love the earth · things for our planet

Ideas to “Recycle”

I’m kind of sad this series is almost over! I’m glad though, because I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile… even before I had this blog! To be honest, one of the reasons I re-started {public} blogging was so I could share my earth day & sustainability ideas! So, yay for accomplishing something I’ve wanted to do for awhile!

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So, here are ideas for recycling…

Recycle instead of trash

However much you recycle now, I am 95% certain you can find more things to recycle! The obvious are newspapers, cereal boxes, empty soda cans, beer bottles, and milk jugs. But try finding more things around your house (not just your kitchen) that you can recycle instead of trashing! Try: magazines, stacks of paper, mail, Styrofoam or plastic takeout containers, jars, cans, bottles, pasta boxes, empty pill bottles, packages you received in the mail, empty contact solution bottles, etc. Lots of things can be recycled! Go a step further and make sure you can recycle something before you purchase it. 😉

Side note: I love cities that make it easy to recycle!! Melbourne, Denver, and Burlington are some of the best I’ve been to.

Throw away less!

Even if you don’t recycle something, try to find another way to get more life out of it. Take gently used items to Goodwill – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Sell used furniture, toys, and books at a yard sale, on Craigslist, or on a Facebook yard sale site (I use ours way too much!). Give clothes and gently used items to a friend who may be interested in your secondhand treasures. Find a way to upcycle by turning something used into something new (post coming tomorrow about that)! Whatever you do, try to find somewhere for your items to go besides the trash! Your new motto can be: don’t just trash it!! (Unless it’s broken)

Compost

I haven’t mentioned this before, it’s probably not on my mind as much because I can’t do much in the way of composting right now while I live in a rented apartment with no yard of our own. However, I think composting is awesome!! Instead of trashing old food items, compost them! Do make sure you check a more-informed site or book that can tell you whether or not something is okay to compost. Your food becomes fuel for plants, flowers, and even more food if you grow your own veggies.

Thrift

Buy used – if you’re donating items to secondhand sites, you might as well make use of them too. Instead of purchasing a brand new DVD, buy someone else’s. You’ll sidestep pollution and waste from new production, and ensure a continued cycle of making use out of used items. Think about it this way – if you buy a used book from a yard sale, you are encouraging that person to donate, sell, or recycle more of their goods next time instead of trashing it. You’ll probably encourage them to buy used too, which enhances the cycle. Together we can defer a huge percentage of old and new goods from the landfill. Things to thrift: clothes, furniture, books, movies, baby items, pots and pans, holiday decorations. Tip: I’ve found tons of great books at the library. They only ask for a donation of 50 cents or a dollar per book.

Vehicles

Have you thought about how what you’re driving affects the environment? I never really had, until my husband kept pestering me about how I talk about wanting to help the environment, but I’m pumping tons of gas into a low-efficiency jeep. I LOVED that jeep, but now I’m thinking seriously about getting a car that is better for the world. I want to trade in my jeep to get a car (preferably a hybrid) or maaaybe an SUV, but to really find a vehicle with better gas mileage. The huge benefit that I would get is saving tons of money on gas! This is another win-win situation.

With the idea of finding a fuel efficient vehicle is an important concept that a lot of people don’t think about, or act on. It’s much more important to keep your old car running instead of buying a brand new one, even if you plan to get a hybrid or something super energy efficient. This is true because it costs the environment MUCH more (in natural resources) to make a new car than it does to drive one you already have (even if it is not fuel efficient at all!). So, I guess that was my reasoning for not getting rid of my jeep yet. Whatever car you have, drive it until it dies – no, not when it starts to require repairs, but the repairs start to cost as much as the car is worth. This strategy will save you thousands of dollars in the long run. It helps if you can do the repairs yourself so you don’t have to pay for labor, just parts. We kept Whit’s car running almost to 200,000 miles until it bottomed out its worth around $1000 or so. I’m not saying it’s fun or easy, but it is wise. See Dave Ramsey’s car theory for more on this concept and how it is better for your budget.

Burn

This feels so random to say because I am not a pyro by any means, but we do this so I figure I should mention it. Have a fire and burn some of your recyclables. One less step! Please make sure that what you put in the fire is not something that will release toxic chemicals into the environment, though!! Plastic is a big no-no, as are magazines. Newspapers and cardboard boxes are a go.

 

What’s easiest for you? Reducing, reusing, or recycling?

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