Going Beyond Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – Alter Eco
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Apr 14, 2021

Going Beyond Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

We’ve all heard the tried and true environmental phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. Although it’s sound advice, we are always looking for ways to go beyond the three basic “Rs” and align ourselves with a deeper commitment to the environment. 
To get the conversation started, we’re expanding the list of environmental “Rs” to take everything a step further: Repurpose, Refuse, Rethink and Regenerate!

Repurpose

Before you recycle something or throw it away, consider its next life.  With just a little creativity, objects can have second, third or even fourth purpose. Check out these ideas to get started:


  • Make art; like a mini robot sculpture from vintage cans or stepping stones for the garden with cracked dishware. The list is endless and Pinterest is a gold mine of ideas!
  • Have a furry friend? Take worn out clothing and upcycle it into a dog or cat toy. A quick search will give you DIY guides and videos galore. Choose one like this Sock Fish Cat Toy.
  • Old jugs, jars and bottles make great countertop vases for fresh cut herbs or a farmer’s market bouquet.
  • Take that stack of used egg cartons and find a local egg producer to see if they want to reuse them, or use them as seed starting trays for your vegetable garden.  

With just a little imagination, you can turn bottle caps into tea lights, tin cans into wine racks, teacups into succulent pots and so, so much more. 


Refuse  

Eventually you’ll need to buy new things, but sometimes what you refuse to buy is just as important as what you choose to buy.  With each new purchase, consider where the product came from, the ethics of the company that made it, and how the product itself is packaged.  

 

Here are a few things to consider when buying:

  • Single-use packaging. 

Single use packaging (plastics in particular) fill our landfills and cause significant environmental degradation.  Look for packaging that is compostable, recyclable or reusable, like the completely compostable wrappers used on our truffle products.  


  • Companies with questionable environmental ethics. 

Before you make a purchase, take a moment to research how the product is made and the company that makes it. If you’re committed to sustainability and living an earth-friendly lifestyle, the companies you buy from should be, too. 


  • Opt for products made and grown closer to home. 

You’ll be amazed at the local food and product options you can find when you start looking in your own backyard.  Sourcing products from your friends and neighbors puts money back into your community and reduces the fuel used in shipping.  



Rethink

When trying to protect the planet, one of the best places to start is thinking about the resources necessary to support your own lifestyle choices.  Re-thinking the resources we all take for granted can have a tremendous impact. 

 

  • Water

We all need it, but if you live in an area fortunate enough to have clean water flowing from your taps it is often treated as an infinite resource.  The reality is that only 0.5% of the earth’s water is available freshwater! Water is a precious resource that should be conserved. Small shifts in your daily life like turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth and taking shorter showers can have a large impact. 

  • Land 
It’s a finite resource that is often taken for granted and one where your food choices can make a big difference.  Consider our rainforests.  Combined, beef and soy production (industrially-produced staples in many processed foods) are the leading cause of global tropical forest depletion.  

Rethinking your daily use of resources like water and food can make a big difference in the journey towards a lifestyle that supports our planet rather than weighs on it.  



Regenerate

While it’s important to conserve, it’s equally important to regenerate! Actively look for ways that your actions and habits can rebuild and restore the planet.  How?


  • Learn!
Educate yourself about regenerative practices.  A relatively broad term, regenerative practices seek to enhance the world’s resources like soil, water and biodiversity.  This idea is key to sustainable farming, where farmers are striving to restore and enhance, not deplete, the land’s resources while growing.
  • Compost!

One of the best ways to add regeneration to your own lifestyle is to return excess nutrients to the earth and keep food scraps out of landfills.  If starting a compost pile at your own home isn’t possible, see if there is a community composting program in your town or even contact a local farmer who would like your food scraps for their own compost pile.  


  • Take Action! 
Speak up, participate, and advocate for regenerative practices and sustainable policies.  Start a community garden, a community-composting project or get involved with your local policy makers to start advocating for sustainability where you live.  The possibilities are endless when you partner with like-minded people committed to making a change. 

 


Join us as we go beyond Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Let’s  “Repurpose” the items in our life, “Refuse” to participate in systems that don’t support our planet, “Rethink” the way we use resources, and “Regenerate” our world! 
A great place to start is learning about your personal carbon footprint.  Check out our blog post on the Check Your Eco Challenge and join the movement to reduce carbon emissions this Earth Month.
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