Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cliffnotes version of The 'R' Cycle

In Elementary school you learn to find the key elements of an essay: who, what, where, when, how, and why.

Here are the main elements of the 'R' Cycle:

Who: Everyone. 

What: Actually, everything.  Ok, well, everything that is a physical product or item, and I'm not talking skirt length.  I'm talking about the amount of items one buys.  Many items are now recyclable, but choosing items made from natural elements (like metal or wood) are better than the plastic equivalent is better any day.

Where: In your home, office, car, garage, closet etc.  Currently, you don't have to apply these to internet space, but maybe in the future you will (however, data storage is becoming more efficient and environmentally friendly so buy that extra e-book on gardening!).
There are locations specifically for recycling many different types of materials from plastics, metals, appliances, electronics, and toxic chemicals like paint or car oil.  All one has to do to find these local sites is to search it in a search engine or just ask your local government.

When: NOW and in the future.  In all aspects of your daily life.

How: Start with a small easy item that you buy or use somewhat regularly.  Take a second to think about how much you will use, the alternatives and the actual need of the item.  Do you really need that extra cup or cardboard coffee sleeve when you buy your morning latte?  How about that extra top or pair of shoes?  Even food choices can be viewed in the same way.  Do you need individual packets of cheese or ketcup?  Will you use all of those napkins?  From there you can start applying it to other parts of your daily consumption like having a reusable water bottle versus buying a case of plastic water bottles.  The ways to reduce, reuse and lastly recycle items is rather endless if you take a second to think about it.

Why: This is probably the biggest driving force to implement the 'R' cycle in your own life.  Why does someone change their behavior to live the Cycle?  Some do it to have a small carbon footprint or have a low environmental impact on the the earth.  Other people do it save money.  Still others do it because they just don't have the storage room in their living situation. 

The main reasons people follow the Cycle:
  • Decrease the amount of toxins, waste and pollution produced
  • Save natural resources and energy
  • Decrease their carbon footprint
  • Increase health
  • Save money, and even earn some extra cash
  • Save space
  • Stay more organized with less clutter
The why is a personal reason that varies from person to person.  Some people live 'The Simple Life' mentality which is the extreme end of the Cycle while others try to incorporate the basics into their lives the best they can.  As long as one honestly tries to apply the 'R' Cycle in their daily lives, the planet has a brighter future.

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