ECO Alphabet: Week 18: 4 R's
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
4 R's? In school I only learned 3... Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle... What's the 4th?
REFUSE! The most important R!
Add these rules to your everyday life.
Leading an eco-friendly lifestyle is contagious! Once you begin to follow these steps, your friends and family will become more aware and begin to follow in your footsteps!
One can become many!
This is the #1 way you are going to make a difference!
In school you learned about supply and demand, right? Well, if we, as customers, do not demand plastic products, the producers will not supply it.
It sounds pretty simple. But, it can't happen if only a smaller part of the population is refusing unsustainable products...
Try to become more aware of what you don't actually need to live. Say no to plastic straws, cups, utensils, bags, etc. Paper products are better than plastic because they will biodegrade, but using reusable products is much more sustainable (see below).
This is step #2. Try to reduce what you consume.
Buy in bulk. But, wait? Isn't bulk more? Well, yes...BUT, it has less packaging!
For example, instead of buying a pack of yogurt cups, buy one big yogurt and serve yourself into small reusable containers for work or school. Or, instead of buying
individual Gatorade, buy the big gallon of Gatorade, and put your serving into a reusable cup or water bottle!
This practice will take a bit of getting used to, but it might be one of the easiest things I ask you to do.
*Plus, when you buy bulk you get more for your penny! Just check out the tag on the shelf to see the unit price: how much you're paying per oz/lb.
Step #3 and what I think is the second most important tip!
Reusable products are basically anything you can continue to reuse for 2+ years, unless you brake it first. The importance of these products is that it replaces those that you would throw away right after consumption: single use products.
This can range from reusable water bottles, coffee cups, to-go boxes, straws, bags, and more! It may seem somewhat expensive to get these products in the first place.
Plastic water bottles are on average $2 each. The average person uses 167 water bottles per year... That is $334 per year for water. If you buy a $20 metal water bottle, you will save $314 per year!! (Click here to see more about how to save money and save the planet)
It's not just about the money, it's really about how we're helping the planet! But, it sure is some good motivation!
There has always been this romanticism about recycling....like it's going to fix all of our problems. And because it is so easy, it's become common knowledge that "if you recycle you'll save the planet"...
FALSE! No! Recycling is our last case scenario... We want to do everything in our power to not even have to recycle or use our trash can! In today's day and age we WILL have to recycle or throw things away.. but the goal is to Refuse, Reduce, and Reuse!
Make sure that you know what you can or can't put in your recycling bin. If you put something wrong in, it is possible for your whole bin to be sent to the landfill... To find out what NOT to put in your recycling bin, click here!