Being a native of the Pacific Northwest, I’ve been recycling my whole life. I even remember the days where we had to separate glass, plastic, can, and paper. While it’s great that I’ve always made efforts to recycle, I’ve learned about the importance of reusing and reducing.
I worked as a Challenge Course Facilitator at a ropes course, where I facilitated an environmental education program for elementary school kids. One of the activities we did focused on reducing, reusing and recycling. We had platforms representing each with different sizes from large, which can fit about 10 adults, to small, 2-3 adults, respectively. The sizes were assigned to the most impact that each did. Recycling is fantastic, but what if we used these products again? Recycling isn’t quite what it’s called, it’s actually down-cycling. Used rubber tires can be made into mats on playgrounds. Despite the fact it’s not the most sustainable, I still recycle everything I can.
What if we used something as simple as a reusable cup? I work as a barista and we go through loads of cups, which we wouldn’t need if even a majority brought in their own cups. I can’t even fathom how many cups we would save.
Even better than reusing, we can reduce. Like with the cups above, if we used less, so many resources can be saved. One of the easiest things I’ve found to reduce, is to keep my documents digital. If I can, I submit everything online, from my taxes to most social communications. I’m not perfect, but I do try to not buy more than I need, or items which contain less packaging, such as the giant bags of cereal versus the individual bowls.
These are just a few ways I try to reduce, reuse and recycle. What are the ways you do your part?
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