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Produce….and reduce

We produce some cool stuff in our daily dealings here at MDC. But because we’re about more than just producing – we’re pretty minimalistic, so we’re also into reducing. Reducing, reusing and recycling that is.

Reuse (and let go)

Our back alley has proven to be the best example of this over the past year. Put anything of any value out there and it’s gone within a day. Put anything returnable out there, and it’s gone in 10 minutes. No joke.

Just last week, we needed to get rid of a desk, and on its way to the back alley, our tenant had a glint in his eye and decided he wanted it. So the tenant’s desk got taken to the alley. And later that night, we heard some scuffling out back, as a guy was expounding on the merits of this “amazing desk that would fit perfectly in their space”. This warms our hearts and happens regularly. In fact, within two weeks of setting the intention of wanting a new office chair, our friend decides he doesn’t want his amazing office chair anymore, and boom, ours goes out to the alley to be snapped up within 12 hours.

Reduce, then recycle:

OK, recycling is good too, but ultimately, we want to reduce our use of “stuff” in the first place. So, while we are trying to reduce our use of Ziploc bags for kids’ lunches to 2 per day, we need to find a place to put these things once they’re used. Enter those blue plastic recycling bins at Safeway or London Drugs, among other places. You can recycle your ziplocs (and other clean plastic bags) in there. Now if only they’d start charging (a lot) for plastic bags, we’d be even happier. Five cents ain’t gonna change behaviour.

Let us know your favourite 3-R’s example from your life, or your business.

Do we need more shoes?

By Wendy Riches (edited by Rod MacDonald)

This post stems from a moral dilemma I faced as I excitedly entered the Army & Navy department store for their legendary annual shoe sale.

I love shoes just as much as the next woman – I hit this sale religiously every year in search of the perfect discounted pair. But the chaos overwhelmed me this year, as copious amounts of shoes were being left in a heap on the floor, the cashier line-up grew to more than 25 deep, and I noticed women struggling to carry heavy baskets containing more than 15 pairs of shoes!

All of a sudden the dichotomy of this really hit me: 20 steps away, just outside the door, in the poorest part of Vancouver, were people who likely only have one pair of shoes, if they’re lucky. One guy said “nice shoes” to me as I was leaving (I only bought one pair), and the guilt started flooding in!

Mass media feeds us “must buy” messages prompting us to elbow our way through a store to get the latest colour shoe 50% off. And in the same breath, we are constantly reminded to save energy, promote sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint (pun unintended).

How is one to reconcile these vastly dichotomous values? Who says we can’t have more shoes?

Al Gore tells us to change our light bulbs because the polar ice caps are melting, all the while flying around the world to speaking engagements and spreading jet fuel exhaust — one of the worst environmental offenders – into the stratosphere.

I’m confused. I only bought one pair of shoes. They’re really cute. I hope that’s OK?