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8 Ways to Inspire Re-Use In Your Community

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8 Ways to Inspire Re-Use In Your Community

By John R. Platt, Tonic

Reduce, reuse, recycle. For years, we’ve heard that environmental mantra. And we follow it, more often than not. Companies cut down on their packaging so it costs less to ship, and we recycle our plastic bottles and cans. But what about reuse? How many of us put something to further use beyond its initial application?

The thing is, re-using can be much better than recycling. A perfectly good item can have its lifespan extended, even if it has served its purpose in your own home. It can go to someone else, for whom it is good as almost-new, and in the process we save the cost of producing brand-new goods that will also have limited lives.

Don’t know how to get your old goods into the hands of someone who can use them? Don’t worry, here are eight easy ways to inspire re-use in your community.

1. Don’t recycle, FreecycleFreecycle is a great website that lets users (both individuals and businesses) post items they no longer need. The first person to respond to a message gets to pick up the item and keep it for free. Freecycle is easy to use. Just visit their website, plug in your town or zip code, and every day you’ll get an email with the items available in your neck of the woods. You can also follow Freecycle and spread the word about it on Facebook.

2. Use Craigslist — Freecycle can be hit-or-miss, since your emails might not get answered right away. So post your perfectly good, pre-used items online at Craiglist or another local site. That way, you can leave the ad up until the right new owner comes around to take your old goods off your hands.

3. Start a magazine or book trade — I love magazines, but how many times am I going to read my copies of Newsweek or Entertainment Weekly? Instead of letting them pile up around the house or recycling them after just one read, I trade magazines with my neighbors. Each magazine gets read more than once, and we all save on buying more magazines than we need. (Don’t worry, you’re not cutting the magazines publishers out of any revenue by doing this. Magazines assume that their issues are going to be passed around, and they set their ad rates based on that higher number of eyeballs, not on subscriptions or newsstand sales.)

4. Be thrifty — We have three charity thrift shops in our town, and that doesn’t even count the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores a few miles away. Whenever I have something I no longer need be it clothes or my recently replaced computer monitor I take a load over to one of the thrift stores. The charities they serve get money when they sell the items, and someone else in the area gets a great bargain. And if you buy something at the thrift store, share the news with your friends. Or heck, bring ‘em along when you go shopping. Maybe they’ll find a great bargain there, too.

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Read more: Green, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , ,

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12:24PM PDT on Oct 24, 2013

interesting ideas

7:32AM PDT on Jun 8, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:09AM PST on Feb 13, 2013


1:20PM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

Thank you.

1:19PM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

Thank you.

9:32PM PST on Jan 16, 2012


8:26AM PST on Dec 29, 2011

wonderful ideas!

8:59PM PDT on Sep 18, 2011

Glad to see encouragement to help our communities reuse stuff.

9:07AM PDT on Jul 1, 2011 is another great freecycle service to give and get free stuff in your community.

9:43AM PDT on May 20, 2011

Thank-you for the informative article, it gave me a few ideas. I have four questions I have been trying to figure out as far as re-cycling goes; #1= the plastic produce bags, more & more are becoming re-cyclable. Is one just to put them w/ the plastic & metal, #2=what do you do w/ small household or personal items that do not work anymore, ie: old hair dryers, answering machines, electric can-openers, etc., #3=old boots that have seen better days appearance are still usable they don't fit me anymore; #4=bubble-envelopes, the envelopes that are paper on the outside & are lined with bubble packing to give some protection to the contents inside. Where do they get placed for re-cycling? I thank-you for reading this & I'll appreciate any & all suggestions. Please do have a pleasant day. : )

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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