What’s a Pirate’s Favorite Letter?

The three R’s of sustainability are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. There is a better list though, and this one has five R’s instead of three.

If you’ve been reading Ecocentricity for some time, you’ve learned that I’m a sucker for puns. I like them almost as much as my son likes his pacifier. Teehee.

Basically, I’m a fan of all one-liners, dad jokes, well-timed puns and ironic statements. If you can make something funny in a sentence or two, I’m for it. It’s probably why Mitch Hedberg is my favorite comedian. “I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.” The man, rest his soul, was a genius.

And so I’ll start the real substance of this post by referencing an enjoyable bit of irony. Remember the three R’s of education? Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmetic. Apparently we need a longer list before Spelling shows up on it.

Environmentalism has its own version of the three R’s, and I bet you’ve heard of them: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. All good things in our collective effort to create a zero-waste society. There is a better list though, and this one has five R’s instead of three.

1) Refuse

2) Reduce

3) Reuse

4) Repurpose

5) Recycle

I don’t get any creative points for this list as I didn’t think it up (I’ve even seen a variant with “Repair” added before “Reuse” to make six R’s, but to me they are the same thing). That said, I’ll add some commentary of my own.

First, if it wasn’t readily apparent to you, this is a ranked list with the R’s closer to the beginning being most important. In other words, from a zero-waste standpoint, the best thing you can do is not consume a particular thing at all. Obviously though, we need to be consumers in this modern society to survive, so the next best thing is to minimize your consumption. And so on, down the list.

Second, and this point flows directly from the first one, recycling is at the bottom of the list. This comment is not meant to disparage recycling, as it is a much more desirable result than landfilling something. Nonetheless, it takes energy to recycle items, and a portion of items placed in a recycling bin still end up being landfilled.

Third, I want to sing the praises of that middle R. Reuse is not just about making a decision to use something again instead of throwing it away. More importantly, it is about your original purchasing decision. Are you buying the items that are designed to be reused, and selecting the most durable options within that category?

Finally, one of the best aspects of that fourth R is the creativity that comes along with repurposing something. I’ll leave you with this list of 100 “life hacks” to peruse if you need a fun distraction today. There’s a lot of impressive repurposing on that list.

Oh, I almost forgot. I need to give you the answer to the subject line of this post – what’s a pirate’s favorite letter? You’d think it would be the “Rrrrrrrr,” but it’s the "C” they love. Teehee again.