Any fellow elementary school Earth Club members out there?
Remember that phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”?
Note the order of the ‘r’ words. Perhaps they are in this order for a reason.
In our modern day, being “green” has become quite the fad. It’s trendy, and lots of people are making lots of money from labeling things as ‘green’, ‘recycled’, ‘recyclable’, etc. This is a great thing, as everything from compost bins, low and no-VOC ‘non-toxic’ paint, to organic foods is pretty easily attainable. And I love that most public buildings have recycling bins!
However, sometimes we get so excited about our organic cotton sheets and bottle made from recycled plastic, that we forget the ‘reduce, reuse’ part of the popular saying.
This is first, and quite an important, step in being ‘green’. If we reduce our consumption, there is no need to continue with the other steps. Reducing consumption reduces production of new goods; therefore conserving resources as well as reducing the energy of production. Reducing consumption also reduces waste. Even the waste that is recyclable requires energy to process it.
So think about your consumption habits. Do you really need to use paper towels very often? I always have them on hand for really nasty business, like puppy poop and chicken blood J. However perhaps reusing (I’m getting ahead of myself here) old rags could do just as good, if not a better job. Or how about napkins; why not use fabric napkins? Cloth diapers, buying in bulk to reduce packaging, bringing your own coffee mug to the coffee shop, the list goes on and on.
We obviously cannot reduce our consumption to nothing. So, the next step is reusing. Reuse old rags and even clothes to clean. Shop at a thrift store. Use old jars to store leftovers or food that you buy in bulk. Wash that salsa jar and store some rice in it!
I don’t think this one needs explanation. It’s really easy to do in today’s society; many communities even have curb-side now!
Keeping the three ‘r’s in mind are really pretty simple, and become habit with time. However, these simple steps can have a huge impact on our environment! So next time you plan to purchase some bottles of water, why not reduce your consumption and reuse a Polar Bottle or Nalgene instead? Take a few days and note what things you really could do without, take a shorter shower, and make sure to use your recycling bin more than the trash can. And don’t forget, the less you consume and more you reuse, the more money you’ll save!