Re-du-cle, the Lorax* codename for the phrase Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. Those who have not heard the word spreading in the forest, I am the Lorax and I speak for the trees and the environment! Naturally, protecting the environment is my responsibility and I am always looking for better and effective ways of doing it. Currently, re-du-cle-ing is my hammer and chisel to sculpting a “new Earth” sculptor. The concept is genius and a gift to the world. Yet a few individuals are practising or let alone aware of it. Sad!
Reduce; Reuse and Recycle are the three essential characteristic behaviour traits for an environmentally-responsible being, of which all of us should be. The concept behind the first R, reduce, is that one should limit the number, amount or quantity of raw materials they use, be it water, wood, energy to name but a few, if one did this, they would save water, lower the extent of deforestation and save power respectively. I think it is about time we practise the “reduce” concept, agreed?
The concept behind the second R, re-use, is that one should reuse items as much as possible before replacing them so as to “reduce” or lower the number of times we purchase the same product as disposal of these same items leads to pollution. Fortunately, Zimbabweans are masters of this art. I have seen for example, Coke PET bottles being used as bottles to store; water in the freezer, vinegar or tomato sauce, glue, medicines to name a few by mothers at home, restaurant owners, cobblers and chiropractors respectively. Kudos my countrymen! Let us continue to reduce.
Lastly the concept to the third R, recycle, is that one should ensure that purchased items are put to a new purpose. Puzzled? I am sure you are. How did I guess? Well, I have noted that the third R is one baffling to most. Yet I wonder, is it because we do not understand the term or we find the process rather tedious?
Either way, I am here to educate you in this regard; Recycling though an overwhelming term to many is nothing but a process of using old or waste products to make a new product all together. Through it many take pride in initiating an important step towards the journey of a thousand miles being reducing pollution. The cherry on top to recycling is that it is a fun activity especially when done in groups as it gives room for one’s imagination to run wild. Recycling helps to reduce energy usage, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce air pollution and water pollution (from land filling) by reducing the need for “conventional” waste disposal and also reduces greenhouse gases emissions, thus reducing global warming.
Gosh the advantages of recycling are countless! My favourite is that it protects the trees. How? See when paper is recycled, it minimises felling or deforestation. Beautiful, recycling helps save natural resources everybody! Energy consumption is reduced during recycling; this stands true because when products are made from raw materials, a lot of energy is used to break covalent or ionic bonds in them during the process of manufacturing. Through the recycling of cans, plastic bottles and scrapes of metal, pollution is avoided as these items are not disposed of.
However, and this came as a surprise to me and I am sure it will to you too, the recycling process does have its cons. Unbelievable but true. Recycling a concept we thought pure and without fault, are tainted. It has high initial costs; setting up a new recycling factory is costly as this involves purchasing new machinery, vehicles and chemical products. It is not spread on a wide scale; recycling has proven to be a hit in schools and homes but these efforts are turned mediocre by industries and factories who continue to destroy the planet. You are failing to comprehend my point? Okay, look at it this way, saving paper in schools cannot be compared to tree felling at an industrial level. Get it now?
There we have it, the pros and cons of recycling.
However, after weighing them, I believe promoting recycling on a large scale and if done effectively can bring in massive results which will be of great benefit to the mutual existence of mere mortals, organism and the environment as a whole. In essence the pros outweigh the cons a thousand to one and should not be an excuse for us not to recycle.
Not persuasive enough? Okay, waste recycling can be a form of wealth. On June 28 this year, it was reported in a local paper that Rickson Zvavare and four other members from a recycling trust based in Harare were off to France, all this due to their creative minds which led them to convert trash to finished products. Upon returning home, they had made themselves a decent amount of cash. Wow! I love this, recycling not only improves the environment but improves the livelihood of people too. This is good news because I believe the poor the society the poor the environment will be and recycling is seeing to that this will not be the case.
I am the Lorax and I beseech thee my fellow Zimbabweans to start re-du-cle-ing. Let us work together to make this world a better place for us, our children and our children’s children. Only we in the present can ensure that our future generations will live a meaningful and fruitful life like we have. If we care enough, we will ensure that this will not only be a dream goal but one that will become a reality.
Happy re-du-cle-ing everybody, do not fret, it is Lorax approved.
Lorax is the guardian of the forest in Dr Seuss’ The Lorax Animation.
l Nontuthuzelo Sisale is a Miss Earth Finalist Zimbabwe. Follow her journey on Facebook and Twitter @NSisale and like the Miss Earth Zimbabwe Facebook page.