Is it time to Rethink “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”?

We can thank the environmental movements of the 1970s for the catchy “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” slogan. It is important to realize that while these events led to the creation of the EPA in the United States, and the founding of Earth Day, society has remained in the cycle of consumerism.

Reduce Reuse Recycle for a sustainable future

The following concepts can be applied to almost any type of item that creates waste from textiles to electronics, food to paper.

Rethink


The first step is to stop and rethink.
Do you really need it that item?
Can you change the way you shop in an effort to reduce waste?
Can you borrow the item?
Have you thought about the whole life cycle of the product?
What goes into making the item?
Where does the item end up in the world?

Refuse

Avoid buying products like single use plastic and that use excessive packaging.

Reduce

If you are not able to refuse, reducing your usage of waste-producing goods is the next step. This is the first “R” in the traditional “reduce, reuse, recycle” model.

Reuse and Repair

Simply stated, when you reuse or repair item for it’s intended purpose instead of rushing out to replace it you avoid the waste of the original product and the waste generated from obtaining the replacement.

Some of the most well known reusable items include shopping bags, cloth napkins and paper towels, reusable coffee pods … just a few of the numerous items that can replace single-use and disposable items.

Re-purpose

Similar to reusing, re-purposing uses the item for a different purpose. It can be something as simple as using an old metal bucket for a flower pot. The possibilities are endless!

Rot

If possible, compost organic matter as it creates methane gas in landfills. In my city, we are fortunate enough to have a city-wide composting program available. However, apartment complex landlords are not required to offer this service, especially when they opt for the dumpster instead of the bins.

Recycle

Check with your municipality, town or city for your specific regulations. Many retailers offer basic e-waste recycling. Be careful when buying items that you don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because something is recyclable that it’s free of consequences. While it’s great that an item can be diverted from the landfill, it doesn’t always end up being recycled. As consumers, we get tricked into buying more of an item and made not to feel bad because we think once it hits the recycling bin that the story is over.

In conclusion, the bottom line is that recycling should be the last step.
When teaching and talking about the three basic R’s, the other R’s -to rethink, to refuse, to re-purpose, to repair, and to rot – are important additions to the standard Reduce, Reuse, Recycle everyone knows.

It starts with rethinking your habits and considering the whole life cycle of the product.

reduce reuse recycle can we do more to be sustainable

Global Day of Climate Action || Sept 25 2020 ||

Friday September 25th 2020 marks the Global Day of Climate Action.
Organised by Fridays for Future, global climate strike movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate. The goal is to put moral pressure on policymakers so that they will listen to the scientists and then to take forceful action to limit global warming. Policymakers are in the best position to create the rules and regulations that can impact the future of the planet.

Global Day of Climate Action

Last year, we marched to Parliament in Ottawa, the capital of Canada to demand action from our government.


This year, the Global Day of Climate Action may look a little differently thanks to COVID-19 and regional restrictions that have been put in place.

Why we need to take action

The average global temperature is about 1° C warmer than what it was during the pre-industrial levels. The 2018 IPCC report showed that we may reach the 1.5° C threshold by 2030 — less than 10 years from now! It may not sound like a huge increase, but it is the difference between life and death for thousands of people.
The rising temperatures relate with an increase greenhouse gas emissions and recorded levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and in ice core samples. The temperature increase also correlates with our burning of fossil fuels.

Take Action : Strike

Check the Fridays for Future map to see if there are any strikes in your area. If there aren’t any in your area, you can organise an event and have it listed on their map. When organising a strike, protest, or march in your area, be sure to follow all local guidelines and COVID-19 safety measures.

Unable to Physically Strike for Global Day of Climate Action?

You can still participate.
Get creative and do your part.

Make signs or posters and post to social media.
Stage a mini protest before school or during lunch by standing outside with a sign if your school will allow you with the current COVID regulations. I know this wouldn’t be possible at my child’s Jr High.
Wear a ribbon to show your support. Blue for the ocean planet, green for the forest planet… or maybe both. Since masks are required in most places, you can write a message on a mask to show your support.

Our Time to Rise Climate Action

Be sure to share your Global Day of Climate Action achievements online with the #FridaysForFuture and #ClimateStrike hashtags.


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