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Waste Not, Want Not

October 18, 2014

Did you know that it’s waste reduction week in Canada?
I spent over 10 years educating people about the 3 R’s, and I look for examples of them in action wherever I go.  There is a really cool culture that springs up around trash.  Anyone can go to the store and buy something brand new that was designed and manufactured somewhere else, by someone else.  It takes ingenuity and skills to repurpose, revision, and reincarnate something that was discarded.  Isn’t that kind of creativity exactly what makes humans different from other animals?  The 3 R’s culture has exploded with the invention of maker spaces worldwide.  A makerspace just opened in my home town – woot!

My family has spent time in a little place outside of Puerto Vallarta called San Pancho that has really figured out how to used cast-off materials to enhance the community.  Entre Amigos has built a library, refurbishes old sewing machines and teaches local people how to use them, hosts crafting workshops that result in some beautiful, functional pieces (chairs, brooms, purses, toys!), and even hosts acrobatics classes by a former Cirque du Soleil performer.  On any given day, the place buzzes with people of all ages dropping off materials for recycling, taking part in a workshop or class, and shopping in the gift shop or secondhand store.  Did I mention there’s a coffee shop and juice bar on site?

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There’s another place I’ve seen that does recycling RIGHT.  Maybe you’ve heard of Hornby Recycles and their legendary Free Store?  To get to Hornby Island requires two ferry trips, so residents and visitors must be very conscious of what gets packed in and packed out.  The campground where we stay boasts an elaborate recycling station that sorts everything, including organics.  Very little waste actually ends up in the garbage there.  A visit to the Hornby Recycles central depot is a lesson in how to manage waste.  It takes work to sort materials appropriately, and time, but if you consider the amount of energy, effort and materials that went into the products we possess, it makes sense to carefully consider how to dispose of them.  Even if you don’t live on a tiny island, there’s no such place as “away”.  Trash that we send somewhere else becomes someone else’s problem, and with bulging landfills worldwide and a planet with finite resources. it makes sense to harness our human creativity to revision waste.  Happy Waste Reduction Week!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 18, 2014 9:46 am

    Lovely post .. Well said and such an important message. Good for you for spreading the word.

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