The 3 R’s: 2 effortless green habits & 1 false myth

By Silvia Di Felice

The arrival of the climate change movements has brought a mantra we all heard about: “Reduce, reuse and recycle“. We became conscious of how our lifestyle is not sustainable. So, we learned that reducing means decreasing the amount of waste we produce. 

We understood that reusing means using our goods more than once. And, we recognised that recycling means giving new life to old products. Unfortunately, statistics say that the global effort put into these healthy habits is too little and the measurements taken by governments and institutions are not successfully minimising the waste issue.

It has to be said that the mantra we introduced is partly based on a false myth. There is a misconception that we can completely destroy our rubbish, while in reality we can only transform its material status. We keep producing goods that can last forever.

Did you know that less than 10% of plastic gets recycled in the end? The rest gets dumped in the environment to “never” biodegrade. Things aren’t looking brighter for the waste reduction matter.

Judging by the amount of waste being dumped in the environment, we are proceeding at a speed of about 5,000,000 tonnes being discharged every day, according to The World Counts.

If recycling isn’t “real”, our power sits with waste-reduction and reuse practices. However, the reuse approach we adopt with goods is too often dictated by trends instead of their factual life span. This is why our first step in becoming environmentally conscious should consist in acknowledging how we are strongly influenced by marketing campaigns in all their forms. 

Following research commissioned by Ladder, conducted by OnePoll, a person can spend 14,767 euro a year on unnecessary items. The good news is, the internet is here to help you transform old items into things you will love and cherish.

There are plenty of platforms where it’s possible to learn to upcycle that will let us embrace the reduce, reuse and recycle mantra without causing major changes to our living habits. 

There are general guidelines to follow:

  • Take good care and protect all your goods so they last. Donate or have a yard/garden sale for the items you no longer need.
  • Before buying something, ask yourself if you really need it.
  • Purchase items that have been made with recycled material.
  • Turn off lights and save energy as much as possible.
  • Sustainably use rechargeable items.
  • When buying new, give priority to reusable materials and items.
  • Buy goods at local shops and buy in bulk.
  • Avoid overconsumption when possible, print less. 
  • Make your compost; up to 25% of your waste can be added to compost and you don’t need to have a garden, according to Nature.org.
  • Volunteer to help clean up areas in your community. It will be beneficial for the people and animals living there.

 

Some of the upcycling ideas published on the web are brilliant hacks with therapeutic effects and artistic results that definitely deserve your time and attention. Here are some examples:

  • Turning a vintage suitcase into a chair or a tea table.
  • Transforming an old ladder into a bookshelf.
  • Turning hats into lamps;
  • Transforming tennis rackets into mirrors;
  • Turning a glove into a chipmunk;

 

The “Reduce, reuse and recycle” mantra is made of small precautions that will help you save money while reducing your impact on the planet. Once you have learned new hacks, share them with other people. 

Educate your family members and friends and let them see the benefits of adopting healthy habits. The environment is not our bin and we must act now. Reducing waste must be our first priority. Let’s join forces and be part of the solution.

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