Category: How-To Published: Saturday, 18 November 2017 Written by Super User

Links and ideas for reducing trash, reusing instead of buying new, and recycling.

Reduce - stop waste before it even starts

Rent or borrow items that will only be use a few times
Sometimes the best way to reduce your trash is to borrow or rent something that you are not going to need for very long. If you decide you need to use something only once or twice, ask around. Your friends are usually happy to help, and if not many stores will rent items for short term use, which can also save you money.


"Precycling is the practice of reducing waste by attempting to avoid bringing into the home or business items which will generate waste. It includes such practices as buying consumables in bulk to reduce packaging, buying consumables in recyclable packaging over non-recyclable packages, avoiding junk mail, and using electronic media for reading materials, especially throwaway items such as magazines or newspapers." (Wikipedia)

While recycling is a positive thing, it still requires energy to transport, melt down, and re-manufacture materials. Pre-thinking your purchases now prevents waste later.


Check out PlanetPal''s Top Ten List of Ways to PRECYCLE.

Reuse - keeping stuff out of the landfill can help keep money in your pocket

Reusable Containers: Invest in re-useable containers such as tupperware, coffee mugs, and water bottles. Some coffee shops give discounts for bringing your own mug! (Check out lunch containers like Bento Boxes and water bottles

Reusable water bottles: Americans buy more bottled water than any other nation in the world. Manufacturing plastic bottles, (which are most often used only ONCE) uses a lot of fossil fuels and pollutes the environment, and only one out of every six water bottles gets recycled. Choose bottles that are durable, easy to clean, andBPA-free.

"Real" plates, cups, and tableware. Reducing the amount of paper plates and plastic tableware you use can GREATLY reduce the amount of trash you generate.  And food just tastes better off a real plate!

Cloth napkins - they''re not just for fancy restaurants!  Keep a supply of small, every-day cloth napkins on hand to use at meals.  Use a dark color or busy pattern so stains don''t show up (or resign to the fact that they''re utilitarian, so stains don''t matter as long as they''re clean).  Throw them in the wash with the towels, and save tons of paper and money.  Purchase cloth napkins at the store, or make your own for a real inexpensive fix.

"Reusing items - by repairing them, donating them to charity and community groups, or selling them - also reduces waste and SAVES MONEY. Reusing products, when possible, is even better than recycling because the item does not need to be reprocessed before it can be used again."

More Reusing Ideas:


Recycling information can be found at or WA Department of Ecology Recycling Hotline website. Local recycling information can be found in the Community Guide (link).  You can also look in your phone book for the closest recycling center or call your garbage provider for information.

Can you get by for four weeks on one week''s worth of garbage? Take the One Can A Month Challenge!
Have you ever looked in the trash cans scattered around your house? What''s in there? Paper towels and tissues? Food? Plastic packaging? There is a lot of stuff in our garbage cans that doesn''t really need to be there, and EnviroMom''s One Can A Month Challenge is going to help you reduce the amount of garbage your household generates down to one curbside can a month. Really!

Reuse items already on-hand
Check out this great article: 20 Things You Can Use Twice Before Tossing. - Composting and Mulching Lawnmowers: Keep organic waste out of landfills and get free fertilizer for your lawn and garden. Visit the City of Richland Environmental Education website for composting and workshop info, and for mulching lawn mower info. Here’s one option for composting for smaller spaces, such as apartments or offices:

Repair items instead of buying new

Repurpose items that have outlived their current purpose, but can be used for other things

- Articles online: search "Repurpose Items" on google to find articles like 25 Things To Do With Old Jeans

- Some schools and other organizations can use your unneeded items for craft projects. Call or post them on electronic bulletin boards like or

Sell, trade, or donate items in good condition that are no longer needed
Donate items to a thrift store or sell at a consignment shop (see list below), join a group like Freecycle or 2good2toss, or check out the latest postings on CraigslistEbay and Amazon. Bonus: Buying used can save you BIG money!

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