The 4 r-s of sustainable usage

A guest post by Bob Rich
originally posted on Bobbing Around

1. Refuse

Do I need this thing? Can I continue with what I have? If it’s not satisfactory, can I live a good life and simply accept the imperfection, or can I modify things so I don’t have to throw it away?

Do I really need this service? For example, a holiday in an exotic place is great, but can I have just as good at time at home?

My happiness doesn’t depend on stuff. It doesn’t depend on newness, or neatness, or impressiveness, but on my reaction to such considerations. They only matter if I choose to have them matter.

“I could make that space so beautiful if I only bought this.” But can I make the space beautiful without buying anything?

“That useful device has broken down beyond repair. Do I really need to replace it?” Could I live, and live well, without its convenience? For example, how well could I survive without a car, given my circumstances?

2. Repair

Throwaway society throws away our future, and even our present.

Do I need to buy a new pair of shoes, or can I put new soles on the old ones?

What happened to darning socks?

Do I need to trade in the car because the engine needs replacing — or just repair the engine?

We are fighting so much! Perhaps we need to split and find new partners each? Or can we repair the relationship, and make it stronger, closer and better because we talked through our difficulties?

I don’t like the looks of that old couch any more. But instead of replacing it, maybe I can replace the upholstery.

Don’t toss it; fix it.

3. Reuse

That tissue is an issue; I use a handkerchief.

Throwaway plates, cups, forks and knives? No thanks.

How long can I make this cake of soap last?

Second hand is better value: much cheaper, and probably made from better materials with better workmanship.

It’s last year’s fashion — so what! I am not a sheep to follow the dictates of those who change the fashion so they can fleece people who take notice.

This radio or computer or phone lacks the wonderful features everyone raves about. It was leading edge just a few years ago. I can live, and live well, without upgrading.

4. Recycle

Recycle is the last resort, not the first. When all else fails, and I’ve had to buy something, and need to get rid of it at last, I’ll do my best to ensure it’s converted into raw materials for something else.

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About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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5 Responses to The 4 r-s of sustainable usage

  1. pennross says:

    An enthusiastic yes to all of the above. No one can believe I have been darning my socks for years. I’m an artist and am currently making found-art pieces using bits of rope, glass, and plastic or whatever crosses my path….I haven’t figured out plastic bags yet….maybe braided into a rug.


  2. I agree! I’ve been doing this for quite some time.


  3. Forestwood says:

    It is not hard to figure this out, Bob! Simple, practical and problem solve. The throw away mentality is so wasteful. I hate it!


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