Many aspects of our lives have always been recycled and a particular object or building may have a great history, whether it is known to the new owner or not. Other aspects of our recycled culture are new and quite interesting as they present many environmental concerns.
Whether it is homes, cars, clothes, food scraps, jobs or previous partners, there is an emerging need to recycle everything in life.
Some things we recycle have always been that way – they present an undeniable recycling truth.
Take a home for instance. Homes are recycled time and time again and sometimes transformed drastically before the next round of recycling begins.
I am quite comfortable in the house I live in at the moment but when I think of how many people have been happy here before me, I wonder exactly what they loved most, and what they changed to suit themselves better.
Second hand cars make perfect sense. If a car is in good condition but the owner has outgrown it, why not sell it to someone who it suits more?
Recycled clothes are also exciting. Trash or treasure, the fact that these clothes once belonged to someone else may make the new wearer curious about the stories they contain. Did someone outgrow them, get tired of them or have to get rid of them for another reason altogether?
I have gotten better at reducing wastage of clothes and shoes over the years. I try to just buy what I need and make do with what I’ve got.
Minimising food wastage has become a necessary trend in today’s dining scene, and when preparing food at home. Most of us recycle leftover food and many of us use every bit of a vegetable when cooking, including the peel, sprouts and leaves.
Jobs are another interesting element of life that is recycled, especially when the modern workplace is so volatile, and knowledge is readily available.
A person may finish a job that they fitted well, that they had adapted to suit their skills and their life. When the person leaves, and a new person comes along, they will bring new ideas and a slightly different skill set, so the role may be adapted again to suit the new person.
Of course, this doesn’t happen everywhere. Many professions are black and white. It is clear what is expected each day and tasks may be somewhat repetitive. The people encountered on a day to day basis require the same amount of effort and the priorities rarely change.
I am certainly not underestimating the vital role such positions play but I’m not sure I could stay in a job like that for long.
One last topic I want to consider is the recycling of partners. Sure, there are some people who settle down with the first person they meet but most of us have had past relationships. We have all created different memories with another person, shared different jokes and been to different places together.
I think when it comes to recycling, people are the most difficult. Finding someone ideal for a job or finding a new partner or friend will always mean that the replacement has a shadow to fill.
When this shadow is filled, and a similar pattern of behaviours begin to occur, it can be decided if it fits.
People may be the most difficult to recycle, but they are not the biggest problem.
With waste management so topical today, I think it is important for this issue to remain front of mind.
We have it instilled upon us that waste is bad, which is a good mentality to have.
But most of us are guilty of creating unnecessary waste.
The first thing I am going to stop buying is coffee pods. These add up quickly and are not easily recycled and when there are so many other options available, it makes perfect sense to cut them out of my life. But the convenience of popping a coffee pod each morning is what makes me still use them. In minutes I have a delicious cup of short coffee to enjoy with my breakfast.
If we step back and allow ourselves to become slightly less self-absorbed and think about the real issues at stake, we can consciously make an effort to do something about it and reduce (or recycle) waste whenever possible.
That’s it, no more coffee pods for me!