Wednesday, 26 August 2009

TLBG: Reduce, re-use, recycle

I've been reading with interest Emma and Rachel's new blog, That Little Bit Greener.

Sustainability is something I've been interested in for quite a long time. And I've learned that the mantra reduce, re-use, recycle is in that order for a reason. Whilst our family does participate fully in local recycling schemes, I'm aware that in fact, recycling is the least environmentally effective of these three possibilities (but still much better than chucking stuff into landfill).

In terms of resource use, reduce is better than re-use, and re-use is better than recycle. As an example, it takes more energy to melt down and recycle glass into new bottles, than to sterilise a milk bottle for re-use.

Unfortunately, in the modern western lifestyle, reduce seems the hardest of all to achieve. It means getting a grip on your shopping habit, and not buying stuff in the first place. I can't claim fabulous success at this, but I have made a little progress.

I love reading, but last year, I vowed to stop buying new books. I've bought only one new book since then (The Hummingbird Bakery Cook book, and only because there was no other way of getting my hands on a copy that I would actually be able to use in the kitchen). I'm still reading as much as ever, though!

The public library is a good solution, although being rather forgetful, I often get stung for late fines. So I tend to patronise charity shops. I'm lucky to have an Oxfam bookshop near me, which has a large selection.

I also recommend joining Bookmooch - an online book exchange scheme. This works using a points system - no money is involved. You get a point for every book you send to another person, which you can then swap in exchange for books you want to read. This way you can read (almost) the latest novels for the cost of posting off a few of your previously read books. I've also successfully sourced new-ish books for my teenage daughter off there.


  1. Great post, and thanks for joining in. It's so true, our society seems to be obsessed with buying new "stuff", most of which is completely unnecessary. I am trying to change my habits to live by the mantra "want what you have, not have what you want", but it is tough sometimes!

  2. Interesting link. I love books and could no way give up reading - but I really don't care whether they're new or second hand.

  3. It is so difficult to reduce, with all the packaging that seems to surround everything. Bookmooch sounds really interesting, although we do use the library regularly especially during the school holidays. I'm going to pop over there now and have a look.

  4. Great post. It's all about attitude. I too stopped buying new books. I find great vintage books in charity shops and have joined the library. x