Reduce and Reuse

Recycling isn't the only way to keep trash out of our landfills. By reusing items more than once and reducing the amount of products we need to buy, we reduce the overall waste generation.

Reducing household waste through smarter shopping.
Reusing around the house to conserve.
  • Avoid disposable items. Trading convenience for a little more work is costly not only to our wallets but to our environment. Here are a few examples:
  • Paper plates - Use dishes and wash them after each use.
  • Paper Towels/Napkins - Use dishclothes and clothe napkins, washing after each use.
  • Plastic Utensils - Great for picnics, bad for the environment! Use your silverware and wash when finished.
  • Disposable cameras - Invest in an inexpensive digital one. They take excellent pictures and you can print as many as you want any time.
  • Toys - If it's going to break, why buy it? Avoid those "kid's meal" toys and opt for a more durable one for the children.
  • Tools - Buy durable, dependable power and hand tools. They'll outlive the cheap ones. What you spend more on now will save you in replacements in the future.
  • Avoid packaging. Take reusable bags to the store with you. Buy items in recyclable containers. If you must ship something, use newspaper to pack instead of styrofoam peanuts.
  • Buy in bulk. Larger containers usually mean less waste as well as less cost. Buy a bigger size instead of single-serve sizes.
  • Buy Non-Toxic. Cleaners and other household chemicals now have less toxic alternatives that are safer for your family, pets, and the environment. Consider these as a serious alternative.
  • Buy Recycled! If you recycle, but don't buy recycled-content material, you're only doing half the job. If you must buy disposable paper items, make sure they have recycled content.
  • Why buy it when you can borrow it? Sometimes it just makes sense to borrow an expensive item rather than buy one. If you and your neighbor have a small yard, consider borrowing a mower instead of buying one for each household. Need a 3/8" socket? Ask someone instead of buying a new one!
  • Fix it. If a shirt loses a button, don't pitch the shirt, fix the button. If the faucet leaks, replace the O-rings, not the whole fixture! A little handywork at home can save a lot of money, time, and trash.
  • Freecycle It! Freecycle is an international group of people who can give and take free items based on Yahoo message boards. To learn more, click here.
  • Have a yard sale. Let others know what you have and maybe make a buck or two in the process! For tips to have a great yard sale, click here.
  • Donate it. When something is still in great condition and you just don't need it anymore, donate it to someone who needs it. Whether it's a neighbor, family member, or local charity, passing it along really helps. Click here for listings of local charitable organizations to donate your used goods.

Nifty Reusing Tips:

15 uses for Aluminum Foil

Reusing Grocery Bags

Fun crafts projects for kids



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