Have you heard? Re-Use is the new Recycle!
In the world of Zero Waste, re-using is a much more desirable action, than recycling. Recycling consumes energy and resources, which could be saved by re-using an item over and over instead of (or before) recycling it.
Let's make sure we are all good to go on the basics of re-use. And if not, consider this a Call to Action to get re-using!
1. BAGS - Ahh, the classic re-usable. There are so many in circulation that we never, ever need to buy (or be given) a new plastic bag again. You get them when you buy bread and nearly everything other thing you buy at the store. The re-use possibilities are endless. But this is where I challenge you: PRODUCE BAGS. For some reason we all bring our own grocery bags to the store, but not all of us bring produce bags. I absolutely LOVE reusable mesh produce bags. They are super light weight, they are great for storing produce and they work great for buying in the bulk section too.
2. PAPER - Please tell me you use the back side of paper? And I don't just mean for double-sided printing. You can make yourself little notebooks or notepads for grocery lists by stapling together stacks of used paper.
3. WATER BOTTLE - Take a sturdy reusable water bottle, eh-vry-where. Enough said.
4. COFFEE CUP - I don't know why people think walking around with a paper coffee cup is a status symbol. I sure don't. I much prefer the way I feel knowing I saved a tree by remembering to bring my reusable coffee cup when I'm on the road. Join me...it feels great!
5. BOXES - Who else's garage is an Amazon jungle? Before you recycle each and every box, hang onto a few to re-use for your own shipping or storage needs. If you have a ton, post them online. People that are moving are usually happy to come pick up a bunch of free boxes.
6. PACKING SUPPLIES - Bubble wrap, packing peanuts & packing envelopes, I think we all see these a lot. I used to return them to my nearest shipping store, until I realized that I soon would need to mail something. If you open packages with a little care (especially those envelopes), you can re-use them countless times. If you have excess, then donate them to a shipping store.
7. GIFT WRAP - The amount of stuff we adorn presents with, is a little over the top in my opinion. I prefer a simple raffia bow instead. But when I end up receiving gift bags, tissue paper and bows, I always save them as they look good for several re-uses and it saves me tons of money on gift wrap. You can also check out my blog: The BEST Green Gift Wrapping Solutions!
8. PARTY SUPPLIES - This is another mystery to me. Why is it we save holiday supplies and decorations, but when it comes to birthday supplies, especially for kids, most people think that they need to succumb to the marketing of buying all new birthday decorations each year? Skip that and keep b-day supplies that are re-usable and can go with any theme: a great tablecloth (in a classic color), reusable plates, a cloth b-day banner, etc.
9. JARS & BOTTLES - Fortunately, this trend is hot! Storing your food in re-used jars is very on trend. To get started, check out my blog, Zero Waste 101: How to Easily Remove a Label
10. NAPKINS & UTENSILS - We are going to end on my all time favorite call to action. This is the next lowest hanging fruit in sustainability: take-out trash. Even though your local take-out restaurant may not be able to put your to-go food in a re-usable container (for health code reasons), you can always supply your own re-usable utensils and napkins. These are a must-have in the trunk of your car, right along with your reusable bags.
So, let's get re-using! The planet will grateful, I'm sure of it!
About Kelly Green Consultant: Hi! I'm Kelly Buskirk. I currently live in Austin, TX, but I first got involved in environmental action when I was living on the island of Kauai, and a landfill was proposed by neighborhood. I made the conscious shift to live a zero waste lifestyle and transform the business I was managing from great, to green! My intention is to tread lightly on the planet, by reducing toxins and waste in my life and help others do the same in their life and business. Join me on my Zero Waste + Green Living quest!
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