Recycling is an easy way for people to feel like they are helping save our country and the Earth! And it doesn’t even take much more effort than not recycling! This is a good thing right?
People use more plastic and paper when recycling was an option versus when they had to send it to the landfill. Researchers say people’s guilt for wasting is overridden by the good feelings for doing something good, but there is a reason reduce comes before recycle in the old “REDUCE. REUSE. RECYCLE.” Reducing is the most important and most effective way to save the Earth!
I’m not saying recycling is bad! It’s great! Many people think that people who care about recycling also care about reducing, reusing, and other methods of reducing their footprint. It turns out there are different motivators at play. People commonly feel guilty for using more than they need, but they feel even more positive emotion from doing the “right thing” and recycling. This means the net feeling is good when people waste, but recycle the excess.
Some of the excess that goes in the recycling may end up incinerated or sent to the landfill anyway. This is due to contamination in the recycling process. This is why it’s important that people don’t try to recycle things they shouldn’t.
I am definitely not telling you to stop recycling, but do think about the things you use, reduce/reuse where you can and keep recycling!
AND THE LAST RESORT IS TO RECYCLE
My closet was filled with fast fashion from my trendy high school days. Those of you who went to high school with me, don’t laugh! But I haven’t bought new clothes since graduating high school over two years ago. Even after stopping clothes from coming in, I didn’t know how to get clothes to leave my closet and never come back. I knew I shouldn’t throw them all away because I don’t want to send more to the landfill than I have to (which is what most people do directly or indirectly when used clothing stores have too much merchandise they throw a lot away).
I’ve finally cleared it out to only what I really like and need. The clothes that don’t fit right or are duplicates (buy one get one free ugh), I have given to my neighbors, friends, and family! This has proven to be a great method! They love that I thought of them and they get the satisfaction of new items without spending money or creating more demand for fast fashion.
It feels so much better seeing them enjoy it than being in my closet! It’s so much easier to find what to wear in the morning without stressing out. I knew this clean out would be the hardest of the summer, which is why I did it first.
Currently, I’ve moved on to my bookshelf. I’m one of those people who buys books when I haven’t even read the books I have and they all end up sitting on my bookshelf! I want to read them but I can’t read as fast as I can buy! This is another thing I’ve reduced since graduating high school, but unlike fast fashion, I haven’t kicked the habit entirely yet.
Now, one by one I am reading (or rereading one last time) every book from my bookshelf. Once I’m done, I’m donating them all to my local library which is where I read more anyway because there are so many to choose from! This is a better method than sending unwanted books to the landfill or recycling facility. If I miss my books I can visit them anytime I want.
I’ve read five books so far and have many many to go, but I loved it so far and can’t believe I haven’t read most of these yet! The only ones staying on my bookshelf are reference books and puzzle books. I’ve got about ten of them and I can find them when I need them for reference or for a distraction. Looking at my bookshelf is so calming now.
I challenge you to read a book you own but haven’t read yet! Let me know your favorite books in the comments so I can see if my library has it!