3 new R’s for this season: Renew, Restore and Reclaim

Hopefully we’ve all been recycling (or exposed to recycling) long enough to recognize the symbol that has become synonymous with the act: the triangle with the 3 arrows, moving in the same direction, creating a closed loop. Those 3 arrows actually stand for different acts, only one of which is recycle. This symbol is actually the graphic that was created for the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The order is important, as it is prioritized by the most desirable action first. Ideally, recycling is really the last resort. Ideally, we should be migrating towards a life with fewer and fewer disposable items, until the ideal closed loop of “zero waste” is achieved.

But with our fast paced, more modern and mechanized society, we’ve focused on only one trait which we thought would be easiest to implement and institutionalize: recycling. Yet now we find ourselves in a bigger predicament, because as the other R’s (reduce and reuse) have been largely ignored, we’ve continued to increase the amount of waste produced per person (closing in on 5 tons per person per year in the U.S.). So even increased recycling rates put little dent on our over consumption, and do little to counter environmental impact issues, which continue to elevate every year.

I recently discovered this gem of a resource from YES Magazine, outlining 10 easy tips to help guide us closer towards zero waste. These tips could prove to be healthier as well as financially beneficial, all while reducing the negative impact we might have on our environment and community. This especially could be true when done as a group, such as at work or school.

Springtime and the Passover holiday season is often a time for starting anew, a rebirth. With this new season, let’s look to establishing a secondary meaning behind those 3 R’s that might prove meaningful:

  • Renew our commitment to reducing our consumption and waste
  • Restorewhat we have so that we can reuse it, and improve environmental impact
  • Reclaim our land, our water and our overall environment by protecting and recycling our resources

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