Recycling waste is one of the most basic services performed in natural ecosystems. One organism’s waste is another’s nutrient. A sustainable future means a human society that emulates nature. At Recyclique we think of re-use as a spectrum — ranging from traditional thrift and vintage products (eg. second-hand clothing) to the creation of practical products (eg. rain barrels from industrial containers) to the creative arts (eg. metal sculpture from old wire and hubcaps). Our shop features “upcycled” goods, which means both new products created from predominantly waste materials, and upgraded or refurbished/repaired products that otherwise might have ended up in the landfill.
While we are fans of recycling, many folks are not aware that re-use actually involves far less energy use and waste than does municipal recycling. Recycled products like paper and plastics are recombined in large mixed batches, causing them to lose utility when they are made into new products (which often use a lower-grade material). In addition, transporting recycling from the curb to the landfill, and then to an industrial buyer’s site uses fuel and creates carbon emissions. Also, many consumer products are not easily recycled.
Both recycling and creative re-use have the potential to create new local jobs. That’s a win-win strategy for environmental justice. See our green job page for more on this exciting synergy!