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Reduce and Reuse rather than Recycle? The New Way to Help our Environment

Reduce and Reuse rather than Recycle?  The New Way to Help our Environment
Recently, I helped my daughter with her school project and she came to me with the idea of doing something about plastic awareness. Whilst environmental change is well publicised, and sometimes feels overdone, it has got me thinking about what we can do, collectively, to help make a difference. It can be difficult to implement massive change, but I know, and I’m sure you do too, that there is a lot more that can be done, particularly on an individual level.

Did you know that last year, China implemented a ban on foreign waste and recycling, so we in NZ had to find somewhere else for our recycling to go? Whilst recycling is great, we should be thinking about reusing and reducing.

Looking around the number of office buildings here in Auckland’s CBD, the amount of paper and plastic being produced must be off the charts. However, if everyone did something, just one thing, it would make a difference.Here at OCG, we have introduced ‘method bins’ to improve our rubbish solutions.Not only does it mean our rubbish is sorted properly but it ensures we get away from our screens more frequently. We also use tablets to view digital CV’s when interviewing - It may seem small, but it helps to reduce the amount of paper we use each day.

So, what can you do differently? There are some obvious ways to start. Whether it’s “Think Before You Print” initiatives to reduce the amount of paper in use or turning off computers at the end of the day, carrying re-usable bags or bringing lunch in a glass container, a lot of the time it’s just the little things that people do without thinking.

It’s not just the corporate side though as there is so much we can be doing personally. Think about your morning coffee – do you automatically go for the takeout cups, or have you started taking your own 'keep-cup'? How about taking your own container along when picking up your lunchtime sushi? Soon, it will be common to take our own containers to the supermarket and give it to the deli for your coleslaw each week. Most of us use recyclable bags now – it’s the norm – so why not take it to the next level? And if you’re justifying reusing plastic bags to line your rubbish bins at home, you may want to try this.

What do you do (at work or home) to do your part for the environment? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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