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Forget the three Rs: Time to embrace the five

Most of us know the three Rs of Recycling: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Unfortunately, Recycling got all the air time when it should be the last resort. 

Move over recycling, and make room for two more Rs at the table: Repair and Refuse. 

Maybe the most important R of all is Refuse. It’s the place to start. You never have to worry about what to do with something if you don’t acquire it in the first place! This one is hard, though, because we have been acculturated to go after good deals and accept free stuff whenever offered. 

Okay, now let’s make friends with another R: Repair. As a society, we used to repair everything. There was no other choice. Many people didn’t have the luxury to replace things. They couldn’t go to Amazon and order a new one with two-day shipping. Somewhere along the way, we became a throwaway society. We didn’t want to repair things. And manufacturers started to design things with a limited life span, so we would be forced to replace them after a few years. This planned obsolescence started driving our consumption. 

Now there’s a growing repair movement, including drives to enact right-to-repair legislation. Visible repair with clothing is hip, and I’m here for it! 

Go forward and Refuse, Reuse, Repair, Reduce, Repair and then Recycle! 

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash