August 2020: Reusing

This month we will be looking at reusing! This is a very important step for us to take in our personal lives. If we reuse the things that we already own and repair things that we love, then we won’t have to buy them again — thus saving money and requiring fewer of those items to be produced. When a lot of people are going zero-waste, they are tempted to get rid of all the plastic things that they own and go get “eco friendly” things, but if you do that then you wouldn’t be reducing or reusing as much as you could be. For example, you can reuse paper grocery bags, old rags/ripped-up clothing, or containers from food you buy instead of buying new bags, washcloths, and containers. The best thing to do is to use them until they can’t be used any longer then get rid of them in the most eco-friendly way possible, and get new ones that are good quality, that will last you a lifetime, and that you will use and cherish! This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t donate the stuff that you don’t love or need — if you donate, someone else can make use of things you don’t need instead of buying more.

We cut down 4 billion trees a year just to make paper, so let’s reduce paper consumption with these simple habits:

•Using partially used paper/envelopes for taking notes, writing things down, and printing

• Using rags and handkerchiefs in place of paper products such as paper towels, tissue, etc. Just try — it may sound impossible, but it can be done! Just start with one swap so you don’t feel overwhelmed. (As a tip, you can use ripped clothes and towels instead of buying washcloths)

• Checking books out from the library, reading ebooks, or buying used books

• Refusing receipts when possible

• Making cards out of used but reusable paper or buying compostable ones 

• Using a whiteboard or dry-erase notebook for notes that you won’t need later (shopping lists, reminders, games that require writing)

• Using reusable toilet paper or cloth or, if you don’t feel comfortable with that, buying recycled toilet paper. Toilet paper wipes out 27,000 trees a day. Worldwide, the equivalent of almost 270,000 trees is either flushed or dumped in landfills every day, and roughly 10 percent of that total is toilet paper, according to the latest issue of World Watch magazine.

Repair and donate!

Repairing is great for the earth! This way there’s no packaging and transport, and fewer resources will be used.

Donate whenever possible!

And try to buy used stuff or borrow things from friends. There’s only demand for donated items if people buy them!

Some more things you can do:

•Use reusable containers and beeswax wrap instead of plastic bags, clingwrap, or tinfoil

• Reuse condiment jars to store things or as vases or pencil holders

• Reuse grocery bags or, if you can’t avoid getting plastic ones, use those as trash bags instead of buying trash bags

• Create art with food stickers and other objects that would normally be thrown away 

An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash — most of it plastic — is dumped in the world’s oceans every year.

By participating in Plastic-Free July and our Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle challenges, we can dramatically reduce how much plastic we inadvertently dump into the oceans! You can start with simple things such as using reusable bags, straws, and water bottles!

Spread the word! If everyone does this, it will have a huge impact. 

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