I read a shocking news item earlier this month that suggests not only do we use too much energy and water, but Canadians produce more garbage per capita than any other country on earth!
Wow. We’re number one. How sad is that?
The amount of garbage that is being produced implies a wasteful lifestyle. A wasteful lifestyle implies a selfish attitude regarding resources. My family and I were talking about it around the supper table the other night. We do a LOT of recycling in our house, and only put out one small bag of garbage every week. But we know that just because we’re recycling everything we can, doesn’t mean that we can’t do more to cut down on our overall consumption.
Recycling is the last step of the 3 R’s. It’s the R’s that come before it are more important. Recycling uses a lot of resources too, and often it’s in the form of energy which is produced from non-renewable resources. The most important R of all is the first one - REDUCE. We talked about ways our family can personally reduce our consumption of non-renewable resources.
First of all, we talked about what things we use that us up non-renewable resources. Our electricity is generated by coal. Our heat uses natural gas, our cars use gasoline and diesel. These are the things that are MOST important places to reduce, because once we’ve burned our earth’s fossil fuels, it’s gone.
My Dad has made a real concerted effort to reduce our use of electricity and heat in the house. My parents also have made vehicle choices that use less fuel and they are conservative in their use buy combining errands when they need to drive, walking whenever possible, etc.
In our house, we still have room to reduce in the things we buy and especially things with packaging. Single use containers of ANYTHING are forbidden in our house, but we’ve decided to investigate what things we can do to minimize the packaging that comes along with the consumables that we buy.
After reducing, reusing is the next most important. If you can reuse something instead of either putting it in the garbage or recycling, you are again helping to conserve resources. Finding a new use for the packaging that you buy stuff in, like containers for instance, means that it’s one less thing to go into a landfill or to have to go through the recycling process. In the meantime, if you can fill a need with something you already have, you are also saving money yourself!
We live in one of the most beautiful and resource-rich countries in the world. Would it be nice if we were number one in our stewardship of those resources?