30 Practical Ways to Reduce and Reuse

Help the Environment

There are many things that we can do to help save the environment and not cause our landfills to overfill. Most of us know about recycling paper but there are so many other things that a person can to. If you are not sure what to do around your home, here are many different things you can do without spending a lot of money.

For the person who is looking to do more for the environment, or is just starting out, there are many ideas here to assist you and get you going.

Reuse What You Can

We live in a society that is used to throwing items out instead of reusing them or trying to repair them. If this sounds like you, there are many simple tasks that you can do to save these items from filling up our landfills. They do not necessarily require any extra money but may require a bit of time from you but you will end up being well rewarded.

1. Take old furniture and refinish or recover instead of tossing.

2. When buying bottled water, re-use the bottle before you recycle it.

3. Share books, magazines and newspapers with friends, co-workers, family members. If you do not know anyone to share with, donate them to nursing homes or doctor’s offices

4. Re-use your grocery bags around the house for garbage or when you go shopping

5. Purchase a re-usable mug to take with you. Most coffee shops will be happy to fill it for you or give a discount.

6. Have a pet that you take out for walks? You can buy bags that break down much faster than the ones you take your groceries in. A small investment for the environment.

7. Get Creative – With a bit of thought, you can find all sorts of uses for items. Baby jars are great for storage and you can use torn wrapping paper to decorate them with. Plants can grow wonderfully in an ice cream pail and you can start them out in egg cartons.

8. Donate – There are many places looking for donations. Clothing, furniture, appliances, anything you can think of, there is likely a charity that will take it off your hands. Many will even pick it up from you. Check the classifieds or online if you do not know where to take the items.

9. Cell Phones – These are becoming obsolete so fast that there are many of them out there no longer being used. See if your phone company recycles them to worthy organizations or if there are other organizations that can use them.

10. Clothing – If clothing is still in good shape, it can be donated to others such as friends, family or charities. If its in rough shape, cut it up and use for rags around the house.

11. Towels – If you have towels that are a little worse for wear; see if your local animal shelter could use them. They work great for lining cages and adding a bit of warmth.

12. Got new eyeglasses? There are charities that will take the old ones and distribute them overseas

13. Too many hangers? Ask around and see who may want them or put them up on the local classifieds for others. If you use a dry cleaner, see if they would like them.

14. Compost – This is a great idea for all those kitchen scraps or yard cuttings. If you do not have a garden to use the compost, ask around. Someone likely will take it off your hands.

15. Old Newspapers – There is so much that you can do with newspapers. If nothing else, you can easily recycle these. More and more communities are bringing in mandatory or curbside recycling where you just put the items in the bin and they haul it away. But if you feel more creative, here are some ideas of what you can do with newspaper.
a) Wrapping Paper – Why waste money on fancy paper that is just going to get torn up? Wrap your gifts in newsprint. Use the comics for a bit of colour.
b) Cat Litter – Have a cat? Shred the paper and use it as litter. It does take a bit of prep-work or else your cat will end up with newsprint all over them.
c) Paper Logs – Roll sheets around a broomstick until the size you want. Then soak it in water and let it dry overnight. Use like wood.
d) Create new paper – Get creative and add other bits into it to make it more interesting like flower petals or grass.

Do we really want more of these in our cities and rural areas?

skeeze / Pixabay

 

Making Smart Shopping Decisions

One of the best things that you can do for the environment is to make smart decisions right at the store. If people quit buying those items that hurt the environments, the manufacturers will quit making them and focus on those that are more environmentally friendly.

1. Purchase items that are made from recycled materials and are designed to be recycled or reused once you are done with them. This includes items such as pens that allow you to change the ink barrels to staplers that do not use traditional staples. You can also purchase coffee filters that get reused to containers that can be refilled in a great variety of ways.

2. If you have kids, purchase toys that are more durable and will not break within a few hours of the child receiving.

3. Invest in several sets of rechargeable batteries and chargers to go with all those kid toys. While the upfront cost is a little bit more, overall you will save a lot of money and keep items out of the landfill.

4. Reuse bags when you go shopping. You can use the bags you got on a prior shopping trip or you can purchase cloth bags. Take bags from one store into another store – they are getting your dollars today, they shouldn’t mind.

5. If you are just purchasing one or two items, tell the clerk to keep the bag and just carry the item. Make sure to keep the receipt handy if you are still shopping just in case.

6. Switch the light bulbs in your home to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Even if you change them as they burn out, it will make a difference.

7. Instead of purchasing new items all the time, see if you can borrow from someone (such as a book) or buy it used (such as furniture). Many times you can find exactly what you want at a much lower cost and keep the item from the landfill.

8. Visit your library instead of purchasing items such as books and movies. You can also use the library for a lot of research so you do not have to buy materials you will only use once.  You can purchase an ereader and get a lot of the reading materials you need in an electronic format.

9. For that hard to buy person, instead of buying them a gift card to a store, give them something from the heart such as a night of babysitting or a spa visit. You could also make a donation to a charity on their behalf.

10. Check the amount of packaging on a product and if it is recyclable. If there are many layers of packaging, leave it on the shelf and select something else. Manufacturers won’t learn if we do not change our habits. If everything is over packaged, select the one that has recyclable packaging.

11. Buy items that are made from sustainable materials – meaning that the material can be recreated much quicker such as bamboo versus hardwood flooring.

12. If you travel a lot, stay in hotels that are being more environmentally conscious. One example is them asking you to re-use your towels during your stay. Many have signs to ask you to watch your use of water and have lights that automatically turn off.

Proper Disposal

It is tempting to toss everything in the garbage and let it sort itself out. But this can be very harmful to the environment. There are many products that can be disposed of in a different method so as not to be harmful and to keep the landfills from overflowing.

1. Medication – If you have any prescriptions, vitamins or over the counter drugs that you no longer use, take them to your pharmacist or any pharmacy for them to dispose of properly.

2. Look for companies that specialize in dealing with the product you have to dispose of or if they collect it. We have recycling depots where I live and while they do not deal with paint, you can leave it with them and they will pass it on to the proper people.

3. Many household products should not be tossed with the rest of the garbage. If you live in a bigger centre, see if they have suggestions or programs to help you to deal with these products.

4. Recycle or compost as much as you can. It is amazing how much a person tosses out without even realizing it.


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