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					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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.

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.

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