Precycling is the practice of reducing waste by attempting to avoid bringing items which will generate waste into home or business.
The original three-pronged push for trash management is "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Precycling emphasizes "reducing and reusing", while harnessing and questioning the momentum and popularity of the term "recycle."
Traditionally recycling requires large amounts of energy to "melt down" and then re-manufacture items. While this may cut down on the amount of trash that is going into landfills, it is not sustainable unless the underlying energy supply is sustainable. In addition, recycling often means downcycling and always involves at least some loss of the original material, so primary extraction is still required to make up the difference. Precycling reduces these problems by using less material in the first place, so less has to be recycled.
Precycling includes such practices as buying consumables in bulk to reduce packaging, buying consumables in recyclable over non-recyclable packaging, avoiding junk mail, and using electronic media for reading materials, especially throwaway items such as magazines or newspapers. It can also include the practice of using an item or material for another purpose prior to use for its original purpose, thus avoiding using some other material or object. For example a bowl of fruit and nuts on a holiday table as decoration prior to eating it precludes buying or using something else.
One way to participate in precycling is to carry a "precycling kit". Include a Tupperware or non-disposable container, silverware set, a cloth napkin or handkerchief, and a thermos or water-bottle within a cloth bag that can double as a grocery/shopping bag.
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