Recycle, Reuse, Repeat
We Americans are particularly blessed with abundance. We live and exist in a land where items are given away and discarded with leisure. We don’t think twice about throwing something away. In fact, we tend to believe we are doing the right thing. I think this has a lot to do with how we were brought up. Remember those “anti-litter” campaigns that various states did when we were younger? They were prolific for a while.
They made quite an impact too. Texas particularly, did a good job with their campaign and had quite noticeable results. It seems like we got control of our litter problem as a nation. Now we live in the age of Recycle and Reuse. For a few years, those terms turned into buzzwords that were hijacked by companies and politicians. This may or may not have cheapened the movement as a whole, but recycling and reusing is nothing new. Our grandparents recycled and reused. They were either poor, or perhaps children (possibly even grandchildren), of the Great Depression.
Yet I think now we live in a different time and place. We understand the importance of recycling and reusing so our landfills are not overburdened and our waste does not destroy the environment. If you distill the concepts down to a single phrase, they become quite simple. When it comes to recycling and reusing, it’s merely a case of being conscientious and not wasting.
I will say/write that again because it bears repeating. When it comes to recycling and reusing, it’s merely a case of being conscientious and not wasting.
When we respect nature by only taking and using what’s needed, we not only lessen our carbon footprint; but stand to save time, money, and energy as well. You see, it is my opinion that we have a duty to be mindful of our natural resources. By resources I simply mean the local resources we rely on and have become accustomed to having as a part of our daily lives.
To that end, Seasonally, I’ll share certain blog topics that will give simple and useful directions on how we can live in harmony with nature. Think of these as idea think tanks. Draw on them for creativity then, turn them into action.
So let’s talk a bit about recycling and conservation by revisiting a blurb from my Facebook and Twitter post last week. In touching on the drought in my home state of California, I mentioned harvesting rain water as a means to water your plants at home; thereby saving drinking water.
Seems like a great idea right? That’s because it is! Rain water is much more beneficial to your plants in terms of nutrients and purity. Some states, particularly Oklahoma and Texas, encourage rainwater harvesting. They view this as an assistance to drought prevention and good citizenship overall. Here is the ironic thing though, some states have outlawed it altogether. That’s right! Utah, Washington, and Colorado make the claim that the rain actually belongs to someone else. Rain that would normally run off into their very valuable streams and rivers is essentially “hijacked” by people using rain barrels.
Now it is not my place to offer an opinion on those state laws, but I do feel it is my duty to keep you informed. Remember what I said earlier about being conscientious and not wasting? Checking up on your local recycling and/or rainwater harvesting laws certainly falls into the “conscientious” part. The last thing you want to do is go off on a recycling kick and end up with a hefty fine! Yet, with a little research, you can come up with ways to conserve resources in your area that are legal, and in some cases actually encouraged with various tax benefits. I really believe we can move the needle on conservation if we all just do our own small part every day.
Recycling Begins with Awareness
If necessity is the mother of invention, then recycling is the mother of conscientiousness. Can you tell that recycling is another thing I am quite passionate about? The truth is, I reuse as often as I can. Take for instance my flight this past weekend. The flight attendant gave me a small white insulated coffee cup, as well as two small white napkins. They give away napkins every time they give you anything when you’re flying. Despite her asking me twice if I would like to have them thrown away I kept them and look forward to reusing them during my weekend travel. It’s a small thing, but I do make sure that I either use, or recycle them, because I genuinely believe it makes a difference.
In fact, every thing I can do makes a difference. In 2014 I established the “Hassan Household Bottled Water Ban”. Quite simply, I made the decision to stop purchasing bottled water. Our family of five was going through at least one case of bottled water per week. That is a lot of empty plastic bottles being made, shipped, and sold to either clog up a landfill or recycling center. We have since switched to reusable glass jars , formerly sold to us filled with spaghetti sauce (yes, I recycle everything I can at home), as well as canteens, or water bottles like the one pictured below.
It really is not hard to refill a water bottle, and we all rest easier at night knowing that 1,248 plastic bottles are not going to a landfill, or causing me or the garbage man to drive across town and recycle them for pennies on the dollar at the recycling plant. Again, it’s all about doing your part to make society more sustainable or “green”.
Just look around and you will see many other people already involved in the Green Movement. Conversation is where it’s at! The folks who made my little insulated coffee cup on that flight are doing their part to create a sustainable environment. A quick survey of our modern and savvy society will show you that many of us are making a difference. For example, did you know that Walmart now sells organic produce? This is because people like you and me demanded it and then, supported it. Walmart didn’t want stores like Whole Foods to be the only spot in town and so… you get the point. The more of these types of things we do, the more sustainable our society will become. The Green Movement will turn into a societal norm. You have to understand this is not just about preserving the world for our children and grandchildren. This is about paying it forward for generations we will never meet.