Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The Reduce Part

reduce reuse recycle logo

The Oregonian writes about how recycling alone will not meet the state's goals for stopping growth in per person waste generation. (If you want to read the full story, do it now; after 14 days the free access ends.)

As an organizer, I'm not focused on getting my clients to stop buying things, but rather to stop and ask themselves questions like this, so they don't create clutter issues for themselves:

- Is this something that is useful, or something that I love?
- Where will it go? Is there room for it?
- Will it replace something I will then donate or otherwise recycle?
- Will it hold up well over time, so it doesn't become landfill in the near future?

The Oregonian article mostly emphasizes the same thing; it's not "stop buying" but "stop buying junk." Here are some brief quotes.
Now that Oregonians are good at recycling, state officials are edging toward a far tougher Step 2: Stop buying so much stuff in the first place.
. . .
To cut consumption and waste, and the manufacturing emissions at the front end, regulators are writing a strategy that suggests people consider smaller houses, avoid cramming their homes with junk . . .
. . .
Local government officials, who regulate garbage rates and haulers, fret about waste prevention being seen as a blow to the local economy, Allaway [David Allaway, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's point man for waste prevention] said. "They don't want to spend taxpayer dollars promoting 'Buy Nothing Day.'

"On the surface, it looks bad for the economy," he said, "Our point is you can stimulate the economy without spending on cheap, wasteful goods."
. . .
Julie Daniel, director of BRING Recycling in Eugene, helped advise the state on the plan. Daniel wants tougher mandates for waste prevention and green products. . . . Now she's trying to buy used more often, including a $100 used TV last year. She shares with neighbors, buys in bulk, rents when she needs a tool, buys stuff that'll last and thinks twice before she hits the checkout counter.

[via Apartment Therapy: Green Home]

[Image from High Peak CVS]


MeganS said...

This is great Jeri! I think I heard something about this article! I can really agree with what you are saying... it's not about STOPPING the accumulation.. it's about making the right choices!

I love your blog!

Jeri Dansky said...

Megan, nice to hear from you! Maybe we'll meet at NAPO's National Conference next year.