I’d go for the one with the biggest economic and environmental impact, in combination with what people will pay attention to.
The best thing for the environment is never to purchase an item at all. Peeps ask what are environmental shoes, clothes, shampoo, etc. Well, the truth is none of them are environmental at all, some just have less impact.
Example? I had a car that someone “totalled” by smashing my front end. The insurance company gave the the money to buy another one. But I thought … why should I replace a car that works perfectly well, but just looks like hell? (The people at work with the BMWs weren’t very amused after a couple weeks. Lol.)
But the peer pressure was on me. So I spent over $20,000 to replace a car that — mechanically at least — didn’t need replacing.
But I have to laugh, considering my Politically Correct family carefully separating the biodegradable trash from the merely recyclable trash. They could spend their whole lifetimes separating trash, and never accomplish 1/100th of what I could have done, not buying a new car.
And it’s even more than that. My sister is a doctor, and she’s spending the few precious hours she has not at work taking in the neighbor’s vegetable leftovers and feeding them to her chickens. Chickens as pets are fine. Chickens as egg-layers are fine. But chickens as some PC effort to recycle a couple cents of brocolli?? That’s just terrible economics. And that’s what’s far too infrequently considered in recycling: When something costs a packet of money, or takes a huge amount of time: In a very real sense that’s electricity down the drain.
“Penny wise, pound foolish” is the saying.
Like freedsmooth says, you must be pragmatic in your approach to this. Reducing, reusing, and recycling exist together and feed into each other. Reuse of something, say a water bottle, reduces the supply and demand of plastic water bottles and also reduces the materials used to make them, and it could be made of recycled plastics. This is an extremely simplistic model, but extrapolated to the larger scale, it would have extreme impacts. In accordance with the assertion that you should focus on what people will pay the most attention to, I would say that it’s recycling and reuse. I don’t think it’s practical at this time to assume that industrialized countries will reduce consumption.
I would have to agree with the above comments on this one. The 3 R’s are supposed to be done in tandem, but as most first-world nations go, consuming less doesn’t necessarily seem too likely. We as a people simply need to step up recycling as much as we consume, so that we could at least come close to breaking even in regards to raw materials used vs. recycled materials used in making new items. In regards to the car example, I believe that fuel consumption technology improves with every new generation of cars, and so theoretically a newer internal combustion engine would extend its gas usage between fill-ups than an older car. So as an individual, you could use less gas to do the same amount of driving as you did with an older model. Hybrid cars should also be taken into account in some capacity as well. Also, you could recycle all the materials from the old car (metal, plastic, whole components, etc.) for something new, or used as replacement parts for similar vehicles. Perhaps in the future as we change to renewable fuel sources, conversion kits will become hot commodities for those wishing to re-purpose their old car for the new fuel medium. My answer would be to emphasize reuse (or even re-purposing) of existing things, and recycle what cannot be reused, so theoretically we could eventually even out our intake/output ratio of consumer goods.
Click here to cancel reply.
Sorry,At this time user registration is disabled. We will open registration soon!
Don't have an account? Click Here to Signup
© Copyright GreenAnswers.com LLC