Reduce, re-use, recycle

Friday, July 17, 2009

We live in a throw-away society. We're wasteful. Not just on an individual level, but on a global scale as well. Our lifestyle is not sustainable in terms of the world's resources we consume.

We must all change our lifestyles to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Although we may think we can't make a difference individually, small steps taken on an individual level can and do make a difference. We must each do our own small part to minimize the waste and excess consumption in our society. Change is possible... indeed, it's absolutely necessary.

One of the most challenging aspects of taking steps in this direction is the constant bombardment from the media... the non-stop stream of powerful advertising attempting to convince us that we need the latest and greatest gadgets, toys, electronics, cars, and on and on. It's a powerful and extremely effective influence.

And it seems that, unfortunately, a lot of people are too lazy and/or simply don't think about the fact that something that they are throwing away could be used and appreciated by someone else. Nor do they think about the landfill being filled up by perfectly good and useful items.

What can you do? Take some of these steps:

*Turn off

Break free of commercials by limiting your exposure to them... and if you have children, this is even more important. Setting the right example becomes paramount in teaching the next generation that it is not necessary to have the newest, most recent model of everything!

*Take a critical look

What are you throwing away? Get in the habit of looking critically at all of your household waste. Is it really garbage? Can it be used by someone else? Can you compost your wet garbage? Are you recycling everything that is possible to recycle? Some charities will pick up unwanted clothing and household items. Check for charities that offer this service in your area. Taking this simple step would see items such as stuffed toys (we've seen full boxes of perfectly good ones at the dump - some brand new with the tags still on), other toys, bikes, folding chairs, lamps, tables, furniture, and much more, put to good use.

*Challenge each other

Families can get together and set up challenges to minimize waste. At the office, organize a waste awareness day. Get your boss involved... or if you are the boss, you set the tone. Even neighborhoods can activate to increase awareness.

These are just a few suggestions to start the creative juices flowing. Each one of us must start taking individual responsibility to reduce the resource footprint on our fragile planet. Reducing our personal waste by limiting thoughtless consumerism, and through reuse and recycling are vital actions we should all take.