By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

According to several studies, Metro Manila alone sends about 21.5 million tons of food waste to garbage dumps and landfills. Imagine the amount if these studies take the total waste of other areas into account.

One possible way to lessen the amount of waste from both commercial and home kitchens is the 3R mantra which Annie Pascual-Guerrero cited in her book “An A-Z Guide for a Green Chef” to help healthy food enthusiasts to mind their waste.

In the previous article, the first of the 3Rs talks about reducing the quantity of items bought to also lessen the number of scrap that will be produced from it. The next step in the process is to reuse.

Reusing is considered as one of the best practices for a cleaner environment because it keeps people from buying new items as well as adding more to the amount of trash by disposing of items that are for one-time use only.

Here are some simple ways to reuse common household items:

  1. Don’t pack disposable. Use a lunch box instead of take-out boxes; substitute tissues with cloth napkins, and plastic bottles with a thermos or a refillable water jug.
  2. Reuse nonplastic totes and bags. These can be used in market or grocery trips.
  3. Swap items with people. Your trash may be another person’s treasure. Give what others can use but make sure to also get what you can use.
  4. Donate items that others may find necessary in their everyday lives.
  5. Be creative in using items. Search the Internet for new ideas on how to reuse household items.

Not many people notice it, but they are participating in the “reuse” approach of the 3R mantra. By simply bringing reusable bags or tumblers, they are already helping in reducing the amount of food waste that goes to dumps or landfills.

The final step of the 3Rs is to recycle. The next article will talk about how recycling has become a part of different industries in the community and why it is important in the journey to lessen the quantity of food scraps that come from homes and commercial establishments.

(Source: Annie Pascual-Guerrero, An A-Z Guide for a Green Chef, Culinary Foundation, Inc., Quezon City, Philippines, 2012)