Think before you spend. I’ve heard it before, a thousand times over, and I bet you have, too: this concept of pausing before making a purchase in order to avoid buyer’s remorse.
A couple of weeks ago, while flipping through an issue of TIME, I came across a word that puts a new spin on this old adage. Have you heard of precycling?
Simply put, precycling is a way of reducing waste by limiting consumption. But it’s not just a way of saying, “Hey, don’t buy that.” Rather, precycling encourages you to consider the packaging whenever possible and make the most environmentally responsible choice. Let’s take ice cream as an example:
You’re next in line at your favorite ice cream shop and have your heart set on some cool, creamy hazelnut. “Cup or cone?” the guy behind the counter asks you. Assuming the temperature is not in the triple digits and you’re not going to be walking along cobblestone streets in high heels, you go with the cone for its edible receptacle. No paper or (gasp!) Styrofoam cup, no spoon, no straw, no lid. Just a little, biodegradable paper wrapper.
There are countless (easy!) ways to bring a precycling mindset into your daily life:
- Bring a travel mug with you to the coffee shop (or take a seat and enjoy your java in a ceramic mug)
- Buy the whole head of romaine lettuce rather than a cellophane sack of pre-cut leaves
- Squeeze your own orange juice (so much better than the stuff in a carton)
- Use the reverse side of your print-outs as scrap paper rather than buy a new notebook
- Say no to paper napkins, plastic forks, and wooden chopsticks with your take-out (You do have your own travel utensils, right?)
- Choose bar soap over a plastic bottle of shower gel
Maybe, like me, you’re already an avid precycler and didn’t even realize it. Just having a name to put to it makes it even easier to think of all the ways you can reduce excess waste or increase the return on your original investment. Really, the opportunities are endless.
What environmentally minded, economical changes have you made in your own life recently? Please, do tell. It’s the little things, I believe, that really add up!
P.S. Speaking of little changes, I highly recommend Vanessa Farquharson’s blog, Green as a Thistle, for oodles of inspiring eco-minded things you can do to greenify your life–including sleeping naked. Check it out.
© 2009 Good Karma Housekeeping. Because less really is more. (Image courtesy of mollypop via Creative Commons.)