The recycling brainwash

Reuse comes before recycle

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The majority of people, and especially our governments, appear to know only one of the words that make up the “3 Rs” and that seems to the the word “recycle”. Reduce and reuse do not even seem to be in their vocabulary proper, at least not in their waste management one.

Even a great many, if not, once again, the majority, of the people in the “green movement”, or so at least it would appear, too do not seem to be able to think reuse and upcycle despite the many articles in all kinds of publications speak of it. At least they seem to be unable to think to do it themselves.

It is really amazing how many people just cannot think in the way that our parents and grandparents and their parents thought when, for instance, it comes to tin cans, glass jars, shoe boxes, cookie tins, and other such things.

Time and again one encounters a “green” person who will clean a tin can prior to disposing off it into the recycling bin (as we used to be told to do; the cleaning of the can, that is) and then goes to the stores and spend seven bucks or so on a “recycled” steel pencil bin. What was wrong with using the previously tossed out clean tin can for this? Nothing, just thinking of it they cannot.

Or they throw out some nice size glass jars into the glass recycling and then they pop into the shops and buy themselves a set of two “recycled” glass storage jars for just under twenty dollars. Those that they sent for recycling would have served the same purpose for free.

Aside from saving themselves money reusing items is also much better for the Planet than sending stuff to be recycled.

Think of the environmental footprint associated with with taking things to the recycling banks and -stations – if you do not happen to have kerbside recycling pickups – then the various trucking journeys of the bits before they even get to the recycling plant. Then comes the the energy and water needed to do the actual conversion into “new”. It all adds up.

But we have been so brainwashed to be thinking recycle only despite the fact that the message on every poster, in every advert, is “reduce, reuse, recycle”.

Remember “reuse” comes before “recycle” in the “3 Rs” and the more we reuse the less impact on our finances and especially on the Planet.

© 2012