It feels darn good to do things that make a positive impact on the world around us. Gotta’ love those warm fuzzies!
But when it comes to recycling, an instantly recognizable ‘feel good, change the world’ activity, it can be daunting to know where to start or what really makes an impact.
Let’s take a look at 3 ways you can make recycling a consistent part of your life, without investing in a pocket composter or a full on ‘freegan’ lifestyle.
As with most big changes in your life, taking baby steps is usually the best way to get there. Freaking yourself out about getting recycling bins or learning what the numbers on your plastic bottles mean?
Take a deep breath and focus on one little thing you can do today that you didn’t do yesterday that will re-purpose something around the house. Some ideas:
- Re-use your Ziploc bags after washing / drying them
- Save that tinfoil covering yesterday’s salad lunch bowl, fold and re-use for tomorrow’s leftover morning yogurt (wipe and dry as needed)
- Gather your kiddo’s extra Crayolas and ship them to the National Crayon Recycle Program
- Save a stack of newspapers to clean windows and mirrors
- Clean out your closet (attach a shelf a day if you’re feeling overwhelmed) and let someone else love on them at your favorite Goodwill or local re-sale shop
Your focus should be in 3 main areas: reduce what you’re bringing home, re-use anything you can and then recyle what’s left over. Baby steps, that’s how it’s done.
2. Get creative with what you’ve got
Challenge yourself to look at products and containers already in your home with fresh eyes.
- Dryer sheets make great drawer and room fresheners with less waste and less dinero
- Coffee grounds can help get rid of cellulite, make plants happy, repel ants and SO much more
- Before tossing old sandpaper in your garage clean out, sharpen your scissors with it first!
- Old kleenex boxes and cardboard tubes are perfect for dispensing plastic bags you are saving for small trash can liners, pet pick ups and office lunches
- Save old print outs, envelopes and junk mail to jot notes or give to your marker-happy toddler to ‘decorate’
3. Start shopping with eco-savvy
Nothing gets a message across to retailers like voting with your dollars. Why not reward those companies with a green heart by giving them your business?
Look for products with minimal packaging and educate yourself on what companies really (and honestly) have a passion for minimal environmental impact. Big Green Purse (a great blog and essential book for your house) is one of the best ways to learn about what products and companies are walking the walk.
It’s not a label that says ‘green’ or has ‘eco’-looking design or color pallete, it’s about their daily business practices (where are they sourcing ingredients? how much of that ‘recycled’ packaging is truly recycled?) that counts. Look beyond the hype.
Shopping at area farmer’s markets and local businesses are great ways to support your local economy and cut down on emissions in getting products to you. Bring your own bags (the new BYOB?), get great local products and support your neighbors
Easy home recycling resources
Whatever you do to help reduce, re-use and recyle in your home matters. Need some help crafting your save the world strategy? Check out these great links for more information on getting a bit greener and more sustainable.
- The busy mom’s guide to recycling
- Get the ‘What Can I do This Week’ widget
- Read, love and bookmark the DIY Life site
- 50 things you can re-use