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Discussions Discussion Reuse & repurpose
Vendela G_Na11bswe, Oct. 13, 2013

Hi everyone!

I have read a lot of posts that encourages recycling in order to decrease emissions. Of course, this is a great way to get the most out of our natural resources. Though, I wonder if that is enough. Recycling can take us only so far considering the enormous demand of products we have today. I think that even in a scenario where everything that is produced also gets reused and recycled, the environmental problems will remain. I recently watched a documentary (unfortunately in swedish, http://www.svtplay.se/video/1480596/del-5-av-18 ) that stated that people make a big mistake when not linking emissions and consumption. The documentary spoke of China as an example. It is true that the country has emissions far beyond what is sustainble. At the same time Sweden (where I live) is happy about having managed to decrease the emissions during the past couple of years. What many seem to forget is that countries like China have high emissions only beacuse we want to buy their cheap products. As long as the demand exists the manufacturing will continue. So, reusing and recycling are both great actions, but they should not be the first ones to take. Instead the process should start at the mall or where you buy your electronics. I think the question we all need to pose is: “Do I really need this?”. That way you will both decrease emossions and save money. Another way to do it can be to see if you find what you are looking for in a second hand shop before buying it in the regular store. Analyzing my way of living, I realize that I buy a lot of things that I do not really need.

How about you? What do you buy that you do not really need? And what would you be willing to refrain from in order to lower your global footprint?

Vendela G_Na11bswe
Comments (2)
  • Aditya Rao Aditya Rao Oct. 14, 2013
    Vandela,

    A couple years ago I learned about the three r's. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Everyone talks about the reuse and recycle parts but I haven't heard people talking about the reduce. W should reduce what we buy. We will make a bigger impact on the world by using less than using more and recycling it.
  • Vendela G_Na11bswe Vendela G_Na11bswe Oct. 14, 2013
    I had not heard about those before! Clever ;)

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Discussions Discussion Reuse & repurpose
Barbara A, May 19, 2013

Hello everybody! I’m Barbara from Požega, little town in Croatia. My total carbon footprint is 5661 kg of CO₂ per year which I find concerning. Average carbon footprint in my country is 5736 kg of CO₂ per year which is just a little above my carbon footprint. Since my carbon footprint startled me, first thing I decided to do to decrease it is to use the three r’s - reduce, reuse and recycle. I started to dispart plastic, glass, paper and organic waste and put them in different containers for recycling. I also talked to my mom, dad and brother about recycling and they decided to join me in decreasing our family’s footprint. We also decided to eat more organic food and to use paper or cotton bags when we go shopping so we can reuse or recycle it. One more thing we decided to do as a family is to reduce number of incandescent bulbs in our home and substitute them with energy saving bulbs. I hope I will suceed in decreasing my carbon footprint. :)

P.S. Check out this link, I hope it can help you in reusing, reducing and recycling! :) http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/pubs-reports/threers.htm

Barbara A
Comments (4)
  • Barbara A Barbara A June 11, 2013
    I try to reuse different things as much as possible and I also recycle. I don't watch TV often. I also turn off lights whenever it's possible.
  • Lauren H - USA Lauren H - USA Oct. 5, 2013
    Hi Barbara, I am really impressed with your carbon footprint. It's really good that you are below the average for your area. It's awesome that you are recycling a lot; I think it would be so beneficial to people all around the world if there were more of those recycling bins that have separate compartments for different kinds of recyclable materials. I think more materials would be recycled if this happened; lots of people's carbon footprints would be reduced.
    Also I like the idea of the reusable grocery bags; however, whenever my mom and I go to the grocery store, we try to use the reusable bags but we always forget to bring them along with us! And we can't seem to find a way to remember to bring them. Any suggestions?
  • Breanna Purzycki Breanna Purzycki Oct. 14, 2013
    Hi barbara im breanna from the United States and your carbon footprint is very impressive! As a nation its great that you guys are collectiveley low and even better than you are even going further and are below your national average. Here in American our numbers are unfortunetley much higher, and i hope that as a nation we can move forward to more sustainable living as you have. Our averages for transportation are 3927kg, food is 3739 kg, purchases is 623 kg, and home is 7026 kg. As you can see we are living much more unsustainable that the citizens in your nation and we need to work to reduce our huge footprint!
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Discussions Discussion Reuse & repurpose
Katie K-USA, Oct. 1, 2012

Whenever I go to the grocery store, (and I pretty much go every other weekend), my mom and I bring those cloth-like reusable bags, and we use every single one. We get A LOT of food, so we bring about 12 bags. We use those bags every time we go. And of course, we use the plastic bags we do end up acquiring from different stores for trash around the house.

Katie K-USA
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Discussions Discussion Reuse & repurpose
Kathryn Criaco, Nov. 26, 2011

There is no reason not to reuse and recycle. Many people think it is really hard because you have to put a lot of effort into it, but you don’t. According to Utah.edu Americans throw away enough garbage to fill 63,000 garbage trucks a day. Unfortunately I never really recycled before this project, but after reading all the ways to recycle and researching it I see how useful recycling is. Recycling saves money and landfill space and it reduces energy use, fuel use, and the rate of global warming. It also improves efficiency, air quality, and water quality. By just recycling one ton of aluminum, 14,000 kWh of electricity, 1,663 gallons of oil, 237.6 million Btu’s of energy, and 10 cubic yards of landfill space can be saved. Recycling one aluminum can can save enough energy to run a TV for three hours. Now think about how much resources could be saved if people recycled all of their glass, paper, plastic, cardboard, and steel. The website linked has a lot of information about how much each material saves and how much Americans waste. It helps you realize why recycling is important.
Reusing is also important and there are many organizations to help with this. I know this because when I was in fourth and fifth grade I grew a lot and at the end of each of those years I had a lot of clothes that had not really been worn, but did not fit me. Donating clothes is not only a good deed, but is also very good for the earth. One store that I think is a really good charity is the Interfaith Hand Me Up Shop. This is a nonprofit shop that funds community outreach programs, such as helping un or under employed people with living expenses, elderly outreach programs, meals on wheels for South Montgomery Program, and family crisis intervention. I work in this shop sometimes for NCL, all of the employees are volunteer and they sell donated clothes for a cheap price. I think this is one of the best stores because it helps fund majority of the charities around where I live, but there are also places like the Salvation Army and there are some places that even pay you for your clothing, like Playdoughs Closet.

http://students.arch.utah.edu/courses/Arch4011/Recycling%20Facts1.pdf
Kathryn Criaco
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Discussions Discussion Reuse & repurpose
Emma B-USA, Nov. 25, 2011

There is no stopping some people when it comes to fashion. The new season, latest trend, and the newest style requires buying more new clothes. I know I love to shop and many people do. But what do you do with your old clothes that you don’t want anymore. According to http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.115-a449, “Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year, and clothing and other textiles represent about 4% of the municipal solid waste.” Now all that clothing that you don’t want anymore could be put to good use by giving it to the less fortunate or donating it to good causes. Before I do my shopping every season I clean on my closet, I take the clothes that don’t fit, I don’t like, or are out of style and I either give them to Good Will or some other clothing donation site. Another thing I love to do is donate some items to places where people up-cycle clothing. By up-cycling clothing you can turn out-of-style pieces in-style clothing. Any of these ways to recycle, re-purpose, and for others to reuse your out-of-date clothes is really helping your carbon footprint. It’s great to have to new trends and show your style, but make sure you’re being eco-friendly about where your old clothes go. What are some organizations you like to donate your clothes to?

http://www.goodwill.org/
Emma B-USA
Comments (2)
  • Hannah U-USA Hannah U-USA Nov. 26, 2011
    I do the same thing. My family loves to donate anything we do not need anymore to Good Will. I also donate things to Purple Heart. This is another foundation that gives to the military families that need help. http://www.mophsf.org/donate/ There is no point to have clothes sitting in your clost that you will never wear again. This is a great idea that everyone should do.
  • Tori B -USA Tori B -USA Nov. 26, 2011
    Donating clothing is such a great way to reuse the clothes. Also, people can design and sew new clothing from old material. The new clothes really look great, and design and sewing are great hobbies. So, it is a fun way to reuse clothing! Here is a great link on “do it yourself fashion” that can answer some questions on designing and sewing your own clothes.

    http://diyfashion.about.com/od/diyfashion101/u/Clothing.htm

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Discussions Discussion Reuse & repurpose
Alex A-USA, Nov. 20, 2011

Although recycling is a wonderful way to prevent landfills from overflowing with plastics, paper, glass, and aluminum, there are more ways to help keep the environment eco-friendly. One easy way is to reuse those huge gallon water jugs that usually go in the trash can or recycling bin. At my grandmother’s house, we collect rainwater in her gallon-jugs, then use the water for her plants. The food that her plants make are then used in her delicious cooking! :) Donating clothes is another good way to help both the environment and those less fortunate to have new clothes. Every year, between summer and fall, my family gathers all our gently used or outgrown clothing and donates it to Goodwill. This helps us be both more eco-friendly and more charitable to others. I even wear my mother’s hand-me-down jeans, instead of her having to throw them away! Although it isn’t exactly “trendy” to wear my mom’s clothes, I’m helping the environment AND wearing jeans that I think are great! For more ideas on reducing, reusing, and recycling, here’s a link. It’s a little article that gives both ideas and information on becoming a greener person!

http://webecoist.com/2008/09/02/going-green-reduce-reuse-recycle-30-tips/
Alex A-USA
Comments (1)
  • Marianne R - USA Marianne R - USA Nov. 22, 2011
    My family goes to Goodwill and garage sales to find clothes to send to my family that lives in very poor countries. I recently started going to Goodwill to find old towels and blankets to donate to the local animal shelters. Each one is only 2 or 3 dollars!

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Discussions Discussion Reuse & repurpose
Taylor R-United States, Nov. 19, 2011

Since we are on the topic of reusing materials to reduce carbon emissions, I was thinking about how people throw away plastic containers before even trying to reuse them. I try to reuse plastic containers whenever i can, but sometimes these containers are dirty and need to be washed. So, I began to ask the question, “Can you wash some plastics in the dishwasher?” I researched the topic and came up with this verdict: you can wash some but not others. It depends on the thickness of the plastic and whether or not it will hold up to the heat and detergents used in the washing machine. Here is a helpful site that determines if your plastic is safe to wash.

http://guide.thesoftlanding.com/2009/10/23/is-it-safe-to-wash-plastic-bottles-and-dishes-in-the-dishwasher/
Taylor R-United States
Comments (2)
  • Christiane L-USA Christiane L-USA Nov. 25, 2011
    This is a great idea! My family has started recycling plastic tupperware after using them instead of throwing them away, but I didn't know that there were certain types that you could and could not wash.
  • Taylor R-United States Taylor R-United States Nov. 25, 2011
    I'm glad to hear your family is recycling and reusing plastic Tupperware! I too found that you coul only wash certain types of plastic!

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