Eco-Conscious vs Money-Conscious: On Reuse & Recycle

It was a random evening in my friend’s place. He was collecting used cola bottles and told me he was going to put them to those recycling machine (here, in the Netherlands, you have those machines in supermarkets). I was like “Wow, you’re so environmentally conscious! I just throw them away,”. He replied, “No no no. If I put those in the recycling machine, I will get money… Several cents, I forget.”. Ah, so he is money-conscious.

eco–conscious
adj  marked by or showing concern for the environment
(here,  I also use the similar term environmentally conscious)
money-conscious
adj careful, economical

I am neither eco-conscious nor money-conscious, so I don’t have deep understanding in this subject. I live unplanned (and spend >EUR1000 per month, yes, I just checked my bank account) and don’t really reuse/recycle my things. But this is interesting: how a money-conscious people can be eco-conscious if there is opportunity to do so. Or, say, people who are money-conscious to some degree.

Let me put another example. Here, I am a fan of buying second-hand books (and apparently bicycles since I lost mine three times). While the first bottle case is about recycling, this second book case is about reusing. The difference between these terms lie in whether or not it is used in its original form (OK, I actually made this up, but I guess I am right. Too lazy to Google. The bottle will be recycled to be other bottles or other form of plastic, but the books will maintain their form, and used, as books). I usually make my purchase through bol.com or boekwinkeltjes.com. It’s in the internet, you pay online/by transfer to the seller, and the next 3 days you’ll get it in your mailbox. Super easy.

*Hey, I just bought my copy of Chomsky’s Syntactic Structure today. It’s from 1957, but the one I bought is sixth printing 1967*

I can imagine, those books are better transferred to their new owner rather than just being eaten by termite in an old dusty bookshelf. Another anti-mainstream example is my money-conscious friend I mentioned earlier in the bottle part; in fact I just met him today to give him what’s left aka chapter 3,5, and 8 of my Macroeconomics book which I printed myself (the Prof just give us the pdf). I mean, I won’t do that, I will just print it myself and tadaaa a tree is being cut down because I want it the easy way. If those prints stay with me, it will be in my pile of old papers that would be thrown away when I’m graduated.

Back to my topic. The point here is how we create the infrastructure or circumstances that will give incentive to people who are willing to reuse & recycle (ok, “reduce” is the better one, but I’m not talking about it right now). It can be the whatever recycling machine that gives money for your “garbage” or the easy-peasy online platform to trade used items. Initiatives like “Student sale in X city” Facebook group or Prelo ID should be treated not only as economical solution, but also ecological solution.

For the better earth, because we share this planet with every other living things and not only Homo sapiens.

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