Tip of the Month
March 2017: Spring into REUSE
Reuse is the 2nd of the 3 R's. The R for when it's too late to Reduce but maybe too early to Recycle. It's the time for creativity and innovation. A time to rely on the resourcefulness within ourselves, our households and our community. By doing so, we have the opportunity to extend the life of a product in its original form, for as long as possible before expending the energy and resources to turn it into something else.
According to the organization We Hate To Waste, "Within products and packaging are embedded materials and energy that will go to waste if you dispose — even recycle or compost — prematurely. Don’t get rid of something before its time is really up. Opt for repairing rather than replacing or get those creative juices flowing and find a new niche for an item." See some of their ideas for repair and repurpose projects here.
Teton County possesses a wealth of Reuse opportunities through businesses and organizations that offer resale, donation, repair and other services. In fact, Teton County ISWR and several community partners are developing a Reuse Resource Guide for publication later this spring. If you are part of one of these businesses or organizations, please provide your contact information so that we can include you as a local reuse resource. Watch for an ad in the JH News and Guide mid-March with more information on how to participate.
In the meantime, before you toss an item into recycling or trash, consider ways in which it can be repaired, repurposed, resold, or otherwise reused - and tell us about it! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Need more inspiration? Try these:
15 Household Uses for Bike Inner Tubes
10 Ways to Reuse Polystyrene (Styrofoam)
Send Valentines, Stop Junk Mail!
Step 1 - Start the process with www.dmachoice.org. It's not immediate but very customizable.
Step 2 - Opt out of phonebook deliveries from Dex.
Step 3 - Ask your credit card companies not to sell your information by requesting to be put on their "in house" list.
Step 4 - Check with your post office about options to refuse or return unwanted solicitations.
Step 5 - Additional advice (and other terrific zero waste resources) available from Ecocycle.org
Step 6 - It won't stop the junk mail from coming, but it's better than buying new...? Get out your hot glue gun and turn junk mail and other discarded items into one-of-a-kind repurposed Valentine's greetings. Click here for ideas.
Household Waste Inventory
It's resolution time! The first step in establishing new habits or energizing commitments to old ones is to recognize your starting line. If your 2017 goals center around reducing household waste, here's an activity you might enjoy...
What you will need: a tarp, a pencil, a bathroom scale (optional)
and a typical day in your household, office, classroom or organization.
Let us know how it goes!
Email your results, photos, and any questions to email@example.com.
And follow along throughout 2017 for monthly activities to build upon the results of your waste inventory and Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost more by this time next year.
Zero Waste Gift Wrap Ideas
It goes without saying that the holidays are a time when many of us (in a hurry) are tempted to relax our Reduce-Reuse-Recycle regimen and get carried away with the season. Statistics show that 1 million extra tons of waste is generated by Americans between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 25% more than at any other time during the year. It's understandable, but it doesn't have to be inevitable. A great place to cut down on unnecessary waste is in the materials used for gift wrap. Here are some tips and resources that will add to the quality of your gifts without having to be added to your trash bin.
Reusable gift bags - place your packages in a reusable bag that will last for many years to come. Bonus: make or buy reusable bags that incorporate repurposed fabrics.
Recyclable wrapping paper - traditional wrapping paper is not recyclable. It can contain hard to recycle dyes as well as numerous non-paper additives. Consider using repurposed or recyclable paper, such as the comic strip or sports page from the newspaper, your child's drawings from art class, or the pages of your 2016 calendar.
Tie a reusable bow - ribbon is not recyclable, but it can be reused if it's of lasting quality and can be easily untied and used again. Here are some creative ideas using kitchen twine that can be kept in a drawer and repurposed for any number of tasks.
Put it in a mason jar - much like reusable bags, these darlings of the zero waste movement make ideal containers for edible as well as non-edible gifts and then, in the new year, transition seamlessly into a kitchen pantry staple with infinite reuse potential. Here is one of many many examples found on Pinterest.com.
Styro-don't - it's no suprise that styrofoam is on the no-no list when it comes to zero waste. But you might not know about all of the creative alternatives to protect packages during shipping. Consider items that are already in your home. Toilet paper rolls cut into spirals, for instance, make springy cushions for your breakables.