You’ve heard the saying: reduce, reuse, recycle. And I’m here to break it down for you. As I have shifted myself to a more conscious consumer, I constantly think about these three little words.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. Did you know that they are in that order for a reason? It shows us the best option first, then leads us down the line to less effective means of reducing our waste.
In this three part series, I will break down what each word means to me, as well as give tips that I have personally learned on my journey to consciously consumer. So let’s take a closer look:
This is probably the most famous brother of the three R’s. And there’s a reason. It gives humans an excuse to still consume astronomical amounts with the reasoning that it’s “going to be recycled”. Yes, I understand the benefits of recycling, but it is often misunderstood. It’s a band-aid approach to the amount of waste that we are producing on this Earth. But I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer… If it comes down to recycling (it’s the last of the three), then make sure to do it correctly. Check out my tips below:
My Recycling Tips:
Get To Know What Can Be Recycled
Having lived in three different states with very different ideas of recycling, I have learned that you have to research what you can throw in that little blue bin. Oregon has the bottle deposits (I made my fair share of money from beer cans after parties, and I’m not ashamed), while our neighborhood in Salt Lake only has pickup recycling for cardboard, paper, and aluminum. Not sure about your area? Research your local places to recycle here: https://www.how2recycle.info/check-locally
Clean, clean, clean
RECYCLING UNITS ARE NOT GARBAGES. Please please please rinse out items because sometimes it can affect the whole shipment if a couple items are not cleaned. I usually rinse and dry glass and plastic bottles (that I haven’t saved to reuse), as well as inspect cardboard and paper. If the paper goods are dirty in any way, then I usually just trash them (yes, this means pizza boxes with grease shouldn’t be recycled).
Sort It Out
Depending on how your city recycles, you will most likely have to sort out your items. Note that clear and green glass (I should probably just say wine bottles) are usually separated, as well as different kinds of plastics and paper. Sorting properly can help ensure that the bin will be able to get recycled.
Dont’ Rely On Recycling
As mentioned above, recycling should be a last resort. Steps should be made to reduce and reuse items as much as possible before recycling.
One of my favorite things about living in this day and age, is that people are constantly innovating to be eco-friendly, and this means products. These companies understand that we, as a society, are still materialistic. They are able to satisfy this need, while also advocating for eco-conscious processes by creating goods from recycled plastic, glass, and metal.
One of my favorite examples is girlfriend collective. They create the most gorgeous, minimalistic workout gear….all from plastic waste.. Check out their items here and get $10 off your first purchase here: https://www.girlfriend.com/.
Check out other brands that are reducing, reusing, and recycling:
There’s seriously so many more companies…. But it all comes down to conscious consuming. If you get anything out of this three part series, I hope that it’s just to think more. While you may not significantly cut down on your waste, know that taking the first step to thinking about the waste you are producing is a good step. And remember, Anne Marie Bonneau said it best:
Your full-time plant eater: