Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reduce, Reuse & RECYCLE

First Time Recycling Efforts: 14 plastic bags!
Recycling is the key component in waste reduction.  It is the first thing that comes to mind when we think about the environment.  By processing our waste, we "prepare" to prevent the over consumption of natural resources. 

The sustainability community embraces the idea “if reduction or reuse is not an option, recycling is your final option to waste”. This belief has become a meme; a meme is a concept or set of beliefs that is transmitted from an individual, group through writing, speech or in this case the ritual of recycling. 

The community recognizes the value of recycling: It ultimately lowers greenhouse gas emissions by reusing resource materials.  Virgin materials require more energy to process.  Dependent up the material type, energy saving can range from 5% to 95% by using recycled materials.
Waste Stream Rescue!

Sounds like a simple task, however, recycling is the most process heavy component in the waste hierarchy.  The ritual of recycling must be observed in order to participate in the sustainability community. Recycling is a significant point of contact that is an apparently shared practice or experience. Recycling includes a combination of activities such as:

  • Collection
  • Evaluation
  • Retention
  • Sorting
  • Consolidation
  • Categorization
  • Assemblage
  • Distribution
  • Trade

 Cultural literacy dictates members consciously address their personal impacts on the environment. Time is traded for the ritualistic processing of waste.  Individual recycling process is an outward display of respect for fellow members and the community.  

According to Sturken and Cartwrights' Ways of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture, recycling could be an observed shared practice that “makes meaning for the culture”.  Recycling is considered a sustainability community display or Archons. The archons maybe found in the prominence or placement of recycling containers, actual collection, and staging of items prior to the Ethnos of a shared practice. The level of the community commitment may be measured by the placement and number of recycling containers or amount of "rescued" resources retained. 

The initiation step to becoming a member of sustainability community is marked by the single item recycling.  This generally occurs due to the convenience and proximity of recycling containers.  It is followed by the good intention retention of items and consolidation for convenience of the recycling bins.

Full membership is recognized by the conscious effort to garner items to assist in the domestic retention/ storage/ garbage day pickup of recyclable items.  While the effort may occur in installment and require peer assistance, recycling is a signal for the respect of the Clemson University community.  This cultural practice is an outward manifestation of an inward principle and value.  

The Clemson Sustainability Community ultimately recognizes the larger scale implication in the evaluation of time, energy, resources and community purpose.  Respect is a shared core community value.  Membership is open and encouraged through modeled behaviors.  

1 comment:

  1. Yet more uncovering of the values and beliefs of your cultural group of focus!

    "Full membership is recognized by the conscious effort to garner items to assist in the domestic retention/ storage/ garbage day pickup of recyclable items."