By Dana J. Robinson
You hear that phrase thrown around a lot, but I'll bet you rarely stop to think about what each of the three elements really means. We typically just lump it all together and assume it means to put your cardboard, scrap paper and empty bottles and cans into the recycling bins. But we tend to forget about the first two parts of the phrase. Reduce and reuse…how exactly do we go about doing that?
Reducing and reusing actually go hand-in-hand rather conveniently. If you can think of ways to reuse the things you already have, you will reduce your consumption. It's as good for the environment as it is for your pocketbook.
I'm sure you're already thinking of all the wasteful things in your life that you wish had more than one use. The one that always comes to my mind are those pesky plastic bags under almost every kitchen sink. First of all, shame on you for not using reusable shopping bags in this day and age. But I get it…things happen and we all end up with an excess of these things.
Avoiding purchasing new items and start reusing those plastic bags:
- as trash bags in small trash cans, such as in the bathroom or laundry room
- in lieu of packing peanuts when shipping fragile items in the mail
- to pick up your pet's poo after walks through the neighborhood
Here's an example of how I recently began reusing these adorable glass yogurt containers that were piling up after several months of eating the most important meal of the day…
Oh look…this tasty yogurt just happens to come in rather tasteful glass containers!
They're too cute to recycle or (heaven forbid!) throw away, but they sure do take up a lot of storage space.
Here's a great idea! I can use them as votive or tea light candle holders. To be really festive, I could tie a decorative bow around the top to dress them up a bit.
There's always the utilitarian route. They're perfect for storing nail scissors, clippers and tweezers in the medicine cabinet, or for buttons, thimbles and snaps in the sewing room.
Then once you've identified all the many ways to reuse things that were intended to be single-use items, you can find one last way to reuse...a vase! Not only will it brighten up the room, it'll be your own little reward for helping your both your finances and the planet.