Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reuse It or Lose It!

Photo credit: National Recycling Coaltion

Uncle Ben, from the movie "Accepted," might have said it best:
Look, we throw a lot of fancy words in front of these kids in order to attract them to going to school in the belief that they're gonna have a better life, and we know that all we're doing is breeding a whole new generation of buyers and sellers, BUYERS AND SELLERS! Pimps and whores, PIMPS AND WHORES! and indoctrinating them into a life long hell of debt and indecision!
We like THINGS. We like to buy them, we like to have them, we like to look at them sit on our shelves (or in our drawers, in my case) and watch them gather dust. I'm just of guilty of it as anyone else. We're a nation of consumers, and consuming is what we do best.

Unfortunately, that mass consumption we're so good at isn't so great for Mother Earth. If you don't understand what I mean, watch the video "The Story of Stuff" that I uploaded in the previous post.

So how can we still feed our addiction to consuming without breaking the bank and more importantly, the environment?

My Mom is renting an apartment in Meadville for the summer (she just can't stay away from this place!) And, instead of going to Big Lots or Wal-Mart and buying a whole new set of dishes and housewares, she did all of her shopping at the various Salvation Army, Goodwill and other thrift stores around Meadville. She bought just about everything she needed to live in her apartment for the summer for about $20. And, on top of the fact that it was super cheap, it's also all reused! Score for Mom Goloway and Mom Earth!

When she goes back home to Pittsburgh at the end of the summer, she has full intentions of recycling her reusables by donating them to my lovely house (add "score for Jinnie!") or donating them right back to the places she got them from in the first place. On top of the obvious environmental benefits, there's also the fact that you're helping local charities AND supporting local businesses!

We're obviously going to buy things. We're college students, and that's what we've been raised to do. Instead of telling you to stop shopping (hell, I couldn't tell you to do something I couldn't do myself!) be conscious of how much you buy (buy used things if you can!) and whether or not you actually need it. Again, Uncle Ben says it best, "In life, it's important to distinguish between need and want. You think you want something because you've been conditioned to want it." And if you don't get that, then... "Listen you insolent little snot! There are kids right now in Asia, who are sewing your stupid shoes together, so that their family can have a bowl of rice to eat tonight!"

Chew on THAT for a minute before you make your next purchase at Wal-Mart!

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