Gardener Norman Redcliffe and the CVRD are partnering in a new program that will see some plastic containers diverted from Bings Creek recycling centre to be used as plant pots. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Gardener Norman Redcliffe and the CVRD are partnering in a new program that will see some plastic containers diverted from Bings Creek recycling centre to be used as plant pots. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Editorial: A closer look at the second “R”

This is where we as individuals can make some degree of impact

Sometimes the whole problem of cleaning up our environment and addressing climate change can seem completely overwhelming, particularly when we take a look at how much waste we produce.

But this is also where we as individuals can make some degree of impact. There is no one all encompassing solution, so every little bit counts.

The first “R” of course is reduce. As in reduce the amount of things we consume, and then discard.

But today we’d like to talk a little about the second “R”: reuse.

All too often we buy a container of something, use up what’s inside, and throw the container away. Usually, that container is made of plastic. If people are conscientious, that container may make its way into the recycling bin, and eventually find a new life as another product. But it’s become more widely known in recent years that a lot of this plastic never gets a second life at all, instead ending up in the very landfills someone tried to redirect it from.

Of course we need to look at cutting down on our single-use containers, but that’s not always possible. Which is why gardener Norman Redcliffe’s new project taking things like used yogurt containers and repurposing them as plant pots is such a wonderful idea. These plants will then be sold to raise money for various charities. Depending on their condition, we can see these containers being used again and again. At the very least a second use is better than the alternative.

We think the only problem Redcliffe could have is the sheer number of containers donated to his cause. We foresee an avalanche of empties coming his way.

Another plus in the reuse column are all of the thrift shops in the Cowichan Valley that have a wonderful selection of everything from small appliances to dishes, home decor to the big one: clothing.

On the subject of that last one, it’s an excellent idea to donate your used clothing to a thrift store when you’re through with it — if it’s in good enough condition, that is. But what about things that are worn out? There are alternative uses you can consider for these as well. In days gone by people would have saved the fabric to make into quilts. Also in times past, and the thrifty among us still do, worn out clothing in suitable fabrics would have been torn or cut into pieces to be used as cleaning cloths, since clothing tends to wear out in the knees and elbows, for example, leaving the rest of the fabric still usable.

Just a few things to consider before tossing things out.

Editorials