Reduce, Reuse, Recycle …

Most of us are familiar with these 3 R’s of minimizing waste. Just now on the Sustainable Living & Alternative Health radio show on WMNF (Tampa FL), I heard two more R’s: REFUSE; and RETHINK. (As in Refuse disposable plastic bags at the supermarket checkout. And, further upstream, Rethink the whole design of things including the flow from production to disposal, so we “close the loop” and stop producing “waste”.) Ideally we humans will come around to eliminating entirely the concept of “waste,” since in nature everything is a resource.

One trick I’ve been doing lately with the recycling is to not put the bin out for collection every week unless it gets full (which it rarely does that quickly unless I have a party). By keeping it around for a couple or three weeks, I give myself a “reuse buffer” — an opportunity to retrieve containers that I end up thinking of a use for. One housemate’s microwave food containers ended up getting upcycled into caddies for art supplies and toiletries. Sometimes I’ve ended up using takeout dishes to mix paint.

The Sustainable Living & Alternative Health radio show airs every Monday from 10:00-11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. It’s actually two different shows, on alternating Mondays. Today is a Sustainable Living day. The show is superb and I recommend it to greenminded people everywhere who really want to push the envelope of what it means to be sustainable. You can listen to a recording of today’s show and other past shows; I believe they leave them up on the website for about a month. Several of my permaculture colleagues were on today, and they did an outstanding job conveying the essence of permaculture design and the permaculture movement.