Recycle is a word that people are most familiar with, especially in fashion. Many global brands are looking for recycled materials and setting their goals to convert all materials in the collections into recycling in the next 5 years. This leads to having everyone thinking that recycling is the only way to help the planet. In the contrast, recycling is indeed the last resort of the other Rs and should be considered as the only option if the other Rs are not working. Here are the other 7Rs we are talking about.
Rethink is the most important and the first step that once you make an action, it would automatically effect the other Rs. The most important fact you should keep in mind is that natural resources is finite – every choice you make in daily life would give impacts on it. For example, when you purchase new clothes or products, you should be considering more on the production process that helps reduce natural resources usage and cause less pollution to the planet. To put it simply, you need to try to create less waste and use less natural resources.
The easiest way to do this is refusing to support or accepting products or businesses which fail on environmental practices. Instead of taking a drink that contains in a plastic bottle, take one that contains in a glass bottle. Refuse to receive plastic bags or food packaging in plastic wrap when you go to grocery stores. There are also many sustainable living stores or zero waste stores that you can buy products from, which they will not give you packaging, but you need to bring it yourself.
Try to reduce using products are that harmful to the environment, non-recyclable, which will finally be ended up in the landfill. Resource efficiency also plays an important part here; for instance, if you are printing documents, then you should use it on both sides rather than just one side or just save it as a soft file instead of printing. Reduce our daily energy consumption, such as water and electricity. Store your leftover food in a glass container instead of a Tupperware or plastic bags. Bring your own cup or bottle when you buy a drink, or if you go to a restaurant, try to finish your plate and that would prevent creating leftover food.
Avoid using single-used products. For example, if you buy drinking water in a plastic bottle, try to reuse it by refilling drinking water that you can bring along in the future. Alternatively, reuse a plastic grocery store bag as a trash bag.
Try to repair a product that still can be used or donating instead of dumping away.
This is also known as “upcycling”. this term is to use when the products can no longer be reused or repaired, you can turn it to use for other purposes. For example, turn old clothes into bags or shopping bags, turn an old door to a dining table or a snowboard into a chair, etc.
As mentioned above, recycling should be considered as the last option of this sustainable living concept. Here’s why; recycling something requires a lot of natural resources and energy, not to mention the cause of pollution that has great impacts to the environment during the recycling process.