The majority of people seem to have missed the point of 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.' The three words are in order of priority, with the intention that recycling is a last resort for anything left after reducing and reusing.
Instead, we seem to think that if we recycle then we're justified in buying more stuff! It's like it allows us to continue our existing habits and side-step the real need, which is a total upheaval of attitudes and practices at all levels of the production and consumption chain. Recycling does little to reduce consumption and uses energy to enact.
And, well excuse me, but Who Needs New anyway?
For some kick-up-the-butt inspiration toward changing your practices or the practices of others, here are some links to watch and pass around.
The first - 'Unravel,' produced and directed by Meghna Gupta - takes us into the factories in Panipat, India, where millions of garments, many in barely-worn condition, are shredded and recycled into thread. Watching these clothes pass through an initial slash before transport (so that no-one steals them from the buyer) and then be put through various machines to rip, cut and tear all zips and buttons from them, after all the underpaid effort and resources invested in making them to start with, made me feel physically sick!
The workers doing the sorting and operating the machines make comment about Westerners: "They buy so many clothes abroad. In England, America, Japan. They live according to their choices. They are in complete control of their lives. No-one restricts them."
Another comments that he can't understand how people need to buy so many clothes when they are already beautiful. (Good point!)
There are many other docos that we might pass around in later posts. But here's something a little different - our second link is an award-winning mini-movie by Nathan Collett called 'Picha Marangi,' about real-life Kenyan photographer Stephen Okoth, who spreads hope and colour by strutting his inimitable style created by Westerners' cast-offs throughout his low-income hometown. Love the funky music and the voice-over! This is true reuse and recycling.
Both these stories are about waste but also about culture. How having a culture of 'don't need new, can be happy with what's here' will make a difference to our level of fulfilment and to the health of our planet.
Visit Da Loop to reuse one (or more!) of our beautiful pre-loved items.