Home / Biodiversity / 5R MODEL & WASTE MANAGEMENT


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Greetings to all planet caretakers! If you are here, reading this, that means you are taking the first step by trying to learn how to take individual actions on leading a more sustainable life. Of course, you might say “I’m already living sustainably” but we should also question how sustainably we truly live. While reading this content, please try to connect it to your daily life as much as possible.

At an individual scale, we might be trying to take some actions to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle and I think we should appreciate it but we should also know we can do more. We must have seen all these advertisements of the municipalities on recycling. Even the brands are using sentences such as “ %97 of this bottle was made from recycled plastic” this might instil an idea to us that recycling is the first and only solution for managing our waste but actually everything starts with not buying the item at all.

Knowing that there are some steps to follow can be a great guidance and make the result more effective. 5R Model that we will be explaining would be an easy and practical method to follow.

First of all, let’s see what it stands for;



3.Reuse & Repurpose



As Youth Innovation, this is one of our favourite models to touch upon during our projects and activities on environmental protection. Let’s elaborate on them one by one;

Step One: Refuse This is the very first step of our waste management. Saying “no” to things we don’t really need may require some time and practice but eventually it has the fundamentals of preventing waste because if you don’t need it then you will be wasting it. Yes, even if the item is distributed for free, we should question if it will be of any use for us. Also, imagine your daily life. There might be several options for the same product that you need to buy. When you check the ingredients and the packaging it might contain substances that are really harmful for the environment or simply it might be covered with a single-use plastic. In this case, refusing to buy such items can minimise the harm.

Step two: Reduce If we really need or decide to buy the product, as a second step, finding out some ways to reduce our waste will be a great choice to contribute. For example; if you need a water bottle, instead of buying a plastic one, choosing a glass one will make it suitable to use more than once or if you are a regular tea & coffee consumer, owning your mug will reduce the number of plastic cups you will be using in your life. By doing so, we will be reducing our negative environmental impact.

Step three: Reuse & Repurpose It’s time to reuse the item bought or bring up your creativity! We’ve already talked about choosing the materials that can be reused. However, due to economical reasons or not having enough opportunities, sometimes we might need to choose plastic or single-use items. (We are hoping they will be banned worldwide) Let’s assume you had to use a nylon bag for carrying your fruits and veggies, then it is perfectly fine to use the same bag for your next shopping trip. If you have a plastic cup, try to use it all over and over again or trust your imagination. Think of ways to repurpose that item. A plastic water cup does not necessarily have to serve as a water cup. You can paint it, ornament it and come up with a beautiful small pot by adding some soil and plant your sprouts. Ta daa! You reuse & repurpose and save your money as well as the planet.

Step four: Recycle So far we have touched upon refusing,reducing and repurposing. If you have applied all these stages and if you think the item won’t be suitable for applying all these stages anymore, then you can consider recycling. Every country and municipality might have some different policies and techniques when it comes to recycling. When we take things from “supply and demand” point, we have even come across examples of neighbourhoods collecting signatures to demand a recycling bin. When using the recycling bin, it is also important to know which item belongs to which part, or which item can be recycled or not. For example you might think that pizza boxes can fit in “paper” part but because of the sauce and oil on them, they won’t be suitable for recycling. What’s worse, they will also contaminate the other items and prevent their recycling process if you put them in the recycling bins. From another side, it is good to remember; especially glass and metals are recycled endlessly. When it comes to plastic, only a small amount of quality ones can be recycled for a few times only.

Step five: Rot Rotting may have a bad connotation in our minds but let’s ask the plants and microorganisms as well! As a bonus step, we will be putting our organic waste to good use here. Composting may not seem like a practical step but from getting help from worms to green cones, there are many ways of composting. If you have a garden, then you can divide one part of it for composting to manage your organic waste and have a rich soil that your veggies and plants will adore. We are aware that especially if you live in a flat, you might have some flies around which wouldn’t be too comportable. In this case you can try using Bokashi bins. It looks like a garbage bin with a tap and some layers inside. You simply put your organic waste and add bokashi seeds and close the bin. It will take around a month to have a nutritious juice for your soil and plants.

As Youth Innovation, we are hoping that 5R Model will be practical for your waste management. We know that we can’t be %100 eco-friendly however we can try to reduce the waste as much as possible.

Thank you very much for taking a step to protect our beautiful planet.

Stay warm and hydrated,

Sinem Kanmaz

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