Q. Do you recycle?
A. To be vegan in the truest sense means to do everything you reasonably can to reduce or eliminate the suffering of animals caused by man. It follows, then, that vegan ethics would move us to:
- reduce our use of plastics, which notoriously create hazards to ocean wildlife
- reduce our use of paper products, the production of which often involves habitat destruction
- purchase natural or sustainably manufactured items whenever possible, reducing animal-harming pollution
- reuse and recycle to prevent trash from robbing animals of safe, suitable environments.
But what if it’s not offered in your neighborhood? Use this handy tool to find a recycling center near you.
Store rinsed recyclables in the garage or on the porch and take them when you have enough to make it worth the trip. You might even get paid for bringing them in. The amount will be small, but usually more than enough to offset the amount you’ll spend on gas. Perhaps you can arrange to take turns with neighbor who’d like to recycle too.
What other simple steps can you take?
- Choose brands without wasted packaging. Have you ever noticed that some brands of bottled items (everything from over-the-counter medicines to hot sauce) will have a bottle inside a box, where other brands will simply have the safety-sealed bottle on the shelf? All things being equal, choose the brand without the waste.
- When selecting paper products - or items packaged in paper products - choose recycled. Also, use paper efficiently: keep old bills or flyers for scrap paper, use crumpled or shredded newspaper as packing material instead of Styrofoam peanuts or plastic bubble-wrap, and take only as much paper toweling or tissue as you need.
- Look for ways to reuse containers and packaging. Reusing glass jars, plastic bottles, and plastic tubs may be a no-brainer. But don’t stop there! Check out this slideshow of clever uses for aluminum cans. Or save cardboard to help start your garden.
- Reduce your consumption. Do you really need the new smartphone that just came out, or is the one you have working just fine? Can you find a sturdy wooden bookshelf at a second-hand store, rather than buying new? How about your clothes? Can you have that torn seam fixed by the local tailor, or take in those pants that have gotten loose?
- Add a fourth R to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” - repair. In our society, even high-priced items such as electronics, furniture, and appliances are treated as disposable. But before you replace that TV or dishwasher, isn't it worth looking into whether it can be repaired? It may end up saving you money and it will certainly help the environment.