By Eileen Connors
The environmental hierarchy is
reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce is
first because it is the most important.
Reduce is easily achieved, mainly by
working hand in hand with the second
level of the hierarchy, reuse:
• Reusing a coffee mug reduces the
number of disposable coffee cups and
lids used, which ideally means they
will no longer be manufactured, packaged,
transported and disposed of.
• Instead of using
disposable paper towels,
reuse a real cloth
towel, which again
will eliminate the
need for paper towels
to be manufactured
and disposed of.
• Reducing the number
of lights in a room
will reduce electricity
demand, and therefore
gases that are emitted
from electricity being
• Making juice from concentrate in a
reusable pitcher reduces all the plastic
juice containers to which people
have become accustomed.
So, reuse is essential to reduce and
keep us in a livable planet.
Recycling is last on the environmental
hierarchy, because recycling
creates pollution. In many cases, the
manufacturing process recycles one
product that never should have been
here into another product
that shouldn’t be here
either. Recycling is only
responsible when a product
is no longer functional
– not when people have
finished their short use of
a product or unnecessary
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