Founder’s Forum: Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

JB Lester

By J.B. Lester

It’s hard to find anyone (especially those who read The Healthy Planet magazine) who doesn’t recycle. I mean, it’s like littering, no one with any social or environmental conscious litters anymore. Single stream recycling can be found in most urban communities making it extremely easy to recycle. Those days of separating the paper, plastic, metal and glass are over for most households. Recycling items can now be commingled when put in your waste company’s recycling bins. The one caveat is to make sure your recycling items are clean and not contaminated by pizza sauce and cheese stuck to the box. Make sure jars are rinsed first to remove any old food or sauce. You get the picture. This is a small ask considering you are doing so much for the planet. And it’s much less work than having to separate out all the recycling items like we used to do. So recycling is easy peasy and I want to thank all of you for doing your part to make this a more sustainable planet for your family, your community and your future generations.

The other two R’s in the three R’s of the recycling logo are Reduce and Reuse. Let’s talk about reducing. Let’s face it, we are a society of THINGS. Americans love their THINGS. We have so many THINGS we don’t know what to do with them, hence a booming storage locker industry. Not only do we buy too many THINGS, we also can’t seem to part with them, even when they become unused and less appreciated. We have become a nation of packrats, some much worse than others, but how many garages are filled with our stuff and not our cars? We need to stop buying unnecessarily. Our shelves are filled with so many dust-covered chotskies, our homes are starting to resemble junk and pawn shops. The best advice I have ever heard is: if you haven’t used it in a year, sell or donate it to someone who will use it. Keep a few bins for emotional collectables and keepsakes. Get rid of the rest.

My favorite R is Reuse. My wife Niki and I pride ourselves in reusing some of our old stuff. Yes, we have too much stuff, too, but we do like to reuse and repurpose. In fact, my new home office desk where I am writing this right now is on an old letter-writing desk of my grandmother’s that I have stored for years. I put an old office divider on top to make a large tabletop to house my computers and screens. Those old desks were small compared to our new workspaces. Now I can put it to good use and feel the good karma of my Nana, too. Look at your old stuff and see what you can reuse and repurpose. It will make you feel creative and productive, and make you feel like a true steward of the planet.