Refuse.

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”!  This is a phrase that has been drilled into our heads for what seems like forever; catchy and relevant.  Didn’t we call it the 3 Rs?  Many people would do well to still follow this common phrase, however, it has been changed over time and now seems a bit more relevant to me.  Now included is also refuse, and compost (or rot, but compost sounds more pleasant…).

Inspiration for my journey, as I have previously mentioned, has come from many different places.  I must mention a woman named Bea Johnson, author of “Zero Waste Home”.  This woman and her family are well-known for their quart-sized jar of garbage and drastic lifestyle changes to live a happier, cleaner, and healthier life.  She offers endless tips on how to zero-waste up your home.  The phrase she adds is, “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot; and only in that order” (http://www.zerowastehome.com/p/tips.html).

Today my focus is “refuse”.  Throughout our day-to-day lives we are presented with opportunities for “freebies”, as well as impulse purchases, which are attractively arranged on a shelf to make us feel the urge to need and the want to buy.  Many stores line the cashier aisles with extra products that we can quickly grab on our way to make our payments: chocolate bars, chapstick, little trinkets and cute gifts.  It surrounds us every day!  These kinds of purchases fall under the “refuse” category, which I think for many individuals is a very difficult thing to get into the habit of (for me too in the beginning).  Even at the dentist we are presented with free toothbrushes and floss!  Thanks, Doc, but do I really need 10 containers of mint floss?

What I have been doing for a while is always making a list when I go grocery shopping and taking my cloth totes with me.  That way I stick to the list, do not buy things I don’t need, and can refuse the plastic bags the cashier offers me.

We have been conditioned since we were young to want things that seem attractive to us, whether in the form of shelf arrangement, colours, or the good ol’ sales tag.  I have been quite successful refusing things I do not need.  My next challenge is to discuss the topic of gift-giving with my family.  Though I am grateful every year for their thoughts and efforts in gifting me things, I would rather not accept things, and much rather go on some kind of adventure with them.  Experience gifts are where it’s at 🙂 !

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