So it wasn’t until recently that I realized that there is another “R” when it comes to reducing waste. We all know the big three- reduce, reuse, and recycle, but I also recognize now that refuse is another one- and potentially it’s even the most important! I think this is the case because you can decide up front if you agree with the packaging or item and choose whether or not you want to buy it and bring it into your home.
I learned about this concept on a really interesting website called The Zero Waste Home which offers many tips from a family of four living an extremely environmentally friendly lifestyle. I first saw one of their videos here and it’s oh-so inspirational if you have a couple minutes to watch it! The family walks through the rooms of their home and shows how they store food and other household necessities in the most eco-friendly ways possible.
The refusing makes a lot of sense to me because by not using excess packaging or items that can’t be recycled in the first place, there is no need to reduce or recycle. And the recycling process takes a lot of energy in itself and there is even cost money to have pick-up from your home so I can see why lots of people really do use recycling as a last resort.
While there’s definitely plenty to consider here, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect. I set goals for myself and do try to avoid buying things with excess packaging (although currently I don’t have a whole lot of local options that I’ve found for bulk foods and personal items). However, it could be years before I get to a zero waste point like this family (and that includes time spent convincing my husband! :) ). In the meantime, I’m doing the best I can at home and will work to improve slowly but surely!