Recycling - it's great! But you'll notice that we are always going on about "reuse" where possible. And here's why!
You've heard of the three R's of environmental sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. But did you know that they appear in order of importance?
Reducing how much we consume is the most preferred level. Use less stuff! Making a new product requires a lot of materials and energy. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways to save natural resources, protect the environment, and save your pennies.
Reusing is often confused with recycling, but they are really quite different. Reuse lengthens the life of an item. It is accomplished through many different methods, a perfect example of this is developing products that are reusable and long-lived.
Recycling is the reprocessing of an item into a new raw material for use in a new product. Recycling and Composting are ranked lower than Reduction and Reuse because the process can be more energy-intensive and can generate more pollutants. Although of course it is still the preferred alternative to landfilling!
So why is reuse so important? Simply because it confronts the challenges of waste reduction. Reuse accomplishes these goals more effectively than recycling by:
- Taking materials out of the waste stream and results in less hazardous waste
- Reducing the energy used to manufacture an items
- Creating less air and water pollution than making a new item or recycling
- Reducing the strain on valuable resources (e.g. fuel, forests and water supplies, whilst helps safeguarding wildlife habitats)
- Saving on the cost of purchases and disposal
- Creating an affordable supply of quality goods
What you can do!
Reduce! E.g. Print only what's essential, share info electronically instead!
Reuse. Send recyclables to companies that put them back to use, not to companies that take them out of circulation. E.g. Our refillable coffee capsules are the perfect example of this.
Where it's not possible to reduce or reuse, recycle! Raw materials can be used to manufacture new products, saving natural resources, energy and landfill space.