Reducing Re-using Recycling

I would call myself a latecomer to new technology. I dive in just as everyone else is moving on to the next thing. If what I am using works I will keep using it, it seems a waste to do otherwise.  I also have to admit to a bit of techno-phobia! I got my first smart phone, a 4S iphone, a couple of months ago, after asking if anyone I knew was upgrading their iphone to the latest newly released iphone and would be willing to pass their old, still functioning iphone on to me. A generous friend gave me their now obsolete phone. Thank-you Dave!

My idea of seeking out a second hand sIMG_0813.JPGmartphone is motivated by the desire to use resources economically, my financial resources and therefore my energy as well as the earth’s resources. I have a passion for recycling and utilising existing resources to minimise waste. I am a frequenter of markets and second hand stores and many of my clothes and furniture are acquired there. I love both the thrill of the search and the joy and satisfaction experienced in the finding of ‘treasures’. This winter a hand knitted poncho, in pinks and purples, tassels and trimmings, is keeping me warm most nights. It was a $4 purchase from the local church thrift store. Bargain!

I have a friend, Georgie who is the most amazing recycler I have ever met. Georgie and I met when we were both studying for a Masters in Social Ecology . She recycles EVERYTHING and is an inspiration to me. When I stayed with her it was the little things that struck mIMG_1360e and caused me to re think what I automatically do. She washes the clingwrap that she has used on a dish of food and re-uses it again and again rather than throwing it out after one use. I have always seen clingwrap as a one use item. Of course it is not!

Things are made not to last in our consumer society, producers of ‘stuff’ make more money that way. Our society has become acclimatised to using the earth’s resources as if they are unlimited and then discarding them into landfill, or into the ocean. Out of sight, out of mind. Future generations will pay the price for that.

I just bought a new printer from a local business ‘Inky Business’ that specialises in printers with refillable cartridges, my old one having finally died a while ago. I was told by the salesperson that these days the ink cartridges needed to feed printers are often more expensive tIMG_1043han printers themselves and so often people are discarding their old printers and buying a new one, instead of buying a replacement cartridge when the ink runs out. This saddens me.

Why buy a new cartridge (let alone a new printer!) when a cartridge can  be re-filled with ink? Yes I may have blue hands for a day or so and I can live with that. I re-filled the cartridge on my previous printer for years before I had to replace it.

The printer salesperson advised me that the producers of printer cartridges are now intentionally making their cartridges more difficult or impossible to refill, so they can sell more cartridges. They are designing them that way. Manufacturers are intentionally impeding the efforts of those who want to minimise the use of our earth’s limited resources. The salesperson said ‘this is outrageous, it should be being reported on 4 Corners’ . I agreed wholeheartedly.

I am going to have a go at re-filling my new cartridge for as long as I possibly can. And of course avoid printing at all unless it is essential.

If you have any novel reducing, reusing, recycling tips I would love to hear them.

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