Those of you who are avid fans of Bob the Builder (!) will be more than familiar with Bob and the team’s encouraging chant of “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle”.
But now, it would seem, that there are actually FIVE R’s, not just three.
Who is volunteering to tell Bob?
I found out about the two extra ‘R’s’ when I had a sneaky peak at the Zero Waste Home Book by Bea Johnson.
This is a lady on a serious Zero Waste mission.
I have been following her on Twitter for quite a while now, and she has a great blog here. Someone tweeted me while we were away on holiday to say that she was on BBC Breakfast, talking about her new book. I didn’t see it (we were trying for a Screen-free week ..!), but I really want to get hold of a copy of the book (have just spotted there are now some used ones on Amazon-yay!)
Anyway, according to Bea, the Five R’s, that should be followed in strict order are:
- REFUSE-all the things that you don’t really need-so this includes freebies (my Goody Bag from the Ethical Awards for example..), single-use plastics-saying no to plastic bags, bottled water, and using your own cup for takeaway drinks. Bea does say that of all of the Five R’s, this is the one that has been the most difficult socially. Not sure I would be brave enough to turn down a party bag for one of the Smalls at the end of a party…
- REDUCE-this covers not only reducing consumption-so trying to use the car less for example, but also things like de-cluttering the house and garage
- REUSE-a little bit of Make Do and Mend comes in handy here-so fix things that break, upcycle your old clothes into something else (like my t-shirt upcycle), use your old milk bottles as watering cans (by poking some holes in the lid!). The only limit to this one is your imagination.
- RECYCLE-Recycling is great, but ONLY after you have done the 1st three R’s first. Recycling in itself takes energy-Why do we not have schemes to re-use our glass bottles, rather than spend precious resources breaking them up to make them into glass bottles again? And it often produces things that are of a lower quality-a lot of plastic bottles go on to make inferior plastic for park benches and things like that, it is very hard to recycle them back into food grade packaging again. So yes, do your recycling, but it should almost be a last resort, before throwing something away.
- ROT-compost it! As well as garden waste, there are hot composters available that can take all food waste (we have a Green Johanna-it is fab). And you can compost all kinds of things-rubber gloves, elastic bands, jeans, and even….condoms…
So there you have it.
Just reading the small excerpt from the beginning of the book, has re-inspired me to do more and try harder.
I thought we had done pretty well with Waste Watchers, after Christmas, but this is a whole new level. And not just about waste, but also about consumption, which I guess, is what leads to waste in the first place.
The book looks brilliant. You can find a link to read an excerpt of it here. And if anyone already has a copy, can I read it after you..?!