Sunday, February 28, 2010

Precycle: Think before you need to recycle

These days, everyone talks about recycling from consumables such as plastic bottles and clothes to building homes with reclaimed woods and making artwork out of trash.

But how about considering the act to precycle?

To precycle basically means to take action to reduce your trash and consumption before you reach the need to recycle.

Some easy ways to precycle include:

Buy foods in bulk.
For added points, you can also reuse a plastic bag or container for pouring your cereal, rice, grains, nuts, and trail mixes at the store. Don’t forget to bring your own reusable grocery bag too.

Frequent your local library
Instead of buying books all the time, consider going to your neighborhood library to borrow your next few reads. If you need to clean out your shelves and recycle, the library is a good place to donate second-hand books.

Limit or avoid junk mail
There are services available to get off mailing lists that sell your name and address to more mailing lists. Also sign up for e-mail newsletters and messages from businesses and favorite organizations.

Bring your own take-out containers
Whenever you eat out and need to pack those leftovers, don't ask for a "doggie bag." Get in the habit of bringing your own containers. You waste less food and create less trash.

Carry your own chopsticks or utensils
Disposable chopsticks and plasticware not only are items waiting to become trash but the energy and natural resources required to manufacture them are enormous.

While recycling is better than doing nothing, it still requires a great deal of resources to do. By taking a thoughtful step not to use something in the first place -- especially disposable items -- can sometimes make even a greater difference than trying to recycle or repurpose an item later. (LL)

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