Saturday, June 12, 2010

Repurpose, Recycle, Reuse: What's the diff?

I get a little mixed up these days.  I keep hearing "re-this" and "re-that" associated with various green initiatives.  My head is swimming with environmental jargon and news media talking heads!  The hype has fever pitched due to some very rattling events in the last 20 years or so.

Even so, there are some people that just don't buy the whole save the earth effort.  They have their reasons and I can understand why they are skeptical!  Still, we are creating waste, and we are going to run out of places to put it.  And even if you don't think the world will end from co2 pollution or dying wildlife, or global warming, well then thats just one more reason to keep it clean if it's going to be around for a while!  From the cleaning lady's perspective, it's only logical to simplify our lives and maximize our possibilities through waste reduction and creativity!

So what is the diff?  Many countries around the world utilize a system called The Waste Hierarchy.  It is a waste management and education system that is best represented by the 3 R's:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  The goal embedded in the system is one of reducing waste, reusing what we can, and recycling the rest so that we have less trash in our landfills and environment!
At some point, they also added "rethink" which was a plea to waste management authorities and citizens to prevent waste if possible and to reconsider other management techniques.  Repurposing was born around this time and I think it is fast becoming on of my favorite R's.

Say!  We've got a lot of R's piling up already!  Maybe its time to define some of these.
  • Rethink-  suggests that the current waste hierarchy is flawed.  See wikipedia for more details!
  • Reduce-   eliminating waste through the prevention or reduction of it's creation.
  • Reuse-  act of using an item more than once, either for the same purpose or a new purpose.
  • Repurpose-  to use or convert for use in another format or product.
  • Recycle-  processing used materials into new products.
  • Renew-  to become new or as new, to begin again, to restore to existence.
  • Regenerate-  reformed again and restored to a better, higher or more worthy state.
  • Replenish-  to fill or build up again, to supply fully

-------->Repurposing and reusing are some of the waste management options that I find most interesting and creative!  
This link supplies ideas on how to repurpose a lot of common house hold items!
 "Most Popular Repurposing Tricks of 2009".  My favorite was roof gutters used as trays under desks to hide cords and keep them off the floor!

Check out the next part in this series to see what artists are making and why!

1 comment:

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