Waste Reduction ------- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Replace Waste is a common problem of affluent societies. Especially when people can afford greater convenience and more purchases tend to throw away more rubbish. Hong Kong is no exception to this. The continued growth in wasteloads means Hong Kong is running out of landfill space far earlier than expected. The remaining landfill space will last only for 6 to 10 years if waste levels continue to increase at current levels. Controlling municipal solid waste, construction waste, chemical waste and etc. has become very urgent as we cannot solve solid waste dilemma just by finding new places to put trash. All individuals, communities, and businesses should do their utmost to carry out the 4R Strategy-----reduce, reuse, recycle and replace. REDUCE Reduce means source reduction and waste prevention. Source reduction asks those questions: Do we need this? If we do, can it be produced with fewer resources, take up less space, make a lighter environmental impact? Simplify your life as much as possible. Only keep belongings that you use/enjoy on a regular basis. It is very important for us to rethink if we have genuine needs for a product. Reducing waste does not only mean you have to reduce what you buy, but also to obtain what you need in the most resource-efficient way. Seldom-used items, like certain power tools and party goods, often collect dust, rust, take up valuable storage space, and ultimately end up in the trash. Why not share these infrequently used items with your neighbors, friends, or family to save both money and natural resources? We should reduce the use of plastic bags. When you buy one or two items at a store, carry them out in your hands, or take a reusable bag with you to carry the items you buy. Due to technological advancement, using plastic bags can also be environmentally friendly. Totally degradable plastics (TDP) can be completely decomposited within a certain period which could reduce the damage to the environment. Durable products are preferred to disposable ones. You can reduce waste by keeping these items longer and repairing them when they break, rather than buying new ones. We should purchase large or economy-size items for household products that are used frequently, such as laundry soap, shampoo, baking soda, pet foods, and cat litter to reduce unnecessary packaging. Recently, the government has started to launch the construction waste disposal charging scheme. Construction waste producers prior to using Government waste disposal facilities, need to pay for the construction waste they generate to Environmental Protection Department. REUSE You can reuse materials in their original form instead of throwing them away, or pass those materials on to others who could use them too! Remember, one man's trash is another man's treasure! Many everyday items can have more than one use. Before discarding them, consider if it is hygienic and practical to reuse them. Reusing products extends their lives, keeping them out of the solid waste stream longer. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools, or clothes, try selling or donating them. Opting for second hand goods, such as books, clothes, furniture, CDs and etc. is very popular in foreign countries as these products are often less expensive than new or "first-quality" items, and using them will keep them from being thrown away. Besides, you can also donate things that you don't want to various charitable organizations to help the needy. When you do use disposables like plastic cups, plates, utensils, and plastic food storage bags, don't throw them away! Wash and reuse them -- most of them will last for a long time with many uses. What's more, remember to switch from disposable to reusable products: food and beverage containers, cups, plates, writing pens, razors, diapers, towels, shopping bags, etc. Reuse scrap paper and envelopes.Save and reuse gift boxes, ribbons, and larger pieces of wrapping and tissue paper. RECYCLE When you've done all you can to avoid waste, recycle. Recycling is the process by which materials are collected and used as raw materials for new products. There are four steps in recycling: collecting the recyclable components of municipal solid waste, separating materials by type, processing them into reusable forms, and purchasing and using the goods made with reprocessed materials. Auminium tins, plastic bottles and waste paper can be separated and put into the recycling bins. Recycled waste can be made into new products to be used again to fully utilise our planet's limited resources. For recycling to succeed, recyclable materials must be processed into new products, and those products must be purchased and used. We should select products made from recycled materials. Use products with recycled content whenever you can. For instance, many paper, glass, metal, and plastic products contain recovered materials. Some examples are stationery, wrapping paper, computer paper, and many containers. Look for items in packages and containers made of recycled materials. Many bottles, cans, paper wrappings, bags, cereal boxes, and other cartons and packages are made from recycled materials. REPLACE Nowadays, durable products are not favoured by manufacturers, as they reduced sales. Non-durable goods are produced for short period of consumption and then disposed of and it would certainly waste energy and resources. Therefore, replace non-durable goods by durable goods certainly helps to conserve the environment. Besides, during the production processes of non-renewable resources, we often produce contaminated residues and poisonous and harmful by-products that harm the environment and our health as well. So we should replace non-renewable resources by renewable resources. For example, the water heating system commonly used in Hong Kong is an environmentally friendly type of system, as it uses renewable solar energy to heat up water. Furthermore, we should phase out foam lunch boxes by degradable lunch boxes, replace your newspaper and magazines with online news, use hot water instead of cleaning detergent for washing purpose, replace chemical fertilizers by organic fertilizers, etc. We should use wind power instead of fossil fuels to generate electricity. For example, the Hong Kong Electric Company has planned to construct the 800kW wind turbine on Lamma Island. SUMMARY All parts of society need to work together to change current patterns of waste generation and disposal. The government should take the initiative to help communities plan and carry out the 4R strategy. Manufacturers can design products that use more recycled materials and less packaging. As individuals, we should also do our bit to reduce trash. Take action now! We all have the power to influence others and help create the type of world in which we want to live.