Precycling

June 3, 2010 at 9:46 am 1 comment

It’s hard to imagine someone today not being familiar with the green triangular arrow recycle symbol. And most everyone knows what the term “recycle” means. You see it just about everywhere you go. But what happens when you take a process like recycling and rewind the “cycle” a few steps? You get precycling. Thinking through how much waste a product has or will generate BEFORE you buy it.

While no one could argue that recycling isn’t a good thing for our communities and our planet, large amounts of energy are required to transport, process and then re-manufacture new stuff. Every step of the way more and more pollution is generated and energy consumed. While recycling helps to reduce the amount of landfill waste, it’s not a sustainable answer to dealing with the stuff we bring into our lives each day, and too often, quickly discard.

Precycling is actually a significant part of the original trash reduction mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”, with “Reduce and Reuse” being the operative words. Adding “Restore and Rethink” to this mantra effectively reflects the precycling mentally. A little thought means less to toss.

When we begin think in terms of how to “Reduce, Reuse, Restore, and Rethink” (and Recycle!) what we bring into our lives – what we use, consume and discard so freely – by comparison the only energy we expend on the precycling process is completely renewable thought energy. No petroleum required.

Simply stated, precycling means making buying decisions that support responsible products and packaging, make recycling easier and reduce the amount of actual “trash” we send to our land”fulls”. When you precycle, you prevent waste in the first place. Recycle, good. Precycle, great!

For tips and more info on Precycling visit:

This column highlights little changes toward a more sustainable life. Each month we feature one small thing that you can do each day in just minutes. You may already be doing it so find ways to adapt and improve. Studies show that it takes about 20 days to establish a habit. By having a habit of the month, we are constantly establishing more sustainable lives.

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Entry filed under: Recycling & Conservation. Tags: .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. cartridgesforkids  |  June 3, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I love this idea, thanks for sharing it. We are often so focused on fixing the waste issue post-purchase, instead of thinking about it beforehand.

    I have some ideas for the things people can do each day if you’re interested. We’ve got shipping labels that people can use to send their used electronics, recycle them, and have the money donated to charity. Email me at recycle4acause (at) yahoo (dot) com if you want more info.

    Reply

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