The 4 R's: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and then Recycle

Most of us have learned that there are 3 R's in the process of creating and maintaing a comprehensive recycling program. Though this has been a good start for educating and making recycling a more mainstream concept, it is vital to recognize the ultimate goal of this type of program; eliminating waste!

To eliminate waist, we need a clear thought process; steps in deciding if we are contributing to the waist stream or if we are helping to eliminate it.

The 4 R's:

1. Refuse: To refuse waist is often seen as a "radical" choice. As a consumer, the impact of refusing waist is a clear statement to the producer. This choice is a powerful one in that you refuse to take on the responsibility of waste and only wish to receive the wanted or needed product. 

2. ReduceAs you gain a better understanding of what waist is and the impacts it has on our natural, economic and social environments, reducing becomes a choice of consciousness. Reducing waste allows you to participate at any level.

3. Reuse: Using conventional waste to divert it from the waste stream offers a broad spectrum of savings. From plastic containers to shipping containers, the reuse of a product introduces a second life cycle.

4. Recycle: Though recycling is the last "R" in this though process, it has become the most commonly used element. Recycling is absolutely important in eliminating waste and will always be part of the ongoing process. Separating out recyclables from other waste is a responsibility that often lies with the end consumer. The problems that arise with recycling are usually the lack of knowledge and accessibility.

We all need to practice waste management and the 4R's are a process for us to reach the goal of eliminating waste.

I will be addressing each of the four steps in future posts to give you support and ideas in how to accomplish your individual and organizational participation. 

Question Water?

Our relationship with water has drastically changed in the "modern" world. Over the past century our access to potable (drinkable) water has increased dramatically and has given way to phenomenal population growth in arid (dry) regions. Agriculture, energy generation and water recreation have been determined by the surge of Federal projects and implemented by the Army of Civil Engineers throughout the 20th century. 

The significance of how we use water 
is more vital now than ever. 

Are the waterways and water sources realistic and sustainable?
Has the design of waterways benefited our future generations?
What are the short comings of the design and what steps do we take to improve it?

There are many questions that we should and need to ask ourselves to ensure our water is secure for a tomorrow.

In future posts, we will be looking at many angles of water sources, uses, and solutions to it's scarcity. Here's an interesting documentary about dams that recently came out in May 2014!

(Trailer / Screening / Purchase / Petition)
Also available on Netflix.

Why now?

I have been trying to figure out how to contribute my knowledge and skills to the betterment of society for many years now. Over the past five it has become very clear on the mission of my contribution, thus the creation and idea of Sustainable Awareness.

I came up with the name while I was taking my Permaculture classes in 2010 through Urban Harvest, at the University of Houston. I was looking for a concept to capture what I was learning. The word sustainable had become synonymous to permaculture, but was missing a key element that Permaculture Design really brought to the foreground for me. A clear sense of awareness.

I am a designer of many things and have often confronted elements that lack any acknowledgment to the design process. From who the audience is to where a product will end up after it's life-cycle, these are questions of design and design permeates through out all our lives.

So, back to the question. Why now?

It is time to acknowledge the elements that make up our design process.