Focus on Reducing for Earth Day
By Patte Smith; courtesy photo
Reduce, reuse and recycle … it’s the mantra for Earth Day and all through the year. While these three words sound similar, they are nuanced by behavior and the ultimate impact they have on the planet.
Reduce is perhaps the most challenging, as it requires a shift in psychology and not just a change in behavior. It is imploring consumers to actually cut back on their consumption. Ask yourself, “Do I really need that twin-pack of new water bottles from Costco when I have 10 water bottles already in my kitchen cabinets,” or “Do I really need this, or is this just a purchase on a whim?” More often than not, the answer is no. Reducing consumption could be the most powerful way to impact our community and our planet in a positive way.
Reuse is a more widely acted upon behavior, likely because it makes us feel good when we do it and we can see a tangible positive impact that it has on others. Whether selling the items at a community garage sale (see E Guide insert page 28) or an online marketplace like Craigslist, you know that whoever is receiving the item actually wants it and will put it to use. This makes us feel good, and we gain some tangible value as well. As a last resort, donate the items to any of the many nonprofit organizations in the community, keeping in mind that some organizations only keep the “good stuff” and they dispose of the rest. The awareness that when we throw things away they go straight to the landfill is not rewarding.
Recycle is sort of a last resort if a consumer can’t find a way to reduce or reuse an item. It is how we dispose of items that can be repurposed and made into something new – think bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, etc. Waste Management provides a few great recycling reminders on its website: Keep food and liquid out of recycling bins and no loose plastic bags or bagged items – including newspapers wrapped in plastic bags.
At the end of the day, week, year, decade, century … the small steps we take now in reducing, reusing and recycling can have a positive impact on our future and those generations that follow.
For more information about 2022 Earth Day, visit www.earthday.org/earth-day-2022/.