Do you think 'ahhh, doing some good to the world!' as you stuff your newspapers into the recycling bank?
FANTASTIC! KEEP GOING!
However, I want to challenge you today about your recycling habits. More and more people are recycling in the UK, and that's excellent, but it is time for moving forward and doing more.
"Recycling can be a cop-out for consumers, making us feel justified about buying stuff in excessive packaging." That's what Katherine, writer for Treehugger says. I know what she means - so what if you're doing the norm and recycling your household waste like a good resident? That's not the 21st century point of waste management!
Have you heard of waste minimisation?
It's what comes when you've been recycling happily for a while and have got the hang of it. The idea of this is, yes, recycling your waste wherever possible is great, but not producing the waste in the first place is even better.
Some ideas to get you going...
1. Let's start with an easy one... Choose to use reusable bags when you go shopping. This will reduce the amount of plastic bags created, used, and thrown away. There are some dead trendy reusable bags out there, but your old backpack will work just as well.
2. Try to buy products with less packaging. The coconut, for example, solves shipping problems by having it's own perfectly suitable packaging in the husk, so avoid shrink wrapped coconuts or ones sold in boxes. And if you can't reduce the packaging, try to choose materials whoch are more readily recycled - check with your local Council for info on your area, but most places seem to accept glass, card and paper, and plastic bottles.
Do be aware of packaging myths though - most packaging is there to keep the food fresh and protects it in transport.
3. What to do with old jam jars...? Know someone who's into pickling or making jam? They will welcome your donations.
4. Donate your unwanted but completely fine clothes/furniture/household goods to charity shops. There's a huge market for second hand items, both from the more and less affluent members of society. Not throwing these items in the bin saves them from landfill and puts them to good use. You'll also be helping out a charity - a double 'feel-good' whammy!
5. Cut down on unwanted mail by putting a small sign on your front door politely asking for no more junk mail or free newspapers. This also applies to Junk Mail. Visit MPS ONLINE to register for mail preference services (UK only). You can also register previous addressees and people who have passed away so this mail no longer comes through your letterbox.
6. Use rechargeable batteries to save on disposal of old batteries - but even better, use the mains wherever possible. If you're worried about the old 'leccy bill increasing, copy my cheapskate-ness and charge your phone at work!
There are still some people who don't recycle, but most of us are making the effort. And if you go one step further with waste minimisation ideas, you can start to be aware of how much waste and recycling you're generating and work on reducing it to a more healthy, sustainable level.
Feel that joy in recycling - just try to expand on that and make your world a greener more joyful, self-satisfied place!
If you want to know more, a good place to have a read is “Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson and “Garbology” by Edward Humes. They come well recommended.
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Born To be A Tourist