This post is part of an ongoing collaboration with Gia Machlin, president and CEO of EcoPlum, an online green shopping rewards site. Watch for her contributions to the CSRHub blog on eco-friendly products and green living ideas. For more on EcoPlum, or to follow the EcoPlum blog, visit www.ecoplum.com.
By Gia Machlin
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. So cliche. Yet so ignored. Dare I say that it almost goes against what we are taught from day one in our consumer driven society? Poopy diaper? Throw it out! Make a mess? Clean it up with paper towels and wipes. It’s your birthday? Let’s get you a shiny new plastic toy! It seems that from the moment we are born, we are programmed to Use, Dispose, and Buy new. It doesn’t sound as catchy as Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, but it’s how most of us live our lives. Even well intentioned eco concious families, such as mine, often choose convenience over conservation because, well, we live in the 21st century, and most of us don’t plan on living “off-the-grid” any time soon. But just because we can’t wipe out our carbon footprint, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all try to minimize it, every day.
I’m guessing the reason that “Reduce” comes first in the saying, is that it is the most important piece of the equation. Reducing consumption alone could solve many of our environmental woes. But reduction is the hardest part to do. Believe me, I try every day. For example, while I no longer buy Ziploc® bags, I haven’t found a really suitable replacement for them. Tupperware and deli containers are bulky, and cloth bags just don’t hold in the moisture, and it is a pain to wash and dry the bags for reuse.
Which takes us to the “Reuse” part of the saying. While easier than reducing, reusing is still more difficult than number three: “Recycle.” So I think we should reword the saying in order of ease: Recycle, Reuse, Reduce. People need to tackle the easiest part before they can move on to those steps that require a little more of a change in lifestyle. And since we are only recycling a fraction of what we could be recycling right now, let’s try to do better! Let’s challenge ourselves to be more conscious in our recycling habits.
Here is a clip from my appearance on Cafe Mom Studios’ Mom Ed: Green Living show in which I talk about recycling. I hope you find it informative.
For more information on what and where to recycle different types of materials in your location, please check out our recycling widget from 1800recycling.com. Also, please see this post about recycling with some great ideas from our readers.
Did you learn anything new about recycling today?
Gia Machlin is the president and CEO of EcoPlum, an online green shopping rewards site with eco-friendly products and green living ideas that make it fun, easy, and rewarding to go green. EcoPlum aims to inspire a community of people to be conscious of ctheir daily habits, purchases, and impact on the world's limited resources. Prior to founding EcoPlum, Gia was president and principal of MMC 20/20 Systems, Inc. and co-founded Plan Data Management, Inc. She has also worked with MachlinConsulting Group, Deloitte & Touche, AT&T, and Unisys. She received her MBA with honors from Columbia Business School and her BS in Industrial Engineering/Operations Research with honors from the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She makes her home in New York with her husband and two children.