The 6 Rs – a great way to track your environmental impact and reduce waste

Cats-Claw

Cat’s Claw Baskets

Out of sight, out of mind is a modern day motto about our waste. It may be out of our minds but this is how long it can last in landfill:

  • A banana skin – till next week
    A paper bag – till next month
    Cotton or orange peel – for about 6 months
    An old woolen sock – till next year
    A milk carton – till 2018
    A cigarette butt – till 2022
    A nylon jacket or leather shoes – till 2050
    A tin can – till 2060
    Disposable nappies – till 2500
    Plastic bags – till 3000
    A plastic jug – till the year 5000 or longer

Use the 6 R’s to ask yourself what else you could do to help protect our wonderful environment and save money in the process?

Reduce & Refuse

Many of the problems created by waste can be addressed by reducing the amount of waste we produce in the first place.  Choose products with no or reduced packaging, or re-usable packaging, ie refillable containers. Buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging you collect. This can also save you money.

Refuse plastic bags. Keep re-usable bags handy so you have them when you need them.

Replace single use, disposable items (cups, plates, etc.) with more permanent solutions.

Reduce waste by refusing to thoughtlessly buy things you don’t need. “Do you really need all the stuff you think you need?”

There is a lot of satisfaction in making things yourself!

There is a lot of satisfaction in making things yourself!

Re-use

Choose items that can be re-used ie choose rechargeable batteries over batteries that are used once and then disposed of. Cloth nappies/diapers cost a little more initially, but can be re used over and over again, then re-purposed as a rag later.

Choose well-made durable items. These products may cost a little more but their lifespan will be longer. When you re-use items you’ve bought they become more cost-effective. You’ll not only reduce waste but also help reduce the amount of energy used to manufacture new products.
Save on plastic wraps and freezer bags in the kitchen by using re-usable containers as much as possible.

Re-Think & Re-purpose

Before you throw it out, ask yourself, can this item be re-purposed?
It’s amazing how many things can have a second or even third life. If you can’t re-purpose something, there may be someone else who can.

Wash glass jars and use them again to store food or things like buttons, paint, glue, beads or nails, anything really. You can also give glass jars to friends or groups who make jams.

Cat’s Claw is a vine that grows over and smothers trees and natural habitats. A group of us used to meet periodically, pull the vine off the trees and weave it into baskets, light-shades and anything else we could think of. We used to sit in nature, with the children playing around us, and share stories and wisdom while we freed the trees and re-purposed the vines.

Up cycle! Create art & fashion from trash and pre-loved items. Let your soul and creative impulses run free.

Some of our Cat's Claw weaving was displayed in the foyer of the local Art Gallery.

Some of our Cat’s Claw weaving was displayed in the foyer of the local Art Gallery.

Repair & Refurbish

When choosing an item to purchase, consider whether it can be repaired or is just another throw away item. Repairing household items instead of replacing them can be a great way to reduce waste and save money. You might also be helping keep local specialist services like repairers and refurbishers in business, or learn to do it yourself. Charities might want your broken goods to turn into recycled products.

Corporations and big business want us to keep purchasing more and more to keep the financial economy continually growing, to the detriment of all else. This is why more and more of today’s products are designed to be replaced, thrown away, and the sooner the better, so you will hurry up and purchase more. This is why it is so imperative to consider the 6 R’s before you make a purchase and before trashing anything.

A refurbished silver tea tray is given a new lease of life with some paint and a transfer.

A refurbished silver tea tray is given a new lease of life with some paint and a transfer.

Recycle

Most organic items, (natural paper, produce, garden waste) can be recycled in a home compost bin or worm farm. Grass clippings can be used as garden mulch. Food scraps can be fed to pets. See whether your trash could be treasure for someone else.

When you buy recycled products, you’re saving resources and reducing the impacts of pollution.
Other household waste can be put in a recycle bin. These usually include glass, hard plastics, aluminium and steel, paper, cardboard and milk or juice cartons. Contact your local council – they may collect other items for recycling, ie mobile phones and printer cartridges, larger electronic and electrical products, or building materials.

If you’re building or renovating, consider using recycled materials such as windows or floorboards—you can save money and add character at the same time.

Recycle unwanted plastic bags by giving them to charity stores or other people who may use them.

Give unwanted clothes, household items, furniture or appliances to family or friends, or donate them to charities.

An old bathtub becomes a great place to grow herbs and veges without having to bend down or dig the soil.

An old bathtub becomes a great place to grow herbs and veges without having to bend down or dig the soil.

Respect

In order to understand what it means to be a part of the waste and pollution solution, you must have respect. Respect for all things: people, animals, bugs, birds, fish, rivers, lakes, oceans, trees, mountains . . . Respect the products and all it took to get them to you. Check out where things are made and how they got to the store you’re in. Read the labels, know what you’re really buying.

Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” before you buy anything.

By thinking about what you really need and refusing what you don’t, giving items more than one life and disposing of rubbish thoughtfully, you can reduce waste and show others that you value our resources and the environment.

Respect yourself and your world enough to Be part of a solution.


Be the change you want to see.

Untitled-2Shared on: Frugal Days, Old-Fashioned Friday, Small Footprint Friday, Simple Saturdays, Mountain Woman Rendezvous, Natural Living Monday, Simply Natural Saturdays, From the Farm, Thrifty Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, HomeAcre Hop,

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6 thoughts on “The 6 Rs – a great way to track your environmental impact and reduce waste

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. Sorry, no I don’t use Twitter. I am on Facebook and you can follow the blog via email by submitting your email address in the box provided just above where you can ‘like’ and follow my Facebook page, which is on the blogs home page. I hope this helps .

  1. So much good information here. Each “R” could have been a stand-alone post. The basket idea is a stroke of genius! The bathtub planter, too.

  2. Pingback: Tread Lightly on the Earth | Christie Living Naturally

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