The Three R’s - reduce, reuse, recycle
Part One: Reducing the Avalanche of Trash
Several years ago I was working in my kitchen and my brother asked me what to do with
an empty package. I said to throw it away. I remember him asking, “Away where?”
That question made me think about where do the things that we throw away end up.
The average American generates about 1 lb. of waste every day. (Is it Really Green p.19),
the vast majority of which ends up in a landfill. At best 35% of our waste is recycled.
The most impactful thing we can do to lessen the avalanche of waste is to reduce our
consumption. In our consumer culture this is not easy to do, but even minor changes
can add up over time. When we buy new products we are using a lot of resources, both in the manufacture of
the product and its packaging and in the energy used for its transportation. Being
mindful about what we buy can help us reduce our consumption. Before buying any
new item ask yourself the following questions:
Do I need this or can something I already own serve the purpose?
Can I repair an item that I am thinking about replacing?
Will I be able to use this item for good long time?
Can I buy a used product that will serve the same need?
What will I do with it when I am finished using it?