Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle - Part 2


Tip #118 - Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle – Part 2. Today we will talk about part 2 of this triad. After we have done all that we can to reduce the amount of stuff we consume, out next step is to reuse the stuff we already have. Reducing and reusing go hand in hand. We can reuse something already in existence rather than buy something new, thereby reducing our consumption of new materials and packaging. For example, your son may need a baseball glove for little league this year. Rather than go to a store and buy a new glove with new packaging, you can find an old glove worn by someone previously and reuse that one.

But let’s suppose you are starting with a clean slate. You have nothing and cannot find a pre-owned item that you need. Suppose, for example, that your daughter needs a pair of size 6 shoes and you can’t find a used pair that works. So you buy your child a new pair of shoes. After a year, she outgrows these shoes. Then the next step is to reuse this item. This item still has useful life left in it. So you can save them for your younger daughter to wear when she grows into size 6 shoes. Or if you don’t have another daughter, you give them or sell them to someone who does.

Apply that concept to other things around your home. You receive a gift from your boss in a nice box. Rather than throwing that box away, you can reuse that box to put a different gift in. The more things you reuse or buy used, the less effect you have on the environment. And more importantly for the focus of this blog, you save money. Using an article of clothing from your first child for your second child does not cost you anything, whereas buying a new article of clothing does. Reusing books from a friend or the library does not cost you anything either. You can be creative in your reuse beyond the typical clothes and books, and you do not have to use the item for its original purpose. A food container can become a craft project. A string from a balloon can become a ribbon for wrapping a present. An old mug can become a pencil container.

Before you go to the store to buy something, think about what you have around the house that you can reuse for the purpose that you need. And remember that reusing does not have to be just from items you, yourself own. Buying used is reusing items. Places such as Craigslist and Freecycle are excellent sources for used items. Pre-owned items almost always cost less than their new counterparts. By buying something pre-owned or reusing something you already have you are cutting down on wasting raw materials and packaging, while saving money as well.

In Real Life (IRL) –
I am constantly reusing what I have. In fact, other than a supermarket, I hardly ever set foot in a retail store. I mostly already have what I need and when a need arises for something “new” I usually look for it on Craigslist or a yard sale for a used version. So I guess you could say I am a big reuser.

In context of reusing something I have, I try hard to look at something before I throw it away to see if I can do something else with it before adding it to the landfill. One recent example I can think of is egg cartons. We buy eggs at the local grocery store or at Costco. And I hate to throw away the egg containers because surely they can be reused somewhere. Well, last summer I found out where. At a pick-your-own farm we went to I saw that they sell fresh eggs and people bring them empty egg cartons to use. So now I have a pile of egg cartons in my garage to bring to them this spring. In the meantime I was able to use one for starting our indoor garden.

Things that I cannot use anymore I give away hoping to keep the items out of a landfill since there is still useful life left in the article. By giving things away, I often get things in return too. A friend with a son 9 months older than mine often gives me clothes. I, in turn, pass on clothes to a different friend with a son 9 months younger than mine. If I don't give it away, I sell it. Giving things away or selling them helps the environment and makes or saves me money, too.

2 comments:

cafetugra said...

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