I have been travelling of late and increasingly I notice the objects I use once and throw out (recycled or sent to landfill). Objects such as: napkins, plastic cutlery, plastic/cardboard containers from take-away, free earphone sets on flights, newspapers, magazines, packets on the food tray on the plane – salt and pepper etc.
My perspective on waste and sustainability has changed from recycling to reuse. Instead of using and recycling, what can I say “No” to that I don’t really need anyway?
Simple logic: anything I use has had energy expended by being made. A set of earphones has had energy from people, machines, transport to get to me. If I don’t use them, it’s one less thing that needs to be produced in the future. Slowly, my cycle of consuming (more than I need to) reduces.
I’m thinking about the 16 planets we currently need to exist as a world population. My perspective and changed behaviour can ripple to others and ripple to others.
You could argue my actions are too small. Though it seems logical and clear to me that this works for me.
What can I use that can be reused? Can I carry cutlery (or chopsticks – thanks Dave Hood) so I can say “No” to cutlery offered with take away? I’ve carried a cloth bag for a while now and it has saved numerous bags being produced and used once by me. A water bottle saved 6 plastic cups for water on Thai airways flight.
I wonder if the airlines recycle the things left packaged on a tray, the jam, margarine, cutlery. I’d love to hear they do. [I’ll tweet them to find out.]
I wonder how many times I can reuse the cutlery I carry and how many throw away forks and knives and spoons I can save.