New Year: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

….reduce, reuse, recycle is a “big mantra” of mind and it is something that I am keen to teach the children. In a society that is driven by how much we consume, it is increasingly important for us to consider what our consumption is doing to our environment. Each week, I am horrified at quite how much refuse we produce. We recycle recyclables (a BIG BOX full each week), we compost our food waste and and we have the “remaining” waste (usually 2/3s of a black bin liner).

Though recycling is good.. and my main horror is at the black bin liner each week… recycling is NOT ENOUGH.

The mantra is to “REDUCE FIRST” – i.e. consume less in the first place. Do we really need 10 pairs of shoes? Do we really need a plastic bag when we go shopping? Have you considered using cloth nappies (really they are not as bad as you think!)? What else can you do to AVOID buying.. and if you do have to buy, can you buy second hand? Do you know how to recycle a mattress? They are HUGE landfill items.

The next step is to REUSE where you can. As you know I love to “upcycle” our old bits and pieces when crafting. Which is actually more about reusing than recycling. You are giving something old a new purpose- be it in recycled crafts or passing on old clothes to friends or even selling your unwanted items – reusing is a huge and important step in reducing what and how we consume.

It is only a FINAL step that we should recycle (so many people think recycling is enough, but it isn’t). Recycling should be our “last resort”, as it takes a significant amount of energy to recycle our unwanted items. Also, once recycled, we need a culture that BUYS recycled items. No point recycling if no one uses recycled paper loo paper or similar. When the Food Delivery Van man says to me “thats ok love, I’ll take those bags and recycle them for you”, that is NOT ok. We shouldn’t have used them in the first place.

So. Remember. REDUCE first (don’t use plastic bags, don’t buy things you don’t need). REUSE second (repurpose, gift, sell, freecycle) and only THEN recycle

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