Saturday, 27 January 2007

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

These words are everywhere these days as it becomes fashionable to show a degree of "greeness". The words are listed in order of the importance that each activity has on the environment but in realilty people are looking at them in reverse order.

Recycling is something that many people now do as a matter of course, separating the newspapers and glass bottles etc from the landfill rubbish and taking excess clothing to charity shops. For a lot of people that is as far as it goes.

Reuse is practised by a smaller number of people. Some shops offer a refil service for products such as washing up liquid so that you can re-use the original container many times but it is not a very widespread practice. Some items may be reused within the home like jam jars but generally once an item is used it is thrown out.

Reduce may be the word that occurs first on the list but it seems to be ignored. Reduce could be practised in many areas, fossil fuel use, clothing purchase, things bought for the house but its a message that just doesn't seem to be getting across. Perhaps it is because "reduce" is not doing something, not buying something,that it doesn't seem so attractive as actually doing something eg recycling. May be it is because reducing seems a bit like doing without and if we are to some extent judged by what we own then having less seems like failure.
While views like these are widespread the chance of reducing our impact on the earth in the near future is small indeed. The real challenge it seems is to try to get across the positive side of reducing, the less you have - the less you have to maintain and the less hours that have to be worked to pay for that maintenance.

If this post seems to be a bit moaning its because I've been shopping today and the sheer volume of unneccesary items seemed depressing.


turnip said...

I still can't believe the sheer volume of crap I have hauled out of my house recently that is so unnecessary. I find my life is much easier and more peaceful without so much stuff. It is very hard to convince people of this. So many people I know "can't live without" such and such - usually very frivolous things that are just a headache in my opinion! My in-laws just bought a brand new car...because it was a "need" - yet the car payment, on top of paying for and replacing all of their other material "needs" is becoming a burden, but they are still convinced of the "necessity" of it all.

the flour loft said...

Hi , have already commented today after having discovered your blog, and now am reading through i just had to comment on this. You are so right.. that reduce is the key to lessening impact. We really need very little to live... enough for food, warmth , health and love. We clog our lives up with so many 'things'. Your blog has given me food for thought. thank you
ginny x