Mother Nature has a few lessons up her branches about reusing waste. Whether you’re building a new nest, launching a tech company or searching for a suit, these practices are key for tapping into the financial benefits of recycling.
You may have grown out of the high-waisted jeans or your formal dinner jacket—yes, that one you wore to prom—but that doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t benefit from adopting your used clothes. Shopping for second hand clothing saves oodles of money. Plus, some apparel can be so durable or well cared for that it’s seemingly new. Considering everyday financial stresses, some people may also not have another option.
In nature, we observe this recycling practice in the vulnerable hermit crab: The crustaceans have long, soft abdomens that spiral inward. To protect themselves, they salvage empty spiraled snail shells, inside of which their body retracts safe and sound (and good looking.)
Showcasing your recycling habits reflects your personal values, which are an attractive character feature. For some families in the animal kingdom, like the Bowerbird, re-utilizing their surroundings in creative ways lures a mate and increases their likelihood of being chosen as a reproductive partner.
For this Australasian bird, the male is known for his bower creation with elaborate decoration: colorful objects from bright blue plastic throwaways to tinfoil, fruits, and shells. The careful design attracts a female into his den and—if he can entice her for long enough—they mate.
Coral reefs are thriving in nutrient-free water, so what is their food source? Sponges absorb carbon and nitrogen from the water. A portion of the organic matter is then converted into choanocytles—interior cells that coat the sponge—which the sponge releases back into its environment. Those cells become food for other sea life.
We can illustrate a similar paradoxical pyramid in our business world, too, with crowdfunding. An entrepreneur needs financial backing to launch a product or service, and the consumers that would benefit from the proposed creation give their excess resources in return. The symbiotic relationship benefits both parties.
Mother nature teaches us to examine our surroundings and utilize our immediate resources. By reusing products, we save resources and energy, and conserve energy costs, in several ways: Natural resources are not further depleted, energy is not used to manufacture new products, and the footprint caused by distribution is nixed.
Much like the Bowerbird, we can refurbish throwaway items in creative, out-of-the-box ways. In observing ecosystems, we learn the value of symbiotic relationships and working together as a team. Also, being conscious and dedicated to a cause is just plain sexy—who doesn’t want a significant other who’s proactive?
Learn more about General Kinematic’s recycling solutions today.
Sponges Recycle Food for Reefs, New York Times, Douglas Quenqua, 2013
Build It—And They Will Come, National Geographic Photo Gallery, Tim Laman
Think Tank: Land Hermit Crab, Smithsonian National Zoological Park