You Can Actually Recycle Too Much

Recycling binI am sure some of you would have experienced a moment like this–you look at your overflowing recycling bin full of paper, cardboard, tin cans, glass, and plastic bottles, and think to yourself “what a great job I’m doing to save the environment”. But to the contrary, it is actually a sign that something is wrong.

I myself realised this when looking at our recycling bin over Christmas!

The common saying “reduce, reuse, recycle” is actually a hierarchy expressing the order of importance of these ideas.

Firstly, and most importantly, you must reduce what you consume and reduce your generation of waste. Do you really need that new ‘thing’? Is there a brand you can buy with less packaging? Can you make it yourself?

Secondly, you need to reuse the things you already have, or reuse others’ stuff by buying second hand. If you have something you don’t want to reuse perhaps it could go to charity or freecycle rather than to the trash?

Recycling is actually the last step in the process. You should reach the point of recycling only if all options for reducing or reusing have been exhausted.

In short: we need to try and get less into our recycling bins, not more.

You can find some great ideas for how to reuse and recycle things at How can I recycle this? and Crafting a Green World.

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. Read more from Tricia atLittle eco footprints, where she tracks her journey towards making sustainable living a way of life rather than a challenge.

One Response to You Can Actually Recycle Too Much
  1. Marny
    February 2, 2009 | 3:16 am

    Sorry for leaving you this message here, but I was unable to find an email address for your editor.
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