Sustainability, 5Rs and Simple Switches
Systematic changes to our economies are underway to turn them from linear (take-make-dispose) to circular (make-use-dispose). Every single action we take has an impact on nature and the next generation. Revisiting our consumption habits and actively selecting environmentally-friendly options offers positive benefits to us and all along our eco-systems and economies. Every single action has an impact on nature and the next generation.
Climate change is a serious problem left by past generations for future generations to fix. The year 2019 has been the warmest in recorded history. The danger is immediate and has a detrimental effect on humans and animals' environment. Our chance of survival, as collective species of this planet, depends on the directions we will take to fix our issues.
Simple rules such as the 5Rs – Refuse – Reduce – Reuse – Rethink – Recycle -can be applied to make the right choices. Championed by zero wasters, such as Bea Johnson who can fit her whole yearly family waste into a mason jar, the 5Rs ( in the order above) can guide you through to pick sustainable choices and lifestyle.
Refuse: The incredible power of saying No!
Do I really need this freebie gift pen? Should I buy these bananas wrapped in layers of plastic? Do I really need this?
The awareness of declining buying or accepting goods that can harm the environment or are not necessary has profound effects on our lives. By accepting these, you implicitly encourage these patterns to repeat themselves. By refusing them you encourage change – some call it voting with your dollars.
Reduce: Reduce to use less.
Choosing products that maximize the usable lifespan (such as a reusable water bottle instead of a single-use plastic bottle), planning your needs ahead and consuming perishables in time to minimize wastage, minimizing quantity of materials used, all benefit to reduce our environmental footprint.
Reuse: The environmental revolution of our times.
By Reusing items, designed for long term use, we can solve many ongoing environmental issues – especially our addiction to single-use plastics.
Communities, progressive businesses, and local governments are stepping up with solutions centred around reduction and reuse.
Rethink: A new mindset for our planet.
The change from Linear to Circular habits needs us to reconsider our world and rethink the ways we do.
Rethink englobes all actions taken to reach the goals of sustainable practices and englobes all actions going in that direction such as Repair, Repurpose, Upcycle, Precycle, and all those new one which come along the way.
Recycle: After going through the steps above, Recycling is, in some cases, the last part of the journey. When we finish using a product and need to dispose it we hope that it can be recycled. Still, recycling is a complex process and most recyclable materials end up in landfill or oceans due to our habits and unfit infrastructures. This is why it comes at the bottom of this list. For environmentalists recycling is the least favoured choice. Still, we need to keep sorting our waste and show our communities that it can be done.