The 3R's & The Buyerarchy of Needs - A World Ready to Change
The awareness of single-use plastics and their terrible effect on the environment has become an incredible driving force of late. In fact the word single-use has just been named the 'word of 2018' by The Guardian.
It’s no longer just your avid environmental campaigner or Greenpeace supporter, that are taking steps to protect the planet, but everyday people like you and I. A new generation of eco-warriors who are ready to change. You see it doesn't always have to be huge overblown initiatives and impressive engineering like The Ocean Cleanup’s system 001. Taking ownership and responsibility for how we live our lives day to day can have a huge impact and changing our habits is the only way to help prevent future deterioration of the planet. It's time to be more mindful.
The movement is growing. People all over the world have begun making permanent changes to how they live their lives in an effort to help protect the earth for future generations. Thanks to wider media attention on the subject, and greater awareness driven from people like Sir David Attenborough on the internationally acclaimed Blue Planet 2, momentum really is building.
The 3 R’s
This is a brilliant fundamental principle that should be used to underpin our daily decisions. Not only does this trio provide sage advice, but it must be followed in order to have the greatest effect in saving the planet. The 3 R's are on many school curriculums now.
- Reduce –
In all instances, we should first look to reduce our waste. How can you make do with less? Is there an option that uses less packaging, less air miles, less water and energy to produce it...? This will also make us take a closer look at what we consume in everything from food and drink, to clothing and media. This is where we might switch to a digital subscription rather than print, for example, where we seek out our local Repair Cafe rather than buying a new toaster.
- Reuse –
This can be game changing and by it’s thrifty nature could also bring you financial savings at the same time. Reusing existing items like glass jars and cloth bags is excellent practice, as is investing in good quality reusables like water bottles and food containers which prevent you from having to pollute the world with single-use plastic. Items like reusable coffee cups also mean you can refuse that take out coffee cup, without having to forego your caffeine fix!
- Recycle –
Finally, if we have already exhausted the first two R’s, then we should look to make sure whatever waste we do have, we recycle. This might mean choosing a product in the supermarket that comes in recyclable packaging, but it could also mean repurposing an item for a different, secondary use. A glass jar from a candle as a make up brush or cotton bud holder, for example. Pinterest is teeming with upcycling ideas.
The Buyerarchy of Needs
This clever, and slightly more detailed, view of the 3R’s can be seen in a reimagined version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, known in sustainability circles as The Buyerarchy of Needs. This pyramid works in much the same way, encouraging you to always work from the bottom of the stack, only making purchases once all the other options have been explored.
We start with ‘use what you have’, sometimes we don’t actually need something new. If we don't have something that will suffice, then look at borrowing from a friend. This might prompt us to perhaps swap an item we don't use much anymore, but still has plenty of life left in it, for something we plan to make good use of.
Thrifting comes next, an American term for second hand shopping. If we can't find a second hand option, perhaps we can make it ourselves. Then finally, if all other options are exhausted, we can look at buying something new. Obviously we would love you to purchase ethically and have done your research into the most eco-friendly option!
With conscious consumerism rising to the fore, these are exciting times indeed.