The least of the three R’s

Recycling resides at the bottom of the three R hierarchy in terms of environmental benefit.  First comes Reduce, then Reuse, and then, finally Recycle.  Recycling is nice, but it means that some object was produced in the first place, often with the intent to be “disposable.”  When, and if, that item makes its way into a recycling plant (after consuming energy to transport it there), it requires inputs of energy, water, and other products to first break it down and then make it into something new.

So I’m kind of ashamed to show you this:

I’m not sure how we ended up with this many spent non-rechargeable batteries!  We only buy rechargeables, but products that come with batteries have disposables in the package.  It’s not like we use lots of battery powered “stuff,” but we’ve been saving these for awhile.

My church offered a battery recycling collection box — time for these babies to go!  I balked when I read that each battery had to be in its own plastic bag to reduce risk of fire/explosion.  I resisted my temptation to rebel and just throw the whole bag in there.  A bit more research uncovered an alternative to the individual bagging — simply place tape over the positive terminal of each battery — still some waste involved, but much less.  As an added bonus, I avoided having a burnt down church, or some poor postal worker killed by a battery-induced explosion, on my conscience.

In a bit of a recycling blitz, I also pulled out some old tennis shoes for a shoe recycling collection for the Shoeman Water Project.  Reusing or recycling shoes, and using profits to dig wells in developing counties?  Sounds good to me!

I delivered the batteries and shoes by bicycle, of course.  And now back to reducing and reusing 🙂