So, we've all heard of the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. They're practically plastered all over everything these days. Recycling is a great first step, and it's something we can all do without having to think too hard (because let's face it, once we're done with homework and classes, about all we want to do is eat, sleep, and stare in to space, and maybe hang out with a few friends.) And I'm definitely an advocate of recycling. But reusing, and even more so REDUCING, makes an even bigger impact.
Something I didn't really even realize until I started seeing it mentioned in a few different articles is something called "down-cycling." Although it sounds like a fun activity involving a bike and a very large hill, it's not, I swear. Basically, when you recycle that plastic water bottle (didn't you buy that reusable Sigg yet...?) it can't be made into another plastic water bottle. Because there are so many different kinds of plastic, it's harder to sort, and because it's not as durable as something like, for example, glass, it becomes a lower grade of plastic when it gets recycled. And a lot of those recycled plastic products can't be recycled again. You know those weird colored park benches made out of that funny looking material (okay, maybe I just think they're weird colors and funny looking?) Yeah, a lot of those are recycled benches. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about a nice park bench, but reducing how much we consume is probably a better option in the long run. (Imagine: a world overrun by recycled park benches because we all insist on continuing to drink out of those annoying plastic bottles because we claim to recycle them after we're done with them. Not my idea of Utopia.)
When we consume less, less ends up in landfills, and less energy is used to convert materials back into something useful.
So, reducing what we consume is starting to sound like a better idea, eh? My thoughts exactly. And when we do buy things, like that water bottle I've been relentlessly pushing you to buy for the last two posts, at least they're things that are going to last a while and not just get tossed out with next week's recycling, or even worse, the trash! *GASP* (I just had to get a new Sigg water bottle on Amazon because someone STOLE mine from my house last week. Although, I guess if you're going to steal something from me, I'm glad you chose to be eco-friendly, but whoever you are, you're not invited back. It's still a little bit of a sore subject, just ask my housemates.)
Anyways, REDUCE whenever possible (did you really go to Wal-Mart to buy that or are you just buying it because you can?) REUSE when you have to consume (even those annoying plastic water bottles are good for a few uses) and RECYCLE as much as you can (the moral of this story: stick to cans and bottles of beer instead of plastic party cups!)
I'm off to fill up my brand new water bottle and gather the recycling bins that are still on the curb from last night's collection!