Not all wastes are wastes, recycle and reuse

There must be sufficient production before there is sufficient consumption. When consumption exceeds production, then there is a problem. When there is consumption of products, there needs to be a replacement, otherwise, there will be a deficit. Consumption leads to waste production but then not all wastes are wastes. Some wastes can be recycled and reused as raw materials in the production of other products. Most of the wastes produced in the world today come from what individuals consume. Little wonder Sustainable Development Goal 12 seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

As emphasized by Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDGF), SDG 12 seeks to open a new world to humankind, where not just a few people undertake sustainable consumption, but where reducing, reusing, preventing and recycling will be common for everyone. The effects of such a sustainable lifestyle go beyond preserving the earth’s natural resources, as it can help in reducing the increasingly widening gap between the rich and the poor. Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources.

The Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDGF) emphasizes that the sustainable growth and development of a country is measured by how well they are doing in terms of production and not consumption. It involves minimizing the natural resources and toxic materials used; the waste and pollutants generated throughout the entire production and consumption process. As we consume, we are not to dispose all that we consume but rather look for ways to get more produced out of the wastes generated by the consumed goods. Production does not only come from fresh materials or fresh farm produce, production can come from waste if effectively recycled. For example, bio-fuels are produced from animal and farm wastes, manure are produced from sewage and decomposed refuse.

Target 5 of the Sustainable Development Goal 12 therefore, focuses on ensuring that by 2030, member countries would have substantially reduced waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. Hence, Goal 12 can be achieved when countries understand the importance of aligning production to meet up with consumption through proper waste management. The efficient management of our shared natural resources, and the way we dispose of toxic wastes and pollutants, are important targets to achieve this goal. Encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030.

Wastes management is not just going to happen only through the efforts of the government. Individuals need to develop, cultivate and imbibe the culture of responsible production and consumption even within the home and office environments. From water usage to printing on papers, everyone must adjust to responsible consumption and production. We all need to contribute our own quota. Proper use of products and less consumption of what is not needed are ways through which individuals can help the government. Not all wastes are useless, dispose well and recycle for reuse.

Source: United Nations Information Centre in Lagos