Remember tubs of ice cream that got a second life as containers for soup (and misled more than a few of us in the freezer) and those faded plastic bags that just wouldn’t go away? Turns out our mothers were on to something – plastics deserve to be reused.
In this world of hot trends, fast fashion and disposable everything, reuse isn’t something most people are into. It’s ironic that while recycling campaigns are championed on the one hand, on the other, there’s an eagerness to not be caught dead in last season’s collection. Yet, the ‘relics’ of spring/summer 2018 are bound to reappear years from now, eagerly embraced as the look du jour even as yesterday’s Styrofoam cups host putrefying leftovers in the dark confines of an equally doomed garbage bag. It would appear that vintage fashion has gone viral but vintage plastic isn’t getting any love.
There are consequences.
Look around you, shopping bags float in gutters or clog them along with their siblings: empty bottles, sachets of water and a variety of wrappers. They stand out in mounds of refuse and are spread by the wind before the collectors show up. Streams are a slideshow of our junk. Rivers are choking on them. Oceans are home to more plastic than you can fathom and no, the fish aren’t willingly wearing them as decorative beads or sling bags. It’s killing them. Our ‘use it and toss it’ lifestyle is killing the planet.
Am I giving you a hard time about pollution? Well, I’m giving myself a hard time too. Deal with it. We all need a hard time on this subject, and we need to learn how to use things more than once. This is my Reuse Manifesto:
1. A plastic bag isn’t done till it is ripped.
2. If there’s a non-plastic option, I’m taking it.
3. There are two sides to every sheet of paper. Use both.
4. Old newspapers, new shelf liners.
5. Old magazines, new drawer liners.
6. ‘Disposable’ doesn’t mean organic.
7. I decide when to dispose, not the manufacturer.
8. Burning isn’t better than littering. Both are nasty.
9. Littering is beneath me, way beneath me.
10. Faded clothes are still clothes.
11. Your rejects, someone else’s vintage.
12. Old clothes, someone else’s new clothes.
13. Worn shoes can be resoled, repaired or restored.
14. Recycling isn’t just for hipsters.
15. The earth has given me a lot, I need to give a damn about it.
16. Get one water bottle to rule them all.
17. A water dispenser is a smarter choice than plastic bottles.
18. It is my responsibility to use responsibly sourced materials.
19. Junk isn’t junk till you junk it.