This is an interesting concept.
Many of us are avid and responsible recyclers. Be it electronics, clothing and home furnishings, plastic, glass, paper products and metal, as well as our food and garden waste (compost). But what if we recycled less?
Ha, did I catch you saying “What? Less? I thought the whole point nowadays was to recycle more?”
Well, I came across an interesting article on the David Suzuki Foundation website when I was researching a blog I wrote about how to recycle our old cell phones a while back and I’m finally getting around to writing about it.
It got me thinking. I was particularly drawn to the following quote within the first paragraph of the piece: “Recycle” is the last ‘R’ in ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’”
It went on to suggest that, “If your blue bin is full to the brim each week, maybe you need another solution.” In other words, we’re possibly not doing enough when it comes to the reduce and reuse options.
And they also asked us to think about a few other ‘R’ words that are often neglected, such as refuse, reclaim, renew, revitalise, refurbish, rethink and redesign. On a global level and on a personal level, these additional calls to action are words that should be an extension of our vocabulary when it comes to responsible consumerism and lifestyle.
The foundation offered up some tips to help us all embrace and put into practice some of these ‘new words’ when we think of recycling less.
6 Easy Ways to Recycle Less
Be a smarter shopper. How about we try harder, whenever possible, to reduce the amount of plastic packaging we accumulate? Buy food and other consumer products, including health care items that don’t use plastic, polystyrene or an excess of wrapping materials/packaging. Buy in bulk if possible using eco-friendly containers.
Glass jars from jams, and condiments are great for food storage and for leftovers instead of using plastic containers and cling film. If you prefer to use new jars to start off with, consider versatile Mason jars and lids. They come in a multitude of sizes to fit all your storage purposes. Remember, glass containers are dishwasher friendly, freeze well and don’t contain toxic bisphenol A (BPA).
Make your own household cleaners from natural products. Try using products such as baking soda, lemons, castile soap, salt, etc. Store in those used glass jars or old spray bottles you once put in the recycle bin! Here’s a handy link to all kinds of Green cleaning solutions.
Take a new look at your water bottle usage. Scrap the single-use plastic water bottle habit. Buy a stainless-steel thermos or two and refill them with filtered water or other beverages. Or, if you love fizzy water, buy a soda stream that has rechargeable canisters instead of using single use plastic or glass water bottles. Bonus: You’ll save money, too.
Try if you can to fix household items before simply tossing them into the blue box or dropping them off at your local eco-centre. Many small (as well as major) appliances can be repaired, if not by you, then by someone else. Or donate the items to a cause where someone else will fix and reuse them. RecycleBC Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity are a few organisations which support this kind of initiative along with accepting other donations of used items.
Repair your clothing, especially if it’s something you really love. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, redesign your dated outfits or alter them to fit someone else if you’re tired of them. Etsy is a great website for ideas on how to put a new take on old items and transform them into a new look. Don’t forget, another “R” word, Retro, is all the rage these days so capitalise on that while you’re at it.
R U Ready to Recycle Less?
These are just a few of many ‘R’ practices we can all embrace in our effort to recycle less. Once the habit is formed, it will become a lifetime choice, and if we all encourage our children and grandchildren to follow suit, all of these small efforts will amount to one much larger result.