Written by: Caleb Sinclair, Director Rowan County Government, Department of Environmental Management
Springtime is here bringing with it a fresh spirit of optimism and a feeling of renewal. This season gives us an opportunity to unencumbered our lives from the trappings of modern living. Spring is a time to simplify, rejuvenate and retool. One way we can do this is by exercising the springtime ritual of spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning represents more than just a seasonal home maintenance activity; it can be an opportunity to take stock of how we choose to live our lives by evaluating our otherwise overlooked habits of acquiring and disposing of “stuff”. Once you have decided which items you wish to part with during this process, think about the items in terms of their “useful life”.
Cull the items into the following categories: donate, repurpose, recycle or dispose. Ask yourself which of these items may find a second life with someone else. Which of these items have a utility other than for which it was designed (think creatively here). Lastly, think about items that are bound for disposal and decide what is the most appropriate method of disposal for these end of useful life items.
No matter which category your purged items fall into, take a moment to ponder one item from each category and consider how these items were created, what utility do they or did they serve, and what environmental or economic impact do these items have at the end of their useful lives.
By taking time to acknowledge our habits relating to ‘stuff’ as part of our spring cleaning and sprucing up rituals, we may decide to retool our relationship with our possessions on some small level. We can use this seasonal opportunity to declutter not only our spaces, but we may also decide to liberate ourselves from generating superfluous waste as well. We can make a conscious choice to let go of some of our waste generating habits such as our reliance on single use plastics. Here are just a few for consideration; drinking straws, coffee pods, plastic cutlery, grocery bags, drinking cups, bottles and single serve convenience packaged items.
We can also renew our pledge to recycle materials that are acceptable through local programs throughout the year. This means keeping up to date with local recycling program capabilities and supporting them by only placing materials into the bin that are authorized by your recycling services provider.
Springtime gives us an opportunity to declutter our belongings and gives us a chance to begin again by discarding old habits that may adversely impact our environment. We can take this opportunity to replace those habits with more thoughtful choices that may yield less waste for our world.