Creating Mindset of Plastic Waste: Which one is better? Reduce, Reuse, or Recycle?

(EN)

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The collection of waste and its composition after Bali Clean Up in Beach (source: One Island One Voice)

There are a lot of waste issue solutions and technologies that we can find on the social media, e.g. facebook timeline *if only you follow the environment fan page or group*. Some people might think reducing plastic usage can help our environment, some say reusing multiple times is good, and others rather choose to do recycling. We called it 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) as the act to save our earth. That solution is easy to implement and can be done in any country. Then, it will be questioned after we talked about plastic? Why? Because it is one of the largest material that contribute to the marine pollution.

From my point of view, there are two oppositions in the 3R problematic. I think people who refuse to use disposable/single-use plastic waste such as straw, plastic bottle, spoon, etc will blame the one who uses those kinds of plastic. In another hand, there are some people who still use those kinds of plastic because they believe there is recycling process. They believe that someone will do that. How about reducing team? They think of both side are important. It is dispensable to say disposable plastic is important in our life.

 

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The 3R aspects differences

 

 

Let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of 3R if we only see it partially.

Reuse
(+) Minimum waste (-) Effort

Reduce
(+) Minimize waste quantity (-) have an excess waste

Recycle
(+) New product with different value (-) People are encouraged to use more plastic because it is recycled

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#TrashforCash Program, source Tech in Asia ID

 

Finally, my opinion regarding the plastic waste problem, reduce is the safe solution than recycling because it is in the middle of the slow and the fast. Based on my experience, recycling needs more energy to process the waste for creating a new product. However, plastic has the limited number of being recycled. In the end, the plastic with low properties will end to the landfill. The other option is to be incinerated, but it is not common and familiar in Indonesia? Well, what do you think? Finally, should we focus on one R only?


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