This Earth Day, Donna Gumprich wants you to recycle less.
The days of the “3 Rs” are long gone, explains the owner of Chilliwack’s All Things Being Eco. Today there are 5 Rs, and recycling? That’s way down at No. 4!
Taking that single-use bag out of the equation first is a far more eco-friendly solution.
“We’ve got so many alternatives,” Gumprich says. “People just need to be aware that there are choices; there is hope.”
1. REFUSE: Reducing waste begins with refusing those things we don’t need in the first place. “Don’t bring waste into your home – say no to junkmail or that cheap plastic toy at the restaurant,” Gumprich advises. If you’re going to a restaurant, bring your own containers for leftovers.
2. REDUCE: Embrace streamlined living, and reduce the amount you purchase. Statistics suggest people only wear about 20 per cent of what’s in their closet, and of clothing that’s donated, about 80 per cent ends up in the landfill, Gumprich notes. Instead, buy classic, quality pieces that you love and will last, and rather than “things,” invest in experiences.
3. REUSE: Once you’ve committed to buying more mindfully, find new homes for things cluttering up your life. When it’s time to buy something new-to-you, consider second-hand shops. Choose reusable, washable cloth sandwich bags instead of throw-away plastic baggies, and opt for re-fillable containers to buy in bulk – with the added benefit of cutting down packaging waste! “There are 32,000 households in Chilliwack; if each one just reused one bottle four times a year, that’s 128,000 fewer bottles,” Gumprich says.
4. RECYCLE: All the way down at No. 4, “we only recycle what we haven’t refused, reduced or reused.”
5. ROT: All those other “Rs” are true for compostables too – don’t buy more food than you’ll likely eat and find ways to use or preserve fresh foods. Think too about what you can compost beyond what’s in the fridge, like dryer lint and floor sweepings.
“I like to suggest people think about what can they do differently and try to incorporate a little bit of Earth Day everyday,” Gumprich says.
Start small, don’t think you need to change everything at once, and stop by with any questions you might have, she says, pointing to a favourite quote from blogger and zero-waste chef Anne Marie Bonneau: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
Founded in Chilliwack in 2008, All Things Being Eco works to make the world a better place, one organic, ethically produced and locally sourced product at a time. Visit at 105-7388 Vedder Rd., online at allthingsbeingeco.ca and follow them on Instagram!