The Forgotten R’s: Reduce and Reuse
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When asked about what you do to lessen your impact on the planet the first thing that will most likely pop into your mind is Recycling. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle is a phrase commonly spoken but seldom implemented correctly. There seems to be a much stronger emphasis on the last of the three steps, recycling, and this may be holding back us as a society from making the environmental progress we are striving to achieve in the time frame that we are looking to achieve it. This weeks blog post is designed to get some eyes on the first two R’s and hopefully draw some attention to the fact that these steps are probably meant to be followed in that order for it to work best.
We asked a few of our coworkers here at ecoSPEARS what they do to live “green”.
“Overconsumption is a real problem I see the world facing today and am actually quite surprised it’s not brought to attention more often. It seems that just about everywhere I look, cheap mass-manufactured products are being pushed off the line, onto shop shelves, and immediately find their way into the trash. As I began to see this more and more frequently, I made a decision to work towards becoming a more conscious shopper. I have recently gotten in the habit of making sure the quality of the item I am purchasing is good quality and that the materials or fabrics come from sustainable sources whenever possible. In my experience, the lower quality items I purchase tends to have a short lifespans, ending up in the bin a lot sooner than those higher quality items.
Next time you buy a product, take a second to think of how it’s made, how many resources it requires, how the worker’s work environment looks like, or how the environment is impacted it. It is really easy to buy something without thinking twice of where it comes from or where it ends up. Shopping at companies such as Patagonia and Eddie Bauer make this process easier by offering lifetime warranties and repairs, all while making major strides to manufacture their products with sustainability in mind.”
“As a kid, I grew up with my mother always reminding me to turn off my lights around the house when no one’s using them or in the room, so it’s something I’m going to work with my kids on practicing too. Small lifestyle choices matter because in the end it’s what leads to the bigger stuff, like a snowball effect. I recently stopped using single use water bottles and switched to a metal reusable one to cut down on intake of one-use plastic or paper cuts and straws.
I can’t tell you how many straws we’ve found littered at the beach just from a couple of our past company beach cleanups! It’s insane to see that amount of litter on the beach and in the ocean.
My wife and I also both drive hybrid vehicles, and we’ve tried to stop using plastic bags altogether when we go shopping. Next time the cashier asks you, “is plastic ok?” Tell them you’d prefer to use paper bags – you can reuse them and they’re way easier to recycle when you’re done with them.”
“I turn down using plastic straws whenever possible and use a reusable glass straw I carry around instead. After participating in the ecoSPEARS beach cleanups, I realized how many plastic pieces – including straws – are washing up on our beaches. I know I’m only one person, and sometimes it is hard to see how I alone can make a difference, but I believe if everyone I knew also took these steps, change would start taking root. Small, simple changes like using reusable bags instead of plastic, when I do my grocery shopping, or opting to make a salad at home instead of buying a pre-made one can initiate change!”
“My parents taught my sister and I from a young age about being conscious of the energy and things we use every day. Sometimes, especially when you’re younger, it’s so easy to not even think about. But as you get older and become more aware of the problems energy and single-use materials cause all over the world, you begin to truly understand that the small things in life matter way more than you’d think. I’ve stopped using plastic bags when shopping altogether – I keep a handful of reusable bags in my car for whenever I go shopping anywhere. Speaking of cars, the first thing I made sure of when I bought my car years ago was that before anything it was fuel-efficient, and my next vehicle is definitely going to be a hybrid if not fully electric.
Staying conscious of the brands and products you buy and use it paramount. Before I buy anything from any new brand or company I haven’t heard much of or don’t know well, I do my research to see what they do from a sustainability standpoint to be eco-friendly in their operations: do their facilities operate on green or renewable energy? Do they have programs to generate awareness or fundraising on environmental issues? Have they managed to cut back their water or fuel usage? That sort of thing, especially when buying clothes. Another big thing I recently got into is composting. So much food waste is throw out in the trash when it can instead be naturally broken down and re-enter the environment like apple cores, banana peels, and egg shells. Nature’s intended state is equilibrium and allowing it to get back to equilibrium requires all of us to do our part and help wherever, whenever, and however we can!”
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Want to know how ecoSPEARS technology can help your PCB-impacted community? Schedule a webinar to learn more about how our solutions can help! Interested in meeting our team? Be on the lookout for ecoSPEARS at these upcoming Trade Shows: AEHS-West March 18th-21st, 2019 DoubleTree Mission Valley San Diego, CA