5 Ways To Cut Wastage

By : Fabha Butt

November 10, 2017 Act

Every day, Karachiites produce 12,000 tonnes of wastage. According to the 2017 census, the city has a population of 14.9 million. So, how much trash each person is producing on a daily basis? 810 GRAMS!

The statistics are the same across the border in India and China.

With growing population and increasing consumerism, the world is already drowning in the waste produced by humans. Not only are we polluting the Earth, we are also depriving it of valuable resources

It’s a global crisis that calls for immediate action and rectification. But, what if we could reduce our trash production?

5Rs of Sustainability

Living in a big metropolitan city like Karachi we are no strangers to the sight of trash. We are quick to point the lack of government activity towards handling it, but we ignore the fact that we contribute to it on a daily basis.


Are you confused where to start?  Let the 5Rs of Sustainability guide you! I’m sure some of you might have heard of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” Well, it’s a little upgrade on that!

1. Reduce

Be mindful of your decisions and realistic about your needs. Reduce the use of products that would create waste! Buy what you really need. Reduce your overall consumption particularly of single-use items. Don’t buy impulsively. Don’t get carried away by “discounts” and “sales.” Buy in bulk to reduce packaging.

2. Refuse

Refuse what you don’t need. Buy responsibly. That goes for grocery, clothes, stationery, appliances everything! Make a list and stick to it. Refuse products wrapped in plastics and switch to alternatives. Refuse the freebies coming your way. Yes, say ‘no’ to that free notebook, pen, and keychain.

Do you really need it?

It’s all about supply and demand. The more people will buy them, the more they’ll be manufactured and distributed! Refuse single-use plastics. Refuse cheap things that will break easily and would need replacing. Buy better!

3. Reuse (and repair)

Reuse what you do have. Repair what’s torn or broken.

Swap disposables for reusables. Pack your lunches and snacks. Take a water bottle from home. Invest in cloth napkins—rather than tissue papers—and reuse them.

Bring cloth bags and utilize them instead of buying goods in plastic bags. Be creative and think how you can salvage items destined for the landfill. Tin cans can become stationary, and makeup holders; containers can be jewelry boxes, and shoe boxes can convert into storage containers. The Internet is filled with ideas. Repurpose your trash!

Reusing could also mean giving new homes to your items! Donate or sell your clothes, shoes, books, and appliances to someone who needs them. It can take up to 27,000 liters of water to produce a single cotton t-shirt.

4. Recycle

One of the easiest ways to reduce the trash destined to landfills is by recycling, and it starts by separating your trash.

Separate the dry from wet; the organic from others. Collect your plastic bottles, paper waste, metal cans, and glass bottles. The important rule of recycling: Whatever you can’t re-purpose or reuse and want to “throw away.” Sadly we have next to no government management and policies regarding trash separation and recycling, but certain private companies are dealing with this.

Man throwing plastic bottle in recycle trash can

Look them up! Or like me, collect and give it to the kabari walas you see around. Donate or sell your trash to them. Many of the items from a kabari wala go to small-scale recycling plants.

5. Rot (Compost)

More than 40% of waste thrown out of homes is an organic matter that can decompose naturally. You would think that throwing organic matter tied up in plastic bags is okay because, in the end, it will all decompose.

Well, that’s not really the case.

Landfills are not the ideal atmosphere for decomposition. The process requires air, warmth, water and most importantly bacteria. Throwing organic matter (trapped) in plastic bags stops air (oxygen), water and heat from getting in, essentially converting the natural decomposition process into a harmful phenomenon that results in the production of methane and greenhouse gases.

Solution? Composting at home.

It can be done on a big scale if you have a garden or lawn at home or on a small scale if you have a terrace or balcony! The internet is filled with inspirations and composting solutions!

Start Small

Sowing plastic won’t make the earth any greener. It’s best we start acting now.  You can try to incorporate these 5Rs in your life. Start small, but start somewhere.

Fabha Butt


Fabha Butt is on a mission where she wants to live responsibly. She aims to inspire the world with her environmentally friendly ideas. You can know more about her by visiting her website and Instagram profile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *