Just because it is recyclable, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to buy…especially if you don’t need it. Does the concept of recyclability give some an excuse to over-consume? Even if something is recyclable, it still has to be designed, made, shipped, consumed, shipped to a facility, recycled, and transformed into something else – that’s a lot of energy and resources still being used for something that could be, in a roundabout way, encouraging some to buy more than they need in life and thinking that it’s OK because the item in question can be recycled. It’s something I have been wondering about for some time now, and I am not sure there is a good way to find out if it’s true.
The key to being truly eco-friendly is to only buy what you need to live; but we all know that everyone also buys some things that they want. And there really isn’t anything inherently wrong with that, as we are human and we want nice things in our lives. But it’s when people buy way more than they need, using more than their fair share of resources, that it can have a negative effect on the rest of us. However, could this new focus on recycling everything actually be increasing our consumption of “stuff”, just because it is supposedly recyclable in the end? Everything from plates to electronics to houses to cars is being marketed as “green” and “recyclable”…so are we buying more of it because it feels OK to do so?
An amazing amount of effort and raw materials goes into everything in our society, so cutting down on consumption goes a lot further in cleaning up our world than recycling does. I am not saying that recycling is bad; in fact, I wish more of our “stuff” could be recycled. But I do worry that the mass-marketed green movement is encouraging some people to consume even more in the name of being eco-friendly. What do you think?
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