Script 32.7


We all produce garbage. Therefore we should take responsibility for reducing the amount of waste we produce. Do you know how much garbage you produce all by yourself? In Costa Rica studies show that each person produces about half a kilogram of garbage a day. Just think how much we all throw out and consider for a moment the serious problem that this represents in our community.

Many people don’t know that 80% of the materials we throw away can be composted, reused, or recycled. Before you throw something out decide whether or not it can be reused.

Compost it!

Make a pile of leftover fruit and vegetable peels, and eggshells, and mix them with some soil. When this decomposes it is valuable fertilizer for the garden.

Reuse it!

Find new uses for waste. For example open and flatten empty tin cans and reuse them as sheet metal. Make furniture out of scrap wood. Reuse well washed glass containers to store sugar and other food. Cut up old rags for patches.


Recycling means to make new things out of used materials. Gather glass, plastic, and metal containers and take them to industries that recycle them. Work with your neighbours to recycle waste and earn some money. This way you help protect the environment and make extra money at the same time. Of course some garbage (about 20% of it), cannot be recycled or reused and is good only for sanitary fill. The best way to get rid of it is to bury it.


Never reuse containers which held poisonous substances such as pesticides, disinfectants, and chemical solvents.

Remember compost, reuse, recycle! Think before you throw it out!


  • Thanks to Mari Komlganec, Consultant, RIS Toronto Resource Centre for her help preparing this script.

Information Sources

  • This script was written with materials from Let’s protect the environment, a radio series by Jenny Fernandez Jinestra, Rural Communications Coordinator of the Continuing Education Programme, Humid Tropics Region Agricultural School (EARTH), Costa Rica, and Gerardo Mirabelli, Head, Solid Waste Management Project.
  • OUTREACH PACKS, Nos. 91 95 on waste management: Part 1: Global problems, local solutions, Part 2: Conserving natural resources, Part 3: Recycling, Part 4: What to do about hazardous waste, Part 5: Learning by doing leaflets on waste and recycling.
  • These are available from OUTREACH, Teaching and Learning Center, 200 East Building, 239 Greene Street, New York University, New York NY 10003, USA or OUTREACH, Information and Public Affairs, UNEP, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya. Available in English and Spanish.