Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Were all familiar with the phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The emphasis has been on recycling. Certainly recycling is an important program and all of us should participate to the maximum extent possible. However, we don't put enough emphasis on reducing the waste we generate and reusing products before they are put into the trash.

Jim Miller of the Rolling Plains Journal blog posted a link on Facebook to showing a video of plastics recycling. The video shows why this is an area where we need to improve. Recycling plastic is indeed important, but just look when you're watching the video notice just how much water people and energy goes into recycling those plastic bottles.

I used to take the plastic bottles that I did have and refill them with tap water so I would not have to throw them away. However, I was told that carcinogens leach out of the bottles when they are reused and sure enough that is the case so you can't reuse any plastic containers that were used for food unless they are specifically identified for that purpose.

If that is the case, our best option for eliminating plastics from the landfill is not to recycle plastic but to reduce to the extent possible the amount of plastic that we use. There are many products in the grocery store that used to come in glass containers that are now only available in plastic because of the weight. However, when we have choices, we should try to choose products that use the least amount of plastic possible. Our purchases are very important in determining what products are made available.

So focus on reducing your waste stream and when you can safely do so, reuse items before they are trashed.


  1. I've made a point not to buy products that come in plastic. Of course, this means giving up some of my favorite things, such as Heinz's Chili sauce. But missing them encourages me to make them from scratch -- and everything tastes better when we make it ourselves!