Conservation is the act of preserving, guarding, and protecting. This can refer to many things – the planet, our possessions, and our financial resources.
I can remember the phrase reduce, reuse, recycle from my grade school years and I still sing the jingle with enthusiasm when I think about conservation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Association holds a patent on the phrase and the organization is a great reference for all the ins and outs of what the phrase represents and how to put it into practice.
The whole idea behind conservation is that we (humankind) have one earth to live on and we must share it and consider the footprint we leave by our daily actions and the choices we make in all aspects of life. One of my favorite quotes is in a national park in Alaska – “Leave only footprints”.
Reducing our waste can save the earth and its natural resources and also save us money!! In my opinion, reducing is a state of mind. Reducing can mean a number of things. Check out the EPA website for more information on how to Reduce! You can start by doing simple things like: (a) caulking or sealing any leaks around your windows and doors to reduce heating and cooling costs, (b) turning off the water when you are brushing your teeth or scrubbing a pot, (c) taking shorter showers, (d) hand-watering your garden or lawn instead of leaving sprinklers running, (e) using towels or wearing certain clothing more than once.
This brings me to the next piece of the phrase, “Reuse.” Pinterest has become a recent phenomenon that gives us endless ideas on how to reuse materials and turn trash into treasure. (Click to Tweet) We must think about how to reuse the tangible items around the house to avoid throwing them in a landfill to never be seen again and we must also think about how to reuse our natural resources. One great example of reusing a natural resource is black and grey water recycling in areas that do not hold enough fresh water resources to supply the overall demand. Click here to read about the Mexico City Project. Grey water is water from your shower, laundry or sink that is re-purposed for garden use. Black water (untreated sewage water) is a little bit more challenging. But, with the proper filtration and treatment, it, too, is reused for garden purposes. This is a great way of thinking outside the box and turning waste into something useful. As global weather patterns change, regions that once used to flourish with water resources may dry up and these conservation methods may need to be used. You know what they say, “Good to the last drop!”
“Buy used; you can find everything from clothing to building materials at specialized reuse centers and consignments shops.” It is popular to shop for vintage clothing at the Goodwill, Salvation Army or antique and consignment shops at a greatly reduced price. People use reconstituted items like old slats from a fallen down barns to make a decorative accent wall in an up-and-coming restaurant in addition to the many vintage clothing options in many hipster ads. And you can give your used items for a tax benefit.
Recycling is the last part to the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” phrase but maybe one of the most important. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that over 12% of the waste generated in 2007, came from plastic products. (Click to Tweet). This is astronomical!! The good news is that, “for every 1 ton of plastic that’s recycled, reports estimate that 7 yards of landfill space is saved. By recycling, you can also help conserve the additional 80% of energy that’s typically used when making new plastic bottles, containers and other items instead of recycling. It’s easy to see why recycling plastic is so important.” When I drive through my neighborhood, I observe who has the little green bin sitting next to their trashcan. This can give you an idea who else embraces the three R’s of conservation. So, if your neighbor is not using her recycling bin, don’t be afraid to say something. Go ahead and ask them if they know anything about the reduce, reuse, recycle mentality.
As for the economic benefit of recycling – did you know that California’s recycling efforts employ 84,000 people generating an annual payroll of $2.25 billion and grosses $14.2 billion in annual revenue? There are some who question the overall cost-effectiveness of recycling and/or question whether the materials collected are truly being recycled. For a great article debunking most of the recycling myths, click here.
Does your city offer a recycling program? Do you take part? If not, why not?
Dr. Andrew Kender
April 26, 2015
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians