Recycling is great, but not good enough [ARTICLE]

Author: T. Hungate, Volunteer Author

Recycling is great, but not good enough

Recycling has been around for quite some time now, and it has begun to catch on and in some cases gain momentum. This is a good thing, and one that is much needed; however, it only takes a little research to come to the conclusion that recycling alone will not solve our problems. Almost everyone has heard the adage “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, it is presented that way because they are actually in order from most to least impactful. While recycling aids in reducing the amount of recyclable waste that makes its way into landfills it does nothing to eliminate the use of non-recyclable materials, or their reuse. In actuality reducing the waste we produce in general is by far the most impactful way to ensure that we start to make a turn for the better and safe our depleting resources, with an overall goal of becoming a “Zero Waste” society.

Transitioning to a zero waste society is not something anyone person, organization, community or country and do on its own. To truly achieve this goal we must personally reduce the amount that we consume while also shifting to consume only those products and services that are optimized to reduce waste. This calls for a change in engineering, design and manufacturing methods and technologies which will only occur if and when we start to demand them. Whenever possible choose to buy goods that are not packaged at all, and only using the blue recycling bin as a last resort.

We have also become a society that would rather replace something than attempt to or have it fixed. This has resulted in a diminishing number of skilled repair technicians and craftsmen and more and more repairable items being tossed out. This is especially true for electronics, we have become more and more dependent on electronic devices in our everyday lives and when they fail us, we tend to get the latest and greatest to replace them. In many cases your devices can be repaired for a reasonable price if you are willing to do some research and shop around.

So what can you do to help?

Well, start by getting smart on what options are available to you. Know where and how to reduce the amount of waste you produce, search online for ways to creatively reuse items and lastly know what you can and cannot recycle. Once you are armed with this knowledge you can start to identify the easy or quick changes you can make, such as having reusable grocery bags in all of your vehicles, and purchasing a water filtration system. These are just a couple of quick and easy things that you can do that will greatly reduce waste.

Resources are not in short supply!!!! The internet brings all you could ever want to know to your fingertips. Whether you choose to Google, use social media, or take online classes, the amount of information readily available is unmeasurable.