We've all heard it before... throughout primary school, high school, Uni and even at work. But how far do we take this catchy slogan? It wasn't until last year and the beginning of this year that I really thought about the 3 R's in depth. I learnt a great deal more about what it really meant, in both your personal life and the wider community. As a step that I have been following for the past year I have developed the concept further to fit in with my journey towards sustainable living. It goes;
REDUCE - Consumption?? How much do I consume, daily to monthly, to even yearly. Fast-fashion was a really concerning topic for me. The industry is the epitome of a throwaway mindset. Clothes are made for next to nothing with exported labour costs worryingly low, using the cheapest, generally toxic materials at rapid paces. The used resources like the amount of water, the cotton, and after that the Co2 emissions that are unleashed make for an environmental catastrophe. Clothes being perhaps my most common buys - This year I am saying NO to the fast-fashion industry, YES to what I already have, to vintage/secondhand, to clothing swaps and more. To buying what I need, and not to the shiny new things.
This leads us into the next R,
Looking at what I already have, and finding something new in them everyday, tending and fixing things that might break or tear and most of all being appreciative of the abundance of luxuries I've been lucky enough to have. It put me in a mindset that I already have everything I need to be happy, everything else is just a luxury! *A luxury that I cherish
Restyling outfits had me pulling things out from 5 years ago, that I absolutely love now.
I found myself thinking about recycling as a last resort, because if your can recycle things again personally, it's really just reusing? This Christmas I wrapped my presents in cut- offs from material we had lying around. Most of the material was given back to me, where I can now use that for other projects or to wrap presents again. What once was a recycling event has turned to a reuse!
Evidently, this is much more a first world problem where consumption is at a all time high. But reusing can be applied to almost anything, and doesn't always have to mean a major change.
Reusing works hand in hand with reducing, as long as I'm committed to buying minimal and necessity (which will be different for everyone).
I pledge to continue finding ways to infiltrate all 3 within my life and my surrounding community.