Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle

For the majority of Americans, this common colloquialism became ingrained in our minds in childhood, often through school programs and community outreach. I would like to explore how we can engrain it in our lifestyles as a daily practice, and not just a pleasant idea. The point of implementing these ideas makes perfect sense, conservation of the Earth. It’s not as though people are not on board with the outcome, it’s the effort it takes that is a problem for most people. We often question how just one person’s efforts can back a difference. However, if given practical habits that can make a big difference in a small way, people will be encouraged to reduce, reuse, and recycle. This is truly a privilege and not a chore and here’s why. 

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Reusing something that someone else saw no purpose in, or likewise donating something you see no merit in, not only reduced waste but can help others who were previously without. More often than not, local churches, thrift stores, schools and non-profit organizations accept a variety of items as donations. These are a great place to visit whether you need to give or get something that can be reused. Another means of reuse is buying reusable items rather than disposable items. You can also maintain, and repair things like clothes, appliances and vehicles so that they don’t have to be replaced as quickly or as often. Or simply reuse something that is disposable, but doesn’t necessarily have to be thrown out after just one use.

By reusing what we can, we reduce pollution caused by not needing to harvest as many raw materials. This not only saves energy, but it reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. More directly related to the individual, you’re about to save money by allowing products to be used to their fullest extent. Waste not, want not, right?

Now recycling is in its own category. It’s just as intentional as the other two concepts but it can be more intimidating to some. Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new items. Try not to get stuck on the idea that your efforts are on too small of a scale or are being negated by all the people in the world that are not recycling. Even if it is solely in your own community, recycling can make a difference. By recycling we’re able to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills as well as conserve our natural resources as there are. Such as timber, water and other materials. Not to mention the jobs that are maintained through the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States. There is actually a three step process to recycling that we can be involved in on some level the whole way. First, there is the collecting and processing of recyclable good, which is something that everyone can take accountability for their own goods and do. Then there is the manufacturing of new products from recycled materials which our previously mentioned industries have all but perfected. Then, there is the purchase of the new products themselves that have been made from such recycled goods. 

These are not meant to be one and done efforts, you are not doing your part unless you continue doing your part. So let us normalize thrift stores and to go boxes brought from home. Let us normalize taking out the recycling along side the trash on trash day, as well as wearing a patched pair of jeans for a couple years longer than you normally would. Dropping the stigma behind the movement is crucial in the success of the conservation of our planet. We can all agree it’s worth it. 

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