Reuse before recycle will give you some ideas and pointers on how to think outside of the box.
But generally speaking the Western World has a consumer approach to living and often will turf something out just because a newer one looks better, is advertised better or suits their feeling of peer acceptance (and I am not only talking about teens and cell phones now!).How many times do you throw away something that can be mended or morphed into something else? There is a saying one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. Well, I suppose that depends on what’s in the first’s garbage, doesn’t it?
My mom still uses the same grater that she had in my childhood – it has been going for almost 40 years! A friend of mine recently threw her fully functional one away because a local home store brought out one in pink and she liked it – see what I mean?
If you have something that you truly do not want but is still fully functional consider advertising it for free at www.freecycle.org where your no longer needed item will normally find a good home.
Old clothes can be stored as hand me downs for younger siblings or for cousins. If your children have outgrown clothes and there are no more down the line, then consider giving them away to a charity shop.
Talking about old clothes…when last did you darn a sock or mend a tear? Before you throw away an item of clothing mend it yourself or take it to a seamstress to mend it for you. It will still be cheaper than buying new and will be much better for the environment.
Furniture is another biggie! We found that it was cheaper to re-stuff our sofa cushions than to buy a new one. We also chose a washable fabric loose covered sofa so that we wouldn’t have to get professional cleaners in. Most of our wooden furniture is reclaimed as we just happen to love antiques.
Even things that you would want to recycle like glass and plastic bottles and tin cans can find purposes around the home – again reuse before recycle! Tin cans (no sharp edges) can be used for a variety of kids crafts as well as being used as seedling starters. Glass bottles can be used for storing sauces in the fridge or dry flours and grains in the cupboard for short periods of time. Plastic bottles can be well washed and used for water on trips, large 2 litre bottles can be used to grow upside down tomatoes.
The last thing is food! While I did address some ideas in REDUCE before recycle, I need to mention one other thing that fits in well here. Fruit that is no longer perky and fresh can be used for puddings! Peach or nectarine cobbler or apple pie/crumble does not need the freshest fruit. As long as there is no mould or fruit fly stings, your “passed” fruit can be used up. The other thing is wilted veggies! We use all our wilted veggies to make home made dog food for our three best friends!
I hope this article has given you some ideas to think about implementing and will be a spark in how to “reuse before recycle”.