How do you recycle?
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I love how Small Footprints picks such meaningful ideas for our Change the World Wednesday challenges.
This week is all about recycling and we’ve been asked to share our ideas with a new member of the CTWW gang – Petunia GreenBeans!
Petunia is on a mission to change the world one step at a time and she’s struggling with recycling. She’s struggling with sorting plastics, paper and aluminium and is confused with the plastics codes.
Petunia is asking us to share our own experiences on this important topic and is asking us how we manage it. Check out her post “How do you recycle”
Last year our family accumulated just one carrier bag of landfill waste for the entire year, so as you might have guessed, this is a topic of passion for me!
The first thing to remember is the order of the 3 Rs – we all know they mean Reduce, Reuse, Recycle but few of us realise they are in that order for a reason: Recycling is bottom of the list in terms of sustainability.
Wants and needs
I’d like to add a fourth R – REFUSE or RETHINK if you like. The first thing we do here at Green Towers is ask ourselves if we really need an item before we buy it. It’s amazing how many times we buy on autopilot and don’t bother to separate our wants from our needs.
The million dollar question
If you need something look for the best option – before you buy it ask yourself ” What will I do with this product or packaging after I have finished using it?” If it can be composted, reused or recycled go henceforth to the checkout and part with your hard-earned cash, but if it has to be landfilled leave it on the shelf and look for an alternative – it’s time to vote with your money folks and realise how powerful and influential you are!
The danger with not wanting to put things in landfill is that you become a hoarder. Petunia has already shared that she has enough toilet paper roll binoculars to host a classroom safari, so you have to learn to let go. Sometimes it means throwing something in the bin with the pact that you will do better next time, but for goodness sake don’t hoard stuff because you’ll soon give up in desperation and throw it all away; then you’ll be beating yourself up for failure and there are no failures here…
Something I learned early on was that we had to find a system that worked for us and for us it included the following five steps:
Finding out what we could recycle at kerbside and utilising this facility
Bring bank recycling
Finding out what we could recycle at local bring banks – we only included those that we would pass regularly anyway so that we didn’t make special journeys
separate, labelled containers for everything we could recycle locally at Bring banks – nothing fancy, just a few boxes that we already had at Chez Green in order to keep everything neat and tidy. Have one for paper, one for aluminium, one for plastic bottles – it’s not rocket science here.
Our Recycling Area
Removing the kitchen bin – we realised we were still throwing things away through habit. We removed the bin to make us stop and think “What shall I do with this?”
The mantra ‘There’s no such place as away!’. We all throw things away, but where is “Away?” It’s not some magical place; it’s a landfill site, an incinerator, a ship to China or the bottom of the ocean. When you can’t be bothered to rinse another tin, that image should help keep you on track.
What about you – do you have any tips for Petunia?
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