Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – the three Rs of waste management.
Yes, there are three essential components to managing the waste we all produce at home and at work, but why is it that the third ‘R’ tends to be the only one we really adhere to?
Because it’s easy.
Each household gets given a recycling bin and a list of recyclable items, then all we simply have to do is stop putting the listed items in our normal bins and put them in this bin instead. So in simple terms we’ve done our bit, ticked that box.
But what about the non-recyclables?
This is where the second R – reuse – comes in. If it can’t be recycled, we should be asking ourselves ‘can it be reused?’ Whilst recycling involves creating a new product out of broken-down waste materials, upcycling makes new products out of waste that has been left in its current state. The new product will be of a better quality than those made with recycled materials because the original product was not broken down or weakened.
You can upcycle in your own home and the best bit is it can save you money. Christmas is a great example – old Christmas cards can be made into gift tags, while old light bulbs can be decorated and made into Christmas decorations for next year. You could kit out your 2014 Christmas with decorations that won’t cost you a penny.
So before it goes into the recycling bin, stop and think – can it be upcycled?