During the course of the month, we've learnt that water and carbon take pretty little steps to affirm that they make unsustainable impressions. Well, today, your favorite neighbor, waste, begs to be equally affirmed.

The holidays are the perfect time for a little luxury. A christmas present: square shaped packaging with valentine-red wrapping papers, some new red shoes in top Dior packaging bag. Honestly, the first thing I do with presents is quickly allow my hand to tear down the bold coloured papers, and much later, help this paper find its way into a waste bin.

Our everyday activities and the decisions we make contribute to an unsustainable environment. From the little straw that 'amounts to nothing' to the large harmful chemicals that negatively impact seas and aquatic lives, somehow we're all aiding the impression of waste. And to think we produce and consume a lot of it. Phew!

The Waste Footprint represents all waste created by humans and the environmental, economic, and social impacts that results from it. It is the amount of waste we produce from sourcing ingredients for production, manufacturing, processing, etc.

When it comes to the manufacturing industry, the waste footprint of a softdrink company, for instance, encompasses all the waste generated in the course of the gathering of the materials for production such as water, sugar, packaging, fuel burned on transportation and machinery, and every other form of waste generated in the formation of the product. The high waste footprint figures of industries are usually very alarming as they constitute the majority of the footprint share. 

Nonetheless, we as individuals contribute a share as well, albeit little. In context, you can try out a little practical. Pick a day and keep all of the waste you generate that day in a bag. You buy sachet water, keep the sachet. You cook spaghetti, keep the ingredients' wrappers and nylons. Anything at all that you'd throw away that day, keep them instead. You get the drift? Good. By the end of the day, they make up something close to your average daily waste footprint. Just little waste, right? Now, imagine this amount in 7 places for a week, 30 for a month and 365 for a year. You'll realize that your waste footprint isn't so little anymore. That's not all, you're just one in over 7 billion people on earth. If your waste footprint is taken as the average, imagine how much waste is being generated globally every year. 

This is the perfect time for a "What do we do?" question. I know. Aye, I got you; not to worry.

Remember the adage that says, "charity begins at home." Trust me, I'm not sure how this adage relates to the next line, but individuals, the family, a group, just anyone can form a home and can commit to reducing their waste footprints in small, uncomplicated ways. Here's how we can do it:

1. Consider wrapping gifts with fabric materials you already have instead of getting wrapping papers. 

2. If you must use plastics and polythene, then, consider purchasing reusables.

3. Avoid using single use containers and bags. 

4. Rather than disposing of them, donate items to be reused.

5. Practice Upcycling. 

6. Practice shopping in bulk to reduce wastage.

7. Be conscious about relearning and accepting changes.

8. Reduce, reuse, recycle. If by any means you can reduce the waste you generate, do so. 

9. Enlighten others on the meaning of waste footprint and how they can reduce theirs. 

Let's reduce our waste footprints with these remarkable little steps.

Go green, greenies!

Chukwudalu Abugu

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