Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, Rot - Step 2: Reuse
Separate page: Environmental Solutions for Getting Around Town
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The media has done a wonderful job of selling us on the attractiveness and benefits of buying "new", "improved", "special", etc. products. However, we already collectively own so much that we could all survive for quite a while on the existing products - if we just reused them a few times!
- Garage Sales: Shop at and hold garage sales - this is a great way to reuse products.
- Reusables: Switch from disposable to reusable products: food and beverage containers, cups, plates, writing pens, razors, diapers, towels, shopping bags, etc.
- Donations: Donate (and buy used):
- household items - clothes, furniture, dishes, books, sports equipment, magazines, appliances, electronics, business attire, wedding attire, etc. (to charity)
- women's business attire (to Dress for Success)
- computer equipment
- cell phones, cameras, iPod/MP3 Players, laptops, PDAs (to Recycling for Charities)
- cell phones and ink cartridges (to Cure Recycling - profits from reuse of items support the CURE Childhood Cancer organization. Free postage. Another place to donate cell phones is Collective Good). If you would like to start your own recycling program, check out Wireless Recycling. Learn how to erase cell phone data with this free data eraser.
- building material (to companies who specialize in selling used material). One organization: Habitat for Humanity
- eyeglasses (to Lions Club, For-Eyes, Pearle, or Lenscrafters)
- extra hangers (to your local dry cleaners)
- art materials (to a school or cultural organization)
- unwanted boxed/bagged/canned food (to homeless shelters, food banks, or soup kitchens)
- Buy/Sell Used Items: Buy and sell your items on sites such as:
- Freecycle: The Freecycle Network provides an online community tool for giving and receiving free stuff.
- Share: thingloop facilitates sharing our belongings with each other.
- Throwplace: Throwplace.com lets you list items online that you would like to give to nonprofit organizations, businesses, or individuals.
- Community Swap: Organize a community swap program (i.e., designate a place where people can leave unwanted items for others to use).
- Packing Peanuts: Drop off at a local packing, shipping or moving store.
- Wash and Reuse Plastic Bags: With either a wooden bag dryer or in the washing machine.
- Buy Durables: Buy products that will last and take care of them.
- Teach Thrift: Teach your children the value of being thrifty (the wise economy in the management of money and other resources; frugality).
- Frugal Printing: Use both sides of each piece of paper -- for note taking or printing documents from your computer (at home or work). Create note pads by stapling together once-used paper.
- Kitchen Reusables: Instead of buying these items new, save and reuse all: paper bags, rubber bands, twisties, boxes, and packaging material. Reuse your plastic bags with a handy bag dryer.
- Library: Pick up books from your local library or used book store. The library is also many times a great place for finding magazines, CDs, books-on-tape, and videos.
- Share with Neighbors: Join in with neighbors to purchase infrequently used products such as lawn mowers, ladders, etc.
- Refurbished Computers: Buy refurbished computers for less
- Rechargeable Batteries: Purchase rechargeable batteries and a battery recharger (some battery rechargers will also recharge regular alkaline batteries). Solar powered battery rechargers are available online.
- College Reuse: Dump and Run is a nonprofit organization that organizes the collection of college students' castoff items in the spring, so they can be sold to incoming students in the fall. The proceeds are then donated to nonprofits.