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Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle – Part II

This slogan is often repeated, but what does it mean in daily life?

Our last article revealed how to reduce our waste products; now we’ll look at ‘reusing’—another important way to manage waste.

When we reuse, we’re consuming zero energy to recycle, and giving new life to ‘cast-offs’ normally headed for the landfill, incinerator, or trash heap.

Repurpose: Glass jars, tin foil, newspaper, cardboard boxes, scrap-paper, plastic food containers, water bottles, straws, cutlery, and—importantly—plastic bags are just some of the items at home with ‘new use’ potential.

Donate/Sell: Instead of throwing out clothing, toys, and household goods, why not trade, sell, or donate them? The BVI Red Cross, Family Support Network, or a church/social organisation can repurpose donations, and L&L’s Consignment Store can help sell used goods. Posting on Facebook’s BVI Recycle Exchange and BVI Bring & Buy can also give items a second life.

Repair: Let’s bring back a BVI tradition and try to fix broken things before just tossing them out. For example, the BVI’s Radio Doctor will repair items they sell; a great strategy to reduce toxic electronic and bulky appliance waste. Also, when you buy, look for quality, a repair warranty, and energy-saving products.

Return: Two businesses providing discounts when you bring back containers are Sageroots and Island Roots. Look for more BVI businesses with this policy and support them. Also, Green VI are advocating for a Bottle Bill which will pay a refund for returns – watch out for it!

Storm Debris: Companies such as Sail Caribbean and many, many individuals continue to make the laudable effort to reuse wood, metal, and other remnants from the 2017 hurricanes in fun, creative ways. Efforts such as these are small, but significant steps to decreasing the mountains of storm debris. If more of this thinking was applied, we could reclaim valuable materials, significantly reducing the risk of toxic fires and associated health implications.

Resource Depot: Green VI now seeks funding to imitate our neighbouring not-for-profit on St. John, Island Green Living Association. For many years, they have successfully diverted windows, doors, ceiling fans, toilets, sinks, flooring, appliances, and tools from the landfill and sold these items at up to 80% below retail cost, with profits going to recycling efforts and the creation of green jobs. This type of reusing’ has—out of necessity—been practiced by individuals in the BVI for many years. We now seek to centralise, expand, and improve these efforts with a non-profit Resource Depot where recycling best practices are the norm.

A Creative Journey: Learning to reuse our waste is a creative journey we can take together to show how a little imagination can make a big difference. Examples already abound in the Territory: used doors, furniture, and textiles at Lady Sarah’s; a décor of repurposed pallets at Soup; and old tires used for planters and borders in many gardens. Keep a look-out for more examples, and feel free to imitate.

We Recycle!

This critical practice will be our focus next time. Meanwhile, check out greenvi.org to see where your closest recycling points are on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.

Photography courtesy of Green VI

Charlotte McDevitt

Charlotte McDevitt

Executive Director at Green VI
Charlotte is the executive director of Green VI, a non-profit organisation that works toward a greener, cleaner and healthier BVI, finding balance between development and conservation of the natural environment.
Charlotte McDevitt
Charlotte McDevitt

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