reduce reuse recycle http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10855/all en-US 10 Ways to Reuse Buttons http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-buttons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-reuse-buttons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Buttons.jpeg" alt="Buttons" title="Buttons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like me and can't bear to throw away even the smallest of things, chances are you have scores of buttons lying around your house. They're practical in theory &mdash; clothing manufacturers thoughtfully attach an extra button or two to pants, cardigans, and dress shirts, so that if one falls off and is lost in the abyss of your work week, you can easily replace it. But since I am on the lazier end of the spectrum, my extra buttons sit in a tall, thin canister gathering dust on my desk. Luckily, however, through the joys of DIY, I've recently discovered 10 simple and clever uses for those already-so-useful buttons. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/twenty-five-things-to-do-with-old-jeans">25 Things to Do With Old Jeans</a>)</p> <h2>1. Frames</h2> <p>After a recent spring cleaning, I found an old, busted-looking frame. The glass was perfectly good, and the back worked fine, but the frame around it was scoffed and worn. I grabbed a glue gun and my pile of buttons, and I got to work. By the end, I had a brand-new-looking frame. This would work for mirror frames as well.</p> <h2>2. Stationery</h2> <p>If you don't have any unused cards and envelopes sitting around your house, make some! Pick up some cardstock, glue, and paint or markers, and get to work. If you don't excel at calligraphy, print the cards first. Keep in mind that the extra weight and added bulk from the buttons might cost extra in postage.</p> <h2>3. Magnets</h2> <p>Now this anyone can handle. Hunt down some thick magnetic tape from your local supply store, cut it to the size of the button, attach the button with either glue or the self-adhesive tape on the back of the magnet, and voila! Your button is now a functioning magnet.</p> <h2>4. Pushpins</h2> <p>Mirroring the ease and usefulness of a magnet, buy some flat-backed pushpins and glue the buttons to them.</p> <h2>5. Jewelry</h2> <p>From button earrings to button bracelets, anything goes in this category. For earrings, buy a pack of earwires and grab small rounded pliers from your tool kit. If you pick a smaller button, this is all you'll need &mdash; put the earwire through the hole of the button and squeeze the wire together with the pliers. For something a little more complicated, buy headpins as well. Stack the buttons up on the headpin, use a pair of round nosed pliers to make a loop at the top, and secure on to the earwires with the pliers. If you've never made earrings before, <a href="http://www.beadage.net/drop_earrings/index.shtml">Beadage.net</a> offers simple instructions on drop earrings.</p> <p>For a bracelet or necklace, use some sort of string &mdash; embroidery floss, elastic string, or necklace cord &mdash; to piece something together. Either do each button one at a time, looping through the button once to keep it tightly in place, or alternate sides of the string to create an overlapping effect. This is a good way to use those clear buttons that are included with most pants. Once you've made it long enough for your neck or wrist, tie the two ends together. A visual tutorial of the overlapping necklace (which can be made shorter to become a bracelet) can be found on this Estonian website, <a href="http://craftwerk.ee/trash-to-treasure-tutorials/adjustable-button-necklace">Craftwerk</a>.</p> <p><img width="400" vspace="10" hspace="10" height="342" border="0" align="middle" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5005/DSC08776.JPG" alt="Jewelry organizer " /></p> <h2>6. Jewelry Organizer</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m a big believer in displaying jewelry. Not only does it make me actually accessorize (I have a bad habit of just walking out the door with nothing extra), but it also serves as functional decor.</p> <p>For this, I purchased a small bulletin board, fabric, batting, and a plastic canvas with holes, typically used for cross stitch. First, I placed the batting on top of the bulletin board to figure out how much I wanted to use. Next, I placed the plastic canvas over the batting, and the fabric over that. I secured the fabric to the back of the bulletin board loosely with staples, to test how much fabric I might need. Then I safety pinned the plastic canvas to the fabric on the four corners. I removed the fabric from the bulletin board, and, with the safety pins still attached, sewed my buttons on to the fabric, making sure to loop around the plastic canvas multiple times. I used seven shanked (no holes) buttons (you can use as many as you want), placing them randomly across the fabric. Once the buttons were sewn securely on, I put the fabric back on the bulletin board, using a staple gun to attach it this time, and hung my new jewelry organizer on the wall.</p> <p><a href="http://sayyestohoboken.com/2011/01/diy-framed-jewelry-organizer.html">Say Yes to Hoboken</a> made theirs even simpler by attaching a piece of peg board to a frame and sewing on buttons.</p> <h2>7. Button Trees</h2> <p>I don&rsquo;t excel at art. My right-brained friends definitely overshadow me in this category. But for the sake of this article, I tried my hand at a fad that seems to be taking the internet by storm &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://artbywiley.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/button-tree-tutorial.html"> button trees</a>. My attempt kind of failed, but this is an especially good project if you have wee ones running around (big enough to not swallow the buttons but small enough to enjoy it).</p> <h2>8. Candle Holder Decoration</h2> <p>Like the button bracelets mentioned above, these can be made with a simple strand of either overlapping buttons or one fixed button at a time. I would suggest using elastic string for this project, so that the strand stays tight around the glass. Once finished, put it around the candle holder. Try to pick out a candle that matches one of the buttons.</p> <h2>9. Flower Vase (and Flowers!)</h2> <p>If you have a vase, take a hot glue gun and arrange the buttons all the way to the top. If your vase is round, use the smallest buttons to glue on. If you don&rsquo;t actually have any flowers to add to the vase, try using the remaining buttons to make this adorable <a href="http://whimsy-girl.blogspot.com/2008/04/button-bouquet-tutorial.html">button bouquet</a> from Family Fun magazine (also a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alternative-wedding-ideas-for-big-savings">great idea for a wedding</a>!).</p> <h2>10. Napkin Rings</h2> <p>Using the same technique as the candle holder, use your buttons to throw in a casual touch to your next dinner party. Hey, maybe you could even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-great-uses-for-old-ties">use an old tie</a>, and secure it with a button.</p> <p><em>Sew, what do you do with your old buttons?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-buttons" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Ways to Reuse Buttons" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Green Living art buttons frames reduce reuse recycle Thu, 05 Apr 2012 10:24:10 +0000 Jennifer Holder 914786 at http://www.wisebread.com 21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5596270338_02d8c34697_z.jpg" alt="aluminum foil" title="aluminum foil" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s said that we live in a disposable society. But the word disposable is a misnomer. Disposable is considered throwaway, something you use once and dump, regardless of the life that may be left in it. As a frugal shopper with a concern for the state of our environment, that just won&rsquo;t do.</p> <p>I often reuse many so-called &ldquo;one-time-use&rdquo; items, and I asked friends, family, and colleagues to tell me which disposable items they squeeze more life from. Here&rsquo;s my list, including some of the surprising ideas I was given. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <h3>1. Butter Wrappers</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re like most people, you unwrap your butter, pop the stick into your handy holder, and throw the wrapper away. But wait a second &mdash; instead of trashing the wrappers, keep them in a sandwich bag. The next time you need to grease a baking tray or dish, you&rsquo;ve got something all ready to go.</p> <h3>2. One-Day Contact Lenses</h3> <p>There have been great advances made in contact lenses. The ones I am wearing right now, for astigmatism, are relatively new. And there are lenses that can last months or just one day. But those one-day lenses have a lot of people thinking about extended use. Can you wear them again? Even just one more day would double their life span and halve your costs every year.</p> <p>Well, it seems that the answer is yes,<em> if</em> you clean them correctly and store them well. Use a bubbling hydrogen peroxide solution, which is designed to remove germs and bacterial matter, and you should be fine using one-day contacts for an additional day or two. The contact lens industry says you are at risk for eye infection if you reuse one-day contacts, but I&rsquo;ve been doing it for two years, and my eyes are just fine. However, if you want further advice on the subject, you'll find several articles on the Internet that have been written on this subject, including the UK's <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-357082/Contact-lens-firms-ripping-off.html">The Daily Mail</a>.</p> <p>However, I think the most telling evidence comes in the legal wording you'll find hidden in <a href="https://www.mycibavision.com/education/docs/durasoft_3_default.pdf">the fine print </a>on every box of one-day contact lenses. It's also printed in dozens of articles at the FDA's site, including <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cts=1331605561774&amp;ved=0CCMQFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.accessdata.fda.gov%2Fcdrh_docs%2Fpdf%2Fn18033s035.pdf&amp;ei=dq9eT8fpGKXs2QWrxMyCCA&amp;usg=AFQjCNG3bORnnTwAPe2lIqy5TtXWmaPPcw">here</a>, <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=3&amp;cts=1331605682769&amp;ved=0CDEQFjAC&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.accessdata.fda.gov%2Fcdrh_docs%2Fpdf%2Fk983912.pdf&amp;ei=dq9eT8fpGKXs2QWrxMyCCA&amp;usg=AFQjCNHpxUAH34xyvlWBea830JGe5BQFWw">here</a>, and <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;cts=1331605698519&amp;ved=0CCoQFjAB&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.accessdata.fda.gov%2Fcdrh_docs%2Fpdf6%2FK062614.pdf&amp;ei=dq9eT8fpGKXs2QWrxMyCCA&amp;usg=AFQjCNF-M84HdmL3wQDN5LbaXQA7yoV8_A">here</a> (PDFs). It reads thus, and relates to lenses prescribed specifically for daily wear:</p> <blockquote><p>Eye Care Practitioners&nbsp;may prescribe the lenses either for single-use disposable wear or frequent/planned replacement wear with&nbsp;cleaning, disinfection and scheduled replacement (see &quot;Wearing Schedule&quot;). When prescribed for&nbsp;frequent/planned replacement wear, the lenses may be disinfected using a chemical disinfection system.</p> </blockquote> <h3>3. Disposable Film Cameras</h3> <p>35mm film is making a comeback. It was bound to happen. What was once out of style becomes vogue again, and vice-versa. When you buy a cheap disposable film camera, don&rsquo;t hand the whole thing in to the photo department at the store. Strip it, remove the film, and replace it. You can find <a href="http://blog.kamerakevin.com/2009/05/reusing-disposable-cameras.html">complete instructions for dismantling and reassembling</a> on Kevin's Kamera blog.</p> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/camera.jpg" alt="350" /></p> <h3>4. Disposable Digital Cameras</h3> <p>These cameras are a whole different ball game. They are specifically designed to be one-time-use products, so the camera companies can make big money by charging you to download the photos and then reselling the camera to someone else. Well, you can get around that. It&rsquo;s not super easy, but if you have a soldering iron and some patience, you can make that disposable digital camera into a camera you can use again and again, downloading the pictures free at home whenever you want. <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_5790283_reuse-disposable-digital-cameras.html">Complete instructions</a> are available from&nbsp;eHow.</p> <h3>5. Disposable Camcorders</h3> <p>Disposable camcorders are also built to be reused&hellip;just not by the general public. The idea is that you hand them in, your videos are downloaded, and you get them back. But if you want to practice a little hacking at home, you can turn a one-time-use camcorder into a very reusable and handy device. Of course, since the price for the item is higher, the level of difficulty goes up. There are <a href="http://www.i-hacked.com/content/view/182/94/">full instructions</a> at I-Hacked.</p> <h3>6. Plastic &ldquo;Silverware&rdquo;</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve seen plastic knives, forks, and spoons in the dish dryer before. I was a little confused at first &mdash; isn&rsquo;t the whole point to save on doing dishes? But it&rsquo;s possible to get a good week of use from one set of plastic cutlery before recycling it. <a href="http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/should-reuse-plastic-utensils-2539.html ">National Geographic has more on the subject</a>. They do say that after about a week, the cutlery should not be used for sanitary reasons, but even then you can always use it for other tasks, including handy markers for plants. Just write whatever you planted in Sharpie on the handle and plunge it into the soil.</p> <h3>7. Dryer Sheets</h3> <p>They make our clothes smell great, and how do we reward them? With a one-way trip to the dump. Well, dryer sheets should not go straight into the trash. They have many uses. You can put them inside shoes and clothes drawers to keep everything smelling fresh. You can use them to clean the bottom of a dirty iron. And you can run them along baseboards, ceiling fans, and bookcases, just like one of those Swiffer dusters.</p> <h3>8. Plastic Yogurt Containers</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t just bin the yogurt pot when you&rsquo;ve finished with the delicious contents. If you&rsquo;re someone with green fingers, you&rsquo;ll find that yogurt pots are the perfect size for seedling starter pots. You can, of course, buy small seedling pots from a hardware store, but for the same price (or less, actually), you can use yogurt pots and get a healthy snack thrown into the bargain. If you buy the bigger, quart-sized yogurt pots, clean them out and use them to store leftover food, chicken stock, soup, and other perishables.</p> <h3>9. Plastic Bags From Newspapers</h3> <p>The newspaper comes to you in a thin plastic bag to keep it protected from the elements (and it&rsquo;s also another space for advertisers to shout at you). When you bring in the newspaper, the bag goes into the trash. But wait &mdash; if you live in a city that&rsquo;s prone to rain, hold onto those bags. They&rsquo;re small enough to fit in a purse or bag without taking up any room, but make a perfect umbrella bag. When you have to take your wet umbrella indoors, either for work or visiting friends, simply pop it in the bag.</p> <h3>10. Swim Diapers</h3> <p>My first reaction was &ldquo;seriously?!&rdquo; But after talking to a few parents who&rsquo;ve done this, it makes good sense. Unlike regular diapers, swim diapers are made to take much more punishment. They&rsquo;re designed to withhold the water, obviously, so you can put them in the wash two or three times (at least) before they start coming loose at the sides. Of course, don&rsquo;t wash a poopy diaper; that&rsquo;s taking it too far. But if it&rsquo;s just wet, throw it in the washing machine. When it&rsquo;s washed, let it AIR DRY. Otherwise, it will become a hard and crunchy mess. With the average pack of swim diapers costing around $12, you&rsquo;ll rack up the savings in summer.</p> <h3>11. Plastic Takeout Containers</h3> <p>When you order Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Moroccan, or any other takeout cuisine, it will often come in small plastic containers. Give them a good wash and reuse them. They are obviously good for holding leftover food, but they&rsquo;re also great containers for your craft room or workshop. I use them for screws, nuts, bolts, and pencils. Not only are they the perfect size and stackable, but you sometimes also get a whiff of delicious food just before you start your project!</p> <h3>12. Wine Corks</h3> <p>Other than putting it back into the half-full bottle of wine, what use are these corks? You just throw them out, right? Well, not so fast. Wine corks have many other uses. If you chop them up and add them to soil, they make good moisture-retaining mulch. You can scrub high-carbon kitchen knives with them, or protect the blades. You can even soak them in rubbing alcohol and make cheap and effective fire lighters.</p> <h3>13. Tissue Boxes</h3> <p>Here&rsquo;s a way to kill two birds with one stone. We all collect plastic grocery bags to use again as trashcan liners and for other shopping trips. Put them inside an empty tissue box &mdash; it keeps them all in one place and makes it easy to retrieve one at a time. Keep one in the car, one at home, one in the basement, and so on.</p> <h3>14. DVD/CD Spindles</h3> <p>With the price of blank DVDs and CDs being so affordable, most of us have a few of these spindle packs at home. But when the last disc is used, the spindle goes bye-bye. Well, it shouldn&rsquo;t have to. You can use it as a handy lunch container for bagel sandwiches. You can turn it upside down and make it into a pen caddy. And wrap computer cables around the spindle before putting on the lid for a very neat and tidy cable organizer.</p> <h3>15. Aluminum Foil</h3> <p>Every American throws away around three pounds of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/another-36-uses-for-tin-foil">aluminum foil</a> per year. It should all be recycled, but it's not. However, it can be reused very easily. It&rsquo;s durable, so a quick wash with a kitchen sponge and some soap and water will get it back to life. Just dry it flat, and fold it up. Or fold it several times and cut with scissors &mdash; it will really sharpen them up. You can also use it as a paint texture applicator, and you can restore the sheen to steel and chrome by rubbing the metal with foil.</p> <h3>16. Ziploc Bags</h3> <p>It bugs me at how wasteful we are as a society. Ziploc bags are a prime example. They are sturdy enough to be used many times &mdash; often a quick rinse with some hot water and a little soap is enough to make them as good as new, but we throw them out. Well, here are some ideas for Ziploc bags after their first use as a humble sandwich bag or food container:</p> <ul> <li>Store pantyhose in them, with a corner of the packaging. It will help you keep them separate in the drawer and identify colors.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use them as a piping bag. Just snip the corner.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make your own inflatable packaging &mdash; just insert a straw into the corner, blow, and seal, and you&rsquo;ve got cheap packing material.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Fill with crushed ice for a quick cold compress.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Break up graham crackers inside a Ziploc bag. No mess.<b><br /> </b></li> </ul> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/pulltabnecklace.jpg" alt="350" /></p> <h3>17. Soda Can Pull Tabs</h3> <p>This one is a direct result of finding a box of soda can pull tabs in our &ldquo;junk drawer.&rdquo; I was puzzled. At first I figured they were being collected for my daughter&rsquo;s school, like those box tops for education. Nope. Turns out, you can make some very beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry out of them, as well as purses, handbags, and even lampshades! Not convinced? Check out this collection of <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?ref=auto&amp;q=soda+can+tab&amp;view_type=gallery&amp;ship_to=US">soda can pull tab jewelry at Etsy.com</a> for inspiration.</p> <h3>18. Cardboard Egg Cartons</h3> <p>Let eggs bring you peace. Those egg containers made of the cheap, recycled paper are great for soundproofing a room. They don&rsquo;t look too pretty, but if you have want to make a room quiet, staple these to the walls. Their design is perfect for absorbing sound waves. You can be creative, painting them different colors and soundproofing a kid's playroom or a workshop. You can also use these same egg cartons as fire lighters, so pack a few for your next camping trip. And finally, they make good containers for things like hair ties or small office supplies (paper clips, brads, elastic bands, and so on).</p> <h3>19. Laundry Detergent Caps</h3> <p>When your bottle of detergent is empty (and I mean <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Get-that-last-load-from-a-bottle-of-detergent!/ ">really empty</a>), don&rsquo;t just throw it in the recycle bin. The cap is a great scoop for pet food, ice melt, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/really-great-uses-for-kitty-litter">cat litter</a>, or even as a play toy in the kids&rsquo; sandbox.</p> <h3>20. Baby Bottle Nipples</h3> <p>I could write a whole book on the waste that comes from the medical industry. It&rsquo;s amazing how much could be reused that &ldquo;cannot&rdquo; due to strict regulations. One such example is nipples for baby bottles. When you have a baby and feed him/her in hospital with formula, they will put a new nipple on the bottle each time and throw the old one away. They have to. Don&rsquo;t let them trash it though. It&rsquo;s yours, paid for through your insurance, so take them home with you. They&rsquo;re nothing fancy, but they are definitely good backups and can be sterilized and reused several times.</p> <h3>21. Spice Mills</h3> <p>The spice racks in supermarkets have a lot of these &ldquo;one-time-use&rdquo; mills, filled with peppercorns, salt, and other spices. The idea is that you buy one, grind away, and chuck the whole thing when it&rsquo;s empty. But there&rsquo;s no need to trash a functioning mill, especially as you can refill it for pennies with bulk spices. Of course, the spice mill has been designed to prevent refilling, but there&rsquo;s an easy way around it. Instructables has instructions for <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Reuse-a-disposable-spice-mill/?ALLSTEPS">reusing spice mills</a>.</p> <h3>22. Toilet Paper</h3> <p>The great thing about used toilet paper is&hellip;nah, not really &mdash; just a little fun to end the article.</p> <p>So, that&rsquo;s my list, but it&rsquo;s by no means complete. Think of it as a good start. Now, what do you reuse that most people put straight into the garbage? Do you have some shocking or crazy suggestions? Let us know.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse" class="sharethis-link" title="21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Life Hacks one time use reduce reuse recycle reducing trash reusable Wed, 14 Mar 2012 10:36:30 +0000 Paul Michael 910194 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Recycling Is My Lowest Priority http://www.wisebread.com/why-recycling-is-my-lowest-priority <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-recycling-is-my-lowest-priority" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/recycling.jpg" alt="Recycling" title="Recycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We live in a world that loves sound bites and oversimplifications. We embrace concepts that sound wonderful without much critical thought. All the noise around recycling is a classic example of what happens when an idea gets a lot of press, but in isolation doesn&rsquo;t really solve much. The larger and more inclusive mantra of &quot;reduce, reuse, and recycle&quot; is the real game-changing idea, yet we often forget about the first two &ldquo;R's&rdquo; and what they truly mean. To me, the three R&rsquo;s are in descending order of importance. Here's why. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Using Your Stuff</a>)</p> <h2>Reduce</h2> <p>For those of us who care about sustainability, good environmental stewardship, and simplicity, reduction is the primary motivator and the foundation of all the other principles. Reducing our wants and needs sets the stage for managing reuse effectively and recycling efficiently. Eliminating items from our personal orbits is the first small step in eliminating demand for them entirely.</p> <p>It's comical and only cosmetically green to continually over-buy and think that we&rsquo;re saving the earth by merely recycling the packaging of our surplus. Without reduction, restraint, and constant review, recycling is only marginally effective and provides us with a misleading sense of comfort and a hollow consolation.</p> <h2>Reuse</h2> <p>Reuse is the big brother of recycling. It involves avoiding single-use items and giving new life to objects in their original form or with only slight modifications. Recycling means destroying the original form and remanufacturing a new item from the material. Recycling is energy-intensive; reusing is creative. Reuse happens in the sewing room, garden, art studio, or workshop. Recycling happens at the curb.</p> <h2>Recycle</h2> <p>Recycling has a voracious appetite for waste &mdash; paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic are all fed into its gaping maw. Waste implies a cycle that&rsquo;s just inefficient enough to leave something behind. As a result, recycling is the last stop in the short life of a product we couldn&rsquo;t do without and couldn&rsquo;t figure out how to reuse. It's a passive, business-as-usual approach to consumption that requires the very least of us &mdash; sorting the wrappers of our spoils.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not saying that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-recycle-your-clothes-shoes-electronics-and-more">recycling</a> isn&rsquo;t necessary or valuable &mdash; it&rsquo;s just the lowest priority. But it continues to get top billing in a world of environmental sound bites. After all, manufacturers, retailers, and marketers can&rsquo;t quite figure out how to market the idea of &ldquo;less&rdquo; to us. Instead, they sell us designer &quot;green&quot; shopping bags, reusable mugs, colorful recycling containers, and more disposable products made with 45% post-consumer waste. What kind of revolutionary statement would we make if we just shopped less, bought less, reused more and ultimately had very little to recycle?</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-recycling-is-my-lowest-priority" class="sharethis-link" title="Why Recycling Is My Lowest Priority" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-living/green-living">Green Living articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Green Living Lifestyle recycling reduce reuse recycle waste less Fri, 18 Mar 2011 11:36:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 506071 at http://www.wisebread.com