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REUSE not Recycle

The Ecological Direction To Take

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

The other day I got a knock on the door from someone selling something. I normally don’t bother as they seldom sell something that I want, but this guy was a milkman from McQueens Dairies who was offering deliveries in reusable glass bottles.

As a teenager I worked on a dairy farm , and the cows were milked and then I manually filled and capped the milk bottles and created them up for delivery first thing the following morning. The only waste was the foil caps (which birds used to attack to get the cream , I think there was just full fat milk on the agenda then), but there was little waste , no need to recycle the packaging because we reused it.

While there is a huge push on recycling , reuse is, in my opinion , far more energy efficient and better economically. We have had disposable packaging thrown at us til it becomes the norm.

Imagine if you drove a car and then scrapped it after the journey, we reuse the car sometime for years and that makes economic and ecological sense.

Also when I was a kid we paid a deposit on pop (soda) bottles and when we took the empty bottles back we with got paid in cash or money off our next purchase. A local pub used to keep their empties in an unlocked yard, needless to some people , naming no names, took advantage.

Again this was reuse , not recycle.

My local allotment (Moorside Allotments , Newcastle) sell their home made jam in reused jam jars which we wash out and reuse, far more ecological.

We have a few local businesses such as Nil Living who describe themselves thus:

“Newcastle upon Tyne's first zero waste and refill shop providing sustainable and largely plastic free homeware and personal goods • Unit 173/175 the Grainger Market”

So you may have plastic storage containers , but if you reuse them that is ecologically fine.

We have been conditioned to be a throwaway society and the rubbish we produce is definitely not good for the environment , where it goes for landfill or is recycled . This causes much waste and unnecessary energy usage.

While there are times when recycling is a viable option , reuse can scale down the need for recycling and if you reuse then you see the benefit immediately and first hand., and when you send off your bin for recycling how sure can you be that the items you put in it will be properly recycled. I have heard tales of material for recycling being used as landfill or even sent abroad to whoever will take it for a price.

The immediate reusable items are glass bottles (milk and pop) and storage items for unboxed household products.

Many food products are still packaged when they could, in fact , be loose but at least a few places are doing that , but if you go to your local Market (in Newcastle we have the Grainger Market) you will see a lot less packaging and a lot more food you can drop into your own bag. If you go to your supermarket it’s likely that most of the fruit , vegetables , meat and fish will be packed in plastic.

We will still use things and produce waste but we should try to reuse where we can, it will save us money and make us feel better. We choose to recycle because it becomes somebody else’s problem to deal with. I am in that boat but I want to turn the tide and getting bottled milk is a very small step in the right direction.

While I have spouted reuse over recycling I will lead on this by reusing “Recycled Vinyl Blues” by the sadly missed Neil Innes written at the time of the 1970’s oil shortage meaning that some vinyl needed to be recycled to make records , although at the same time 12” vinyl singles appeared so go figure that one.

REUSE rather than RECYCLE


About the Creator

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

Weaver of Tales, Poems, Music & Love

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