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Reduce Reuse Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The 3 New ‘R’s.

When I was at school 🥱, we had to learn "The Three ‘R’s". They were, of course, 'Reading', 'Writing' and 'Arithmetic'… and no, the fact that only one of them actually began with the letter ‘R’ was not lost on me (especially since reading highlighted the flaw in the term) 🙄.

Today though, our children have three new ‘R's to get their heads around and there’s no logic gap this time around. These terms all begin with the appropriate letter and they’re worth learning too.

We have already seen the effects of climate change. Only the most hardened climate deniers could watch the terrible conditions in Australia recently and not share some sense of guilt and impending doom. But it is the young who need to be – and seem to be – paying attention most. We hope that no-one lives to see communities descend beneath the waves, or scenes of conflict arising over little more than arable land. But let us not dwell on the darkness. There is still hope, and one tenet upon which hope stands is the three new ‘R’s.

Now, in a previous article, we introduced the concept of Individual Collectiveness. The idea that we can make universal change by acting alone, in the belief that others are acting similarly. Well, if the three new ‘R’s are to have an effect we will need to embrace that concept too.

At the risk of patronising anyone… we still think it’s worth digging into these three musketeers and work out exactly how and why each one is so important.

REDUCE

As we said, most of us understand the concept of reduction, but in relation to climate change “less IS more”. Now, the idea of using less of anything means consuming less. So, by reducing what we consume we can make a difference.

This idea of consuming less applies to certain actions and to certain staples too, in a far broader sense. Flying is the perfect example. Cutting down on the amount we fly can make a huge difference to the environment, but it doesn’t mean we have to spend less time on holiday. We can mitigate the effect by choosing to stay longer in one place rather than taking many trips, or we can stay closer to home.

Cutting down on eating meat can make a global impact too as the act of rearing cattle proves a real danger to the climate. You’d be forgiven for thinking that if we do cut down on flights and meat, then those respective industries might suffer. The truth is though… that in our data-driven world, the more likely outcomes will be greener aeroplanes and more sustainable methods of farming.

REUSE

Ok, this one’s sliced bread simple. We would only add that it’s easy to forget how simple it is to reuse anything. Clothes in particular are something we need to reuse more often. While we are not suggesting you have too many clothes… there’s a good chance you have too many clothes. Everyone needs a wardrobe clear-out once in a while. And whether last seasons “must have” ends up in the charity shop, on eBay, or in landfill is a moot point. The danger of lightening the the load is it encourages us to go out and consume more. So, instead of culling your cupboards why not revisit them?

In Elizabeth L. Cline’s book ‘The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good’, the author provides an extensive guide toward building a more thought out and sustainable wardrobe. She builds an awareness of what we have in front of us and teaches us ways to assess the use-value behind each article of clothing before making any decisions. Amongst other things she suggests ways to restyle and accessorize outfits to give them new life.

If you have any high-end clothes, vintage or otherwise in demand items, then you might want to consider making them pay their own way. You heard right, with the rise in crowdfunding and the gig economy you can now rent your wardrobe out. Regardless of what you do with your clothes, make sure you’re not fuelling the industries which are destroying our planet and if it means living with the same pair of designer trainers for another season… then you know what to do.

RECYCLE

Too often only plastics, metal and glass are the focus in relation to recycling and we need to change that. Phones are a good example of how we might recycle a used item. After all, our lust for instant information and constant connection means we're in danger of creating a new environmental crisis. Lithium, the element essential for cell phone batteries, could soon run out. Such is our need for lithium that vast tracks of the Earth have become wastelands scarred by the hunt for portable power. And yet how many old mobiles do we each have tucked away in our drawers? To that end let’s all engage in an act of Individual Collectiveness. The moment you’re done reading this… find that drawer and dig out those old Nokia’s you’ve been saving for the Zombie Apocalypse and send them to a company like Fonebank.

OK, back to plastics (briefly) and a SHOUT OUT for us..... yep, ourselves! Did you know that here at DUVET HOG we take recycled plastic water bottles and upcycle them into super fluffy, cloud-soft duvets? Well, if you didn’t, we’re clearly paying our SEO / Digital Media specialist WAY too much!

And on to UPCYCLING

We’ll leave you with one last thought because it leads well into our next article. You see, the truth is there aren't just three ‘R’s, but four (or possibly more). But since that ruined our opening, we saved it to the end.

The fourth ‘R’ stands for REPURPOSE and it’s another great way to tackle climate change. We won’t spoil the surprise, but in the next article we’re going to suggest ways of repurposing a tonne of old stuff into new usable products. Until then thanks for reading this post… and don’t forget to share.

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