Reduce and Reuse Before Recycling

Recycling is good.  However, recycling does not mitigate damage to the environment caused by over-consumption.   It merely helps to reduce the effects by keeping some trash out of the landfill and providing some earth-friendly raw materials.  In fact, recycling our waste is an expensive process that is not environmentally benign. Recycling is the last part of the equation.  The recycling symbol, that we have all come to know, tells us to reduce first, reuse second and recycle the rest.

We thought we'd share a few real-life reminders about how we reduce and reuse:

The obvious first step in reducing consumption, and its impact on the planet, is to ask ourselves, before making a purchase, “Do I really want or need this?”  Another question can be, “Can I borrow the item instead of purchasing?  If it is something we need/want to purchase, we try to choose the one that will last …the one that we can lend to others or re-sell ...the one that will not need to be replaced before we stop wanting or needing it.

Another way to reduce our impact/consumption is to consider packaging.  Bringing our own bags to shops and choosing the food or products that are not excessively packaged are practical ways to reduce environmental impact.  We try to just say “No thank you,” to any utensils, napkins and straws that we will not actually use.  Remembering this is hard, so we say "Thank you" to the server or cashier who has remembered to ask before loading us up with disposables.  Packaging reduction is just one more reason why joining a CSA farm or buying from a local farmers’ market is good.

Of course, buying/finding and selling/donating secondhand goods is a great way to re-use.   My daughters recently created and installed a Little Free Library in their neighborhood.  


Most neighborhoods are OK with “free” piles out by the road, if kept neat and not left too long.  Many recycling centers have a “still good” area for taking and leaving useful items. 

Read our previous blog post for some great reasons to consign some of the better items that you no longer need.  Looking for the beauty in someone else’s “trash” is creative, fun and good for the planet.

You can enter to win a $20 gift card by using #mcfinds in any Instagram post that includes stuff you bought at M&C!



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