials, which will then help in preserving our natural resources. It will also reduce pollution, reduces waste in landfills, builds the economy and conserves energy.

Recycling starts at home – in every household, there’s a range of items you can recycle. Examples of recyclable items are aluminium and steel tins/cans, aerosol cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic soft-drink and water bottles, plastic food containers, tubs and trays, juice/milk cartons and the list goes on.

Instead of throwing these items away, it is definitely better to send them to a recycle centre than having those precious items wasting away at a landfill. Know what you can and can’t recycle, so read up on the recycling rules for your area and make sure you don’t send anything in that can’t be processed. Determine the recyclable waste that you have, and put them into separate places after dividing into categories. You can get either a big box or container to put the recyclable items in and label them; or better yet involve the kids and let them use their creativity to draw on the boxes. And before giving them to a recycle centre, ensure that the plastics and steel/aluminium are washed and cleaned first.

If you have some stuff at home that you no longer use, but is still is good condition, don’t throw it away. Instead donate them to charity or give them to people you know would need them the most. Recycling means making old products into new ones, so the act of giving something to someone else is still considered recycling. Give away clothes that don’t fit, the boxes you used, or scented soaps that don’t appeal to your sensibilities – it could be anything. Make it a rule in your house that nothing useable goes in the trash until you’ve given the community a fair shot at it.

Living in the modern era, businesses and organizations are booming; products of many shapes and sizes are made available to the consumers. The problem that comes with this however is the unnecessary packaging. Be mindful of the products you buy, always checking whether the packaging is recyclable or not. Whenever you purchase something packaged, think about how you can reuse the packaging or try to recycle it. Always take the time to compare the benefit a product has before bringing it into your home.

The essence of recycling is the cyclical movement of materials through the system, eliminating waste and the need to extract more natural materials. Supporting recycling means feeding this loop by not only recycling, but also supporting recycled products. So when you are our shopping, pick up the habit to buy recycled products.

Here in Kota Kinabalu, an organization or a team occasionally holds a recycling drive dedicated to collect rare products to be recycled. Take advantage of these local recycling initiatives for unusual items like electrical equipment or furniture and be informed of the dates. Also, if you know any artists that has a passion for up-cycle, encourage them by offering to provide supplies. So in the end, our “waste”, will then become someone else’s treasure as they turn in to their art creations.

There is only one Earth; and it’s the only place we have to live. We cannot afford to be living carelessly anymore, we must act now. And recycling, as small as it seems, is the best way we can try to save the world. So for the next issue, we look into a greater scale of the current situation we are facing in regards to our waste, where recycling plays a vital and crucial role by talking to the players in the recycling industry. Stay tuned with us, as we give you more insight on the next issue!

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