Making Recycling Sexy!

We have all heard it a thousand times, reduce, reuse, recycle and most of us agree it’s important. But other than putting stuff in the recycle bin we don’t often consciously do much to practise this.


I believe this is because we are disconnected from the process. We don’t really know what happens when we put something in the recycle bin and it’s not really that exciting. Well, I want to tell you a way that you can be a good environmentalist while feeling connected and having a bit of fun too. That’s right, I’m telling you how you can make recycling sexy! Now, I’m not talking about reducing the number of clothes you wear (like the always shirtless Putin who’s clearly very into reducing his footprint). No, I’m talking about “gamifying” it, or turning it into a game. I’m going to give you 2 great ways you can do this, in the hopes of getting you excited about the 3R’s!

One of the most satisfying  things in the world is beating your friends at something and feeling like a champion. Unfortunately as you get older and you don’t have grades and athletics to compete in, your options for this victory get limited. However the 3R’s can help here! You can challenge your friends to see which of you can produce the least amount of trash over the next month (or whatever time period you wish). If they don’t agree, feel free to make chicken sounds and embarrass them until they do. You can make it a bet and say that the one who loses has to buy dinner for the winner. If you don’t want to put money in it, you can settle on something like the winner gets to put an embarrassing post on the loser’s social media. There is lots of options for what you want the challenge (you could make it the person who recycles the most or reuses the most, etc.) and punishments to be. Now, if you want to make it a personal challenge you can do that as well. You can even make money from it!

When I was in high school, I wanted to have more pocket money so that I could get some of the cool things my friends had like gaming consoles. But, being a very lazy teenager I didn’t want to work a part-time job. I decided to test my sales skills and see how far I could “trade-up” by buying something online and then trading it on a site like kijiji for something else. I purchased a 5$ set of headphones, made a nice ad for it and put it on the site. I managed to trade this for a broken wii console. I examined the console, ordered a 2$ part and fixed it up myself. I took a controller that we had lying around from a wii that we previously had and  then created another nice ad and eventually talked someone into trading my wii for a brand new PS3 with 2 controllers. Ta-da! I had what I wanted and it cost me less than 10$ total. The great thing about this was that at every step the items were reused. So the headphones I got went to somebody else as did the wii, meaning that the footprint was reduced as well. I know that many of you have an entrepreneurial spirit so I challenge you to take something small like a pair of headphones or an old shirt and see how far you can go! You can make this a challenge with a group as well!

Implementing Recycling, Reducing and Reusing is vitally important for the state of your planet, but it doesn’t have to be boring. I encourage you to pursue some of the things I’ve talked about today and recycle and have fun doing it! In fact, in honour of Use Less Stuff Day on November 17th, I challenge my colleagues at TrustedClothes to the reducing challenge, let’s see which one of us produces the least waste. Let’s do it! 

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About the Author

Aazir loves to explore many fields of knowledge, especially the 4 P's: Physics, Programming, Philosophy, and Poetry. At anytime he can be found producing code, perusing epic poetry, pontificating about Plato, or pondering multiple dimensions. He's an award-winning public speaker and is passionate about speaking out on social justice issues.

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