Recycling is when we find ways to reuse things we own. Precycling is a new term that describes the practice of avoiding waste by minimizing the items we bring into our house, that generate waste. In effect, precycling eliminates trash before it is created.
The concept behind precycling isn't new (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle at Home was written in 2009), so I'm hopeful that with a new word it will get more attention.
Precycling Involves Making Different Decisions
Precycling is about shifting your mindset, and making more informed purchase decisions.
- Do I need to buy this product, or can I find an alternate solution that reduces or eliminates trash? An example is using reusable cloths like eCloth, to clean your home versus paper towels.
- Can I use products that include recycled materials, or reuse something versus buying new? For example, there are many ways to reuse old doors and windows in new ways. (Read: Unique Ways to Reuse Old Doors)
- Are there ways to reduce or eliminate packaging which is more about American marketing than protecting the products you're buying. IKEA and Costco are good examples of retailers who don't provide bags for your purchases, with the hopes of encouraging you to invest in reusable grocery bags.
In fact the Japanese have fuoshiki's or wrapping cloth, which is used to wrap and transport many things. While I was first introduced to this concept because gifts come wrapped with furoshikis, I immediately understood and loved the concept. Instead of grocery bags or gift wrapping paper, you use a furoshiki from your stash, to avoid waste … and sometimes you get to pass along these lovely clothes when taking a gift or food to someone else.