I just watched this Ted Talk on creative reuse and I found it to be really insightful. Basically it says that recycling sucks. That’s a pretty bold statement to make, but I think it’s important to consider.
In the video, Garth Johnson says that when we think about sustainability, we often think about the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. He points out that it’s important the “Recycle” comes last because it should be our last resort instead of our first. I feel that’s something that pages like this one don’t always emphasize; recycling is a pretty good option and it probably beats throwing things into a landfill, but it is absolutely not the only way to live with more sustainably.
In fact, I would actually argue that if the only thing you’re doing to reduce your impact on the earth is recycling, then you’re not doing enough. Reduction is a really important thing. My friend Kelly had a really good example of this in his article last week that encouraged people to refuse plastic bags from Hillside and grocery stores. I think that eliminating the problem at its first step is one of the best things you can do in your life to reduce your impact. Be mindful of the things you actually need. Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t have things that you really enjoy; you absolutely should! But how much joy does your plastic cup from Starbucks actually bring you? My guess is that it’s little-to-none. Doing (often) simple things in your life that can keep you from having to recycle or throw away later on will make your life easier, lighter, and greener.
Written by Mariah Greico, Class of 2018 (Hopefully)