Reduce, reuse, recycle during and after lockdown

Reduce, reuse, recycle during and after lockdown.

I start the day listening to the birds twittering outside. Lots of noise, and then that of a plane in the distance. Does it mean that we will be able to fly again soon? Maybe so, what a relief!

However, this might be detrimental to the environment, lots of air pollution again. How can we find a balance between the two? Our need to keep going, to be able to travel, to visit our loved ones living in other countries, as well as keep the economy moving with our work travel, on the one side; and nature, that slowly regained some space during lockdown, giving us some extra clean air, on the other.

How the lockdown has changed us.

The clean air, I have to say, is benefitting all, including us. How nice is it to step outside and see less cars, more bicycles riders? The bike shops are currently working non-stop. We ourselves are enjoying riding a bike, getting some fresh air every day, listening to the birds. We don’t own a car, usually travel by public transport nonetheless, but both the nicer weather, the less busy streets than normal, and the fact that the kids don’t have so many activities, allowed us to think: “Yes, bikes!”.

And we also explored: “Yes, baking!”, “Yes, reading!”, “Yes, decluttering!”, and so on.

The result is a cleaner home, a healthier diet, a simpler, nicer lifestyle. But just for a while, as things will go back to normal. “NORMAL”, what is “normal”? Well, as we are now on this path, I think there will be a new “normal” from now on for everyone. Each one of us will learn from this lockdown and come out changed, with new goals, new wishes. Maybe to continue baking, reading, riding a bike, working from home, or whatever we might wish to continue to do, or to continue to slowly change.

Reduce during and after lockdown.

Perhaps we will think deeper and limit our travels, asking ourselves if this or that trip is really necessary before booking it. Just reducing the amount of travel might still benefit the earth. As opposed to two trips per year, we might limit to just one, and so on. Reducing is key.

Reuse during and after lockdown.

Adopting the “think before you buy” approach might make us reuse what we already have. We have survived two months without going clothes shopping for example, right? Why not try and make this period last longer? Clothes shopping is not that necessary after all, unless we grow in size, which some of us might have very well done actually in this period.

Yes, impulse clothes shopping might make us feel good for a while, but then the good feelings disappear, and we are left with a hole in the pocket and the wardrobe full of unnecessary clothes. So yes, reuse and ask yourself before you buy something new whether you really need that garment.

A lot of swaps have happened in our community and in others too during lockdown. Groups of people, entire streets, towns even, created social media groups, with lots of posts of unwanted items looking for a new home elsewhere. Why buy new if someone else has the item you are after and is not using it? We ourselves gave things away and picked a couple of used items too. It is not embarrassing, and it actually really reduces the need to manufacture more, to buy more, to throw more out. So, reusing is also key.

Recycle during and after lockdown.

And what about this other very important word that we have been hearing lately more and more: recycle. The recycling bins did not get picked up twice in a row during lockdown in our area, so you can imagine the amounts of bottles, cans, containers of all sorts that were accumulating on the sides of the streets. That made me wonder: “What if they will never get picked up?”, but also: “Look at the amounts of containers we are all accumulating every day! Is this really necessary?” So, let’s practice mindful purchasing also in the food sector, trying to avoid plastic or unrecyclable packaging for instance, and let’s try to recycle properly, as the rubbish has to end up somewhere. We might eventually end up with a cleaner ocean too! Therefore, recycling is key as well.

To recapitulate.

We have learnt a lot during lockdown. Personally, practicing reducing, reusing, recycling has benefited me and my family, and I make my goal to continue this after lockdown. Before we commit to a new purchase or dispose of something, we should think for an extra moment to see how we can use any of these three practices to make our lives and the world we live in better.

For another article to help during this period, check out How to Keep Calm and Stay positive during these Uncertain Times