Last month’s article on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggestion of expanding the 3 Rs of environmental awareness to 6 Rs — rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, or replace — sparked several comments from readers.
A little research into environmentally-themed publications such as Climate Wire, Down to Earth, EU Forest Watch, and Green Watch provided additional ideas for abiding by the expanded number of Rs. One writer suggested we rethink our attitude toward the convenience of plastic items versus the bit of extra effort to use metal or glass multi-use storage containers. Another asked that we refuse to purchase any product that is sold with excessive, non-recyclable packaging. Reducing the amount of waste we produce can be accomplished by not buying something we’re not going to use very often but borrowing or renting it, starting a compost bin, or subscribing electronically to magazines and newspapers instead of the printed paper version. Replacing items through habit should be, instead, thoughtfully considered through environmentally friendly eyes. Ask yourself if it is not just as convenient to substitute water-based instead of solvent-based paints, replacing paper/plastic cups with mugs/glasses, and paper towels and napkins with cloth ones.