The hierarchy of waste reminds us that the very best thing we can do is to avoid creating “trash” in the first place (REDUCE consumption.) Barring that, the next best alternative is to REUSE goods, and finally, when something is really worn out, to RECYCLE it.
Many of us fight off the near constant desire to acquire new stuff, either because we are watching our pennies, or because we pause to question whether we really need it. If you are like me, you may feel both thrilled and significantly less guilty if you buy used. Who hasn’t lusted over someone else’s cast-offs on eBay or at the local consignment store? “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is surely true for me.
Many of us also clean out our closets on a regular basis and send what we aren’t using to Goodwill, Salvation Army or other worthy charitable organizations. That’s a great way to go. But still, many things that are not at the end of their useful lives get pitched out – to the landfill.
One group trying to make REUSE a more widely appreciated and honored concept is the Reuse Alliance. Reuse Alliance is currently working to establish October 20th as National Reuse Day, “to promote the social, environmental and economic benefits of reuse and encourage more people to join the movement toward a cleaner environment and greener economy.” You can sign their petition to recognize a National Reuse Day here.
Patagonia stands out as one company that has taken strides to make REUSE a viable option for their clients. Their initiative is called Common Threads. Check out this inspiring recent video that encourages folks to consider their options before buying—including not buying!
Patagonia deserves kudos for making it possible to return your gear for repair, partnering with eBay to make it possible for you to buy and sell used Patagonia clothing, and last but not least, accepting used Patagonia clothing for recycling, with a pledge that if your garment is returned to them it will be neither landfilled nor incinerated.
I like Patagonia’s call to REIMAGINE a more sustainable world where REUSE is much more common, and waste less so. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.