What is Precycling?
Most of us understand the concept of recycling and have started to incorporate it into our daily lives – but what exactly is precycling? Well, it’s the practice of reducing waste by creating and using fewer items that have to be recycled.
Why is this important?
It’s important to remember that when we recycle, the items have to be collected by specialist vehicles. The goods then have to be melted down and converted into other reusable products – and this can be time-consuming and expensive.
So what can we do to help?
One of the easiest ways to protect the environment is to save paper. Paper is the biggest source of waste in the UK, so why not reduce the amount you use? Join a library instead of buying books, read newspapers online instead of buying them and send e-cards instead of paper alternatives – as these are fun, colourful and wonderfully animated. You should also print on both sides of paper, create electronic documents at work and get rid of paper cups, as these can be very wasteful. A few small changes to the way you live could save you and your company money too, so it’s worth ‘going green’ whenever you can.
Buy in bulk
Environmentally conscious manufacturers are coming up with ways to cut down on packaging too, so buy concentrated products, soap powder and cleaning products whenever you can. These last longer and will save you from making trips to the recycling bins every couple of weeks. You should also think about avoiding individually wrapped products, as these often contain far too much packaging.
Avoid using plastic
If you need to visit the shops, try using cloth or re-usable bags instead of plastic carrier bags. Many of us are already doing this, but it’s important to remember not to waste plastic every time you do a food shop. If we all boycott plastic bags, this will hopefully encourage our stores to cut down on the amount of packaging they order and use. It will also reduce the amount of money being spent on melting the bags down and will save energy in the long-run.
If you are looking for something more stylish, there are still plenty of options for some cool sustainable bags – take a look at this inspiring roundup from Greenmuze.
Stay away from bottles and cans
It’s thought that we only recycle around 20 per cent of the plastic bottles we use. This means that most end up in landfill sites and the rest have to be broken down and reused. Neither option is ideal, so why not eliminate the use of plastic bottles and cans by using a SodaStream? With a SodaStream you can make the drink to your specific taste, (be it sweeter or bubblier) and can create your very own flavours. The drinks work out cheaper per litre, you won’t have to lug heavy bottles home from the shops and more importantly – no plastic bottles!
SodaStream themselves have carried out a study called The Cage Exhibition whereby they have collected plastic bottles from landfill sites all over the world and created cages so that we have a visual of how many bottles we are throwing away. It really is quite shocking!
Looking to protect the environment? Then buy rechargeable batteries. Although they tend to cost more than standard batteries, they last longer and are less damaging to the environment. The long-term benefits outweigh the initial price, so pop to your nearest home store and see what you can find.
Freecycle.org is a network of almost 10,000,000 people worldwide and it’s an ‘entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving and receiving things for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of the refuse and landfills‘.
See if your area is covered and think twice before you throw away that old TV or washing line because you don’t think anyone would want it. Join the community, spread the word and start freecycling.
If you live in the UK, its worth reading the Freecycling section of MoneySavingExpert for some great tips and a nod to freecycling etiquette.
Precycling is easier than you may think and could make a big difference to the world around you.
About the author: Kelly is an eco-conscious blogger who likes to write about the environment and spends most of her time experimenting with new ways to be green. Kelly is dedicated to helping to raise awareness on the many enviromental issues and how small actions can path the way to big change.