I think we should make reuse, reuse, reuse our theme for Earth Day 2015.
Let's do it!
We always preach “reduce, reuse, recycle” in that order for a reason—how would you suggest we address the importance of closing the supply-demand cycle by purchasing goods with recycled content?
As I say in my book, recycling is only marginally better than tossing stuff in the landfill. After all, recycling paper and aluminum, to name just two items, still requires vast amounts of energy and water. Likewise, nothing is 100% recyclable. Most plastics can only go through the process once or twice; paper five or six times. As for metals, they can be recycled endlessly, but there’s always some lost in the process. So nobody—especially an environmentalist—should feel as if they’ve somehow done the environment a big favor by tossing something into a blue bin. If you really want to do the Earth a favor, reduce your consumption.
That’s a hard ask, of course. I don’t want to do it, either. So what’s the solution? I’m not sure there is one. However, I’ve become a bit proponent of repair—a fourth ‘R’ that fits nicely into the space between ‘Reuse’ and ‘Recycle’ in the good old three Rs. As tech companies know very well, a repairable gadget tends to be better built and longer lasting. And that’s what we really need if we’re going to continue being a consumption-driven society—longer-lasting goods. France is working on laws that will require companies to tell consumers how long parts will be available for the stuff they buy—I think that’s a fine idea, and a really good way to start lengthening product lifespan. I’d love to see the US go in that direction, too. (source)If we reuse a lot there's less of a need for recycling and it will naturally create reduction.
Let's do it!