Graph by Lloyd Alter
I am very sorry that I am unable to attend the ReuseConex conference next week; some are calling it the Woodstock of Reuse. I have always made the case that it is far better than recycling, which I consider little more than a shifting of producer responsibility to the consumer and the taxpayer. That's why we promote reuse, refill and repurpose. Now MaryEllen of ReuseConex Conference gives us another reason to promote reuse: it's a terrific green job generator.
Reuse is the recovery of materials and products for the same or a similar end use, and it offers triple bottom line benefits. Reuse decreases energy consumption, saves the embodied energy of manufactured goods, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, conserves natural and man-made resources, provides quality products to those with limited means, offers businesses and individuals with tax benefits, and supplies sales taxes which contribute to the economy.
Reuse is also a job creation leader, that is, when you manage 10,000 tons of materials, incinerating creates 1 job; landfilling creates 6 jobs; recycling it creates 36 jobs; and reuse of these same materials can create 28-296 jobs (source: US EPA, Institute for Local Self Reliance).
So as we have noted before, practice the 7Rs: reuse, rot (compost), repurpose, repair, return, refill, refuse (to purchase overpackaged, disposable, single-use junk) and last but not least, recycle.
More on ReuseConex and Reuse in TreeHugger:
Upcoming ReuseConex Conference Covers the Important Rs
Book Review: Designing for Re-use, The Life of Consumer Packaging