Jargon Watch: Precycling
Creative Commons image by Irrational cat
The Guardian's Lucy Siegle puts together a list of 20 Big Green Ideas, including some great useful new jargon like Precycling and Transumption.
In a nutshell: The bottom has fallen out of the recycling market, so make it your last resort.
Creative Commons image by pboyd04
The clever bit: Precycling represents the stage before recycling and, unlike recycling, it expends little energy. Precycling happens at the point of purchase, and entails you choosing the product that comes in the least packaging (therefore diverting waste from landfill) or bringing along your own container or bag. Instead of buying packaged sandwiches, for example, take a lunchbox to work, along with cloth napkins and a reusable water bottle.
In a nutshell: Don't buy stuff – lease it.
The clever bit: It's consumerism, but not as we know it, because when transuming you pay for the service rather than the actual product. Therefore you get the benefits of the product, but you will never own it. A good example is the Interface Evergreen carpet available to lease by the month. "We sell only the services of the carpet," says the company website. "That's the colour, design, texture, warmth, acoustics, comfort under foot and cleanliness." Immediately this takes the environmental heat out of consuming, as the onus is put on the manufacturer to reuse, recycle and to make products that can easily be disassembled and changed – ie, more sustainable products. Research shows that when the product remains with the manufacturer, there is an incentive to produce more durable goods, as transuming puts the brakes on the shop-to-landfill consumerist cycle. The first buds of this trend are strongly in evidence with the Rent Not Buy movement. Begun in Anchorage, Alaska by particle and nuclear physicists Mr and Mrs Caius Howcroft, there is now a flourishing UK chapter rentnotbuy.co.uk