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Mission Sustainable Challenge

Engage in the spirituality of sustainability. Sign up now and participate in a daily action and reflection challenge throughout the month of October. Read, act, and contemplate on your own, or attend events and reflect with friends and other campus community members. 

Click on the red text to see each day's full description.


Day 30: Recycle-->Reuse-->Reduce

Day 30: Recycle-->Reuse-->Reduce

A 3-minute video about Bea Johnson and her Zero Waste Family, an extreme example of a family who de-cluttered their lifestyle and focused on reducing and reusing as much as they can.

"Zero Waste - How green can you go?" is a short article about the family, published this year in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The 4 R's of Conservation are Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Respect, in that order. It's always good to recycle our waste, but even better to prevent creating that waste in the first place. That's why a reusable water bottle is favored over a plastic water bottle. Though the plastic bottle may be recycled, it's still a single-use item. By using a reusable bottle, we are moving up the chain of Conservation, and using less resources in our daily lives.

Hopefully you have been saving your unwanted mail since Day 3: Discover your thneeds. Rather than continue to immediately recycle these items, we are going to move up the chain of conservation and reduce them.

Catalog Choice is a great (free) tool to stop unwanted mail. Enter information about each piece of junk mail you've collected into the online interface, and wait. Catalog Choice contacts the companies on your behalf. You can track the progress of your opt-outs, and will notice a dramatic decrease in junk mail within a few weeks. The City of San Jose recently partnered with Catalog Choice as a solution for San Jose residents.

There are a number of other ways to reduce clutter and paper waste in our lives. Earth911's "Paper Cuts: 6 Easy Ways to Opt Out of the Paper Avalanche" offers some great examples of ideas to reduce and eliminate paper use.

How do you currently Reduce or Reuse? Are there other areas in your life where you could move up the chain of conservation (from recycling --> reusing, or from reusing --> reducing)? Could you take it further, as Bea Johnson has, and move from reduce --> refuse?

Contributed by Lindsey Kalkbrenner (Center for Sustainability)

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