The EPA estimates the United States generated approximately 267.8 million tons of trash in 2017, meaning each person tossed about 4.51lbs of trash per day. Back in 1990, that number was estimated to be was around 208 million tons, and at that rate, the future looks pretty bleak. But before we all go Greta Thunberg and scream into the void until our lungs give out, we need to take a step back and think about how we can make easy changes to our lives that can help break the cycle of buying using single-use products and items that come in non-recyclable packaging that ends up right in the trash within five seconds of buying said product.
Recycling is ideal, of course, but before we try to toss something into that blue bin and hope it gets a new lease on life someday, we should first be trying to reuse it. It takes energy and resources to recycling items, but you can give them a new lease on life in your very own home for free.
If you must get a plastic shopping bag for whatever reason, there are a ton of ways to reuse them around the house.
If you don’t find any of these options viable to you, you can always donate to local businesses who need bags like thrift stores, libraries, or animal shelters
Used Tea Bags
Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world. If you drink at least two cups a day, that could mean
Egg cartons are actually pretty useful to have around, especially if you have small children or are in an office setting that needs some organization, stat.
And if none of those work for you, there are plenty of local farmers who would love some free egg cartons.
Some old clothes can’t be donated, obviously. While it’s the ideal end of the life cycle for apparel, if it’s ripped up or overly-worn, many consignment and thrift stores can’t resell it.
While many stores may not take your old clothes, you can call local animal shelters and see if they need can possibly use them.
While glass is often recyclable, in the US alone, over 11.6 million tons of glass is dumped each year, and only 28% of it is recovered for recycling. Honestly, it just seems silly to toss something that can so easily be used in the house.
Sometimes it just takes looking at an item with a fresh eye to come up with a new, clever idea to reuse it. Buying brand new storage containers, new washcloths, new everything gets expensive quickly. Save some money, help save the planet, and keep your home and workspace environmentally-friendly.