This past weekend I participated in a local cleanup of trail along the Bronx River. (Grateful for the organizers Bag The Bronx and Eternile). There was the traditional litter items – snack bags/wrappers, bottles, and eating utensils….BUT then there were random items like outdoor chairs, clothes, and even a shopping cart.
A common word stayed in my mind during the cleanup and even on my way home. This word relates to how people treat our environment/outdoor spaces and how folks treat items they’ve been blessed with….. RESPECT
It was evident that at some point between a person holding an item and them leaving the trail area they literally threw Respect out of their mind. Just my two cents here but if one respects an outdoor space they more than likely won’t leave ‘trash’; If one respects an item they’ve been blessed with then they treat it right and dispose of it properly when it’s no longer needed.
I thought about it further and realized that the word RESPECT isn’t really mentioned when the concept of the R’s for zero waste are discussed (see images of the R’s typically referenced). Maybe it is an implied R, but it seems that it might need to become the 6th or 8th R. (Note there are two versions of the R’s of Zero Waste) . It seems that people need to be reminded that as they work on reducing the amount of waste contributed to the landfill they need to be respectful. Ideally — Respect Mother Nature and the outdoor spaces provided to us; Respect the belongings your given/provided with the mindset they are with you forever.
I’m interested in your thoughts on adding Respect to the collection of R’s?