Many would argue that recycling all we use is a huge benefit to this planet, but is it the solution to our sky rocketing consumption?
For many of the more adamant recyclers among us, recycling is a moral duty and the cost is not relevant. But when you look at the true cost: collecting the recyclables, transporting them to a central facility, sorting, cleaning and repackaging everything, and then shipping it off to a commodity market, you often end up with a product that not only costs more than the virgin materials but uses much more of our natural resources (from water to energy) in the tedious process. So what is the solution?
There are easy steps that each of us should take to reduce our use of natural resources.
- Turn off the lights when you aren’t in a room. Turn off the water while you shave or brush your teeth. Take shorter showers; most of us don’t need to shower every day. (We certainly didn’t when I was growing up.)
- Drive less; it’s healthier to take a bike or walk; drive more fuel efficient vehicles. Just because the price of gas has dropped doesn’t mean there is more gasoline.
- Use your own bags when shopping. When you’re going out to eat, bring your own containers. Don’t buy bottled water. Avoid the use of disposable plates, napkins and silverware whenever possible.
- Do your shopping and recycling at the thrift shop whenever possible. (One man’s junk is another’s treasure.) I found a brand new suit at a thrift store for $25 and I’ve worn it to two weddings.
- Don’t pitch anything that may have a value to someone else. Use freecycle or craigslist to avoid throwing away commodities that you might consider worthless. (When I posted a partial gallon of paint on freecycle, I had three phone calls in 15 minutes and it was gone the same day.) I could have simply thrown it away.