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Saturday, March 24, 2018
Article written by Lillian Brummet

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – An Easy Household Guide ~ Book Review

I was very excited to review Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – An Easy Household Guide by UK author, Nicky Scott. Because my husband and I wrote Trash Talk, which is a similar guide written for North Americans, I was very interested to learn how individuals in the UK are dealing with reducing waste.

With the 96-page book, the author attempts to provide a guide for people to follow; “in a world of confusing messages” where overwhelming environmental problems weigh down our hearts, Nicky hopes to encourage readers with positive information. Cute little illustrations by Axel Scheffler accompany most of the pages, adding a little touch of humor.

One of the first things Nicky discusses is the importance of refusing to purchase over-packaged items – in fact he states it is the main focus of the book, and it does briefly discusses avoiding disposables, things that cannot be recycled and those that are made from all virgin materials. Whereas the book seems to concentrate on how to reuse or recycle existing trash, it also comments on seeing the reuse, repair or recycle potential for products we are considering buying. He also suggests taking advantage of re-fill retailers (i.e. in Canada: Body Shop, Sampson Soaps, etc) and bulk outlets (grocery stores, bulk products at hair salons, etc). The author mentions that maintenance increases the likely hood of reuse and stressed donations and private sales. Tips are included on ways to make the recycle system run more smoothly and interesting UK statistics.

Chapter three hosts 59 pages of an extensive A-Z guide for items that are commonly found in waste bins. What to do with Fluorescent and CFL bulbs, funeral alternatives to consider, what the various numbers on plastics mean -it’s all covered here in this tidy book. I found the information about all the different kinds of batteries, particularly the button-cell variety (watch, camera, calculator, etc), quite interesting. Interestingly, I never considered donating furniture too battered for reuse to upholsterer businesses and classes, where they may wish to reuse the frame to make new furniture.

Readers may find that some of the information is repetitive and Chapter four seems to reiterate what the book is trying to say. I enjoyed chapter five, which discusses the future of zero waste and cleaner waste (less toxic or greenhouse gas producing), very much. The book closes with an excellent resource section that offers roughly two-dozen organizations along with their contact information and lists about thirty books that are certain to make the environmentalist in you drool with anticipation.

Nicky Scott, Chairperson for the National Community Composting Network (CCN) in the UK, is the author of three small books (roughly 4 x 6 inches) dealing with waste reduction and has appeared in two videos about composting. His interest began while working at a compost business as a young man, and the passion grew while he studied at the UK’s leading organic research organization, The Henry Doubleday Research Association. As initiator and Secretary of one of the first community composting projects, which continues to created jobs, and the head of the newsletter for the CCN organization – he is a busy man. Between all this, he squeezes in time to run workshops and give lectures. In his spare time, Nicky is a musician and artist.

Author: Nicky Scott
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Publisher: Green books (UK)
ISBN: 1-903998-40-9
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