Posts Tagged ‘Reuse’
Many US towns, cities, and in some cases states are encouraging citizens to reduce waste in their homes to reduce landfill-bound waste and pollution levels – reminding us that while our personal convictions about reducing waste make it feel like an ideology, the driving forces behind this line of thinking are actually health, safety, and environmental sustainability.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does a great job of educating Pennsylvanians on how to reduce waste in their homes on this page, which includes the following five tips:
- Buy durable products instead of those that are disposable or cheaply made.
- Repair/restore used items before replacing them.
- Buy items you can re-use. Re-using margarine tubs to freeze foods or pack lunches, for instance, reduces the need for foil or plastic wrap.
- Buy items you can recycle locally through curbside collection or recycling centers.
- Avoid excess packaging when choosing product brands. Buy products in bulk. Buy just the amount you need: larger sizes reduce the amount of packaging, but smaller sizes reduce leftover waste.
Hmm, where have we heard this before…anyway, this is what in.gredients wants to make easy for customers. Reduce, reuse, then recycle.
(image: Lillie in the City)
Next to food packaging, tissues might actually be runner-up for “most household waste generated” on a regular basis – especially during allergy season. According to Innovateus, an individual in an American household uses nearly 50 lbs of tissue paper per year! Don’t want the waste on your conscience? Applying the precycling approach (reduce, reuse, then recycle) to tissues is fun and rewarding.
The zero waste solution? Reusable tissues (and napkins), made from spare fabric, cloth, or apparel. Making Do With The Not So New offers a good walk-through for this, suggesting the following easy steps:
1. Cut fabric to 12×12″ for a tissue, 16×16″ for a napkin.
2. Hem the edges with a sewing machine.
Just think – new, soft tissues from those T-shirts you haven’t worn in months, great conversation-starters, and 50 lbs of waste reduced! Wins all around.
You may want to consider…
1. Setting out little baskets or dishes with your new hankies around the house for easy access.
2. Placing some sort of receptacle for used hankies in an easy location for guests.
(image via: Making Do With The Not So New)
Tired of dropping money on so many cleaning products? Make your own! Tsh Oxenreider, of SimpleMom, does a great job of explaining how easy (and *healthy*) it is to make your own non-toxic cleaners on her blog and in her latest book.
Tsh notes the following benefits of do-it-yourself cleaners:
1. Non-toxic cleaners are perfectly safe around children.
2. Non-toxic cleaners keep the air you breathe clean.
3. Non-toxic cleaners are much, much cheaper.
4. Non-toxic cleaners don’t harm the environment.
We add these benefits to the list:
5. Making your own cleaners reduces packaging waste (if you’re reusing your bottles).
6. Making multi-purpose cleaners saves space in your home, since separate cleaners aren’t always necessary for every household cleaning task.
Check out Tsh’s recipe here, on her blog. We’ll offer each of the simple ingredients in our store, package-free.
Ever wonder if you could recycle a film container? What about corks, or used CDs? These items, and many other “gray area” things, are usually not recyclable – but remember, within the “precycling” philosophy (reduce, reuse, then recycle), recycling’s the last step when it comes to minimizing waste.
Here’s a way to reuse some of the more “random” household items: the Austin Children’s Museum at 2nd and Colorado accepts the following items as donations, to be used for interactive museum activities:
-toilet paper/paper towel tubes
-yogurt/plastic cups (washed)
-paper/cardboard boxes (no cereal boxes)
-Styrofoam egg cartons (though the museum’s not taking these until further notice)
-plastic bottle caps
-paper: 8×8 inches or larger
-cardboard: 8×8 inches or larger
-yarn or string: 1 foot or longer
-fabric: 8×8 inches or larger
-materials that will inspire creativity in young minds. for example; wires, bulldog clips, clothespins, magnets, paperclips, etc.
-any design materials, materials books (carpet books, fabric books, material samples, etc)
HOW TO DO IT
You can drop off these goods at the museum during normal business hours. To decrease the workload of the museum’s volunteers, the museum has asked donators to sort your donations into (reusable or recyclable!) bags of like items.
If you have questions about Design Center supply donations, or have a donation you are unsure about, please call the museum at +1 512 472 2499, ext 202.
(image via: Austin Children’s Museum)
Hi, friends! A number of you have asked if in.gredients customers will be “asked to bring their own containers” to the store for filling. So we want to remind everyone: customers will be *encouraged* to bring their own containers, not asked. Don’t worry – we won’t require you to bring your own containers to our store. If you’d like to bring all 20 of your containers to the store, by all means, do so! But if you’re stopping by on the way home from work, dashing in for a snack, or if you forgot your containers, don’t worry – all of the free containers in our store are either compostable, highly reusable, or recyclable, and there for the taking.
All this to say, we prioritize “reduce, reuse, then recycle,” and will encourage you to reduce the waste your grocery trips take by re-using as much as possible. Reusable containers are a sure-fire way to accomplish this!
Read more about our exciting new business model on our FAQ page. We add to the content regularly!
The Johnson family share their zero waste lifestyle in this inspiring video:
After Bea and Scott Johnson downsized from a 3,000 sq ft to 1,400 sq ft house, they began to declutter and simplify their lifestyle. As Bea researched more about zero waste, she completely transformed her family’s home. They realized their “refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle” mentality was both budget-friendly and healthier than their previous lifestyle. We love their compostable toothbrush and homemade toothpaste!
(Images via: The Zero Waste Home)
As we wrote in September, the State of California failed to pass a proposition that would have banned the use of plastic bags statewide. While there are compelling reasons to abandon plastic bags (see them here), the “banning” approach may have been too extreme at a state level, since many California cities had already begun to develop voter-supported opinions and legislation on the matter. California obviously thought the same, and questioned whether banning plastic bags altogether was a good idea.
We cited Ireland’s plastic tax (or PlasTax) in that post, a market solution that discourages daily, thoughtless use of plastic bags by charging a nominal fee per bag at checkout. The Irish Department of the Environment found that in PlasTax’s first year, plastic bag usage had dropped 93.5 percent, from 328 to 21 bags per person each year. Without banning plastic outright, Ireland still reduced consumption dramatically.
A similar study has just been completed in China, where plastic bags have been taxed since 2008. Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that the use of plastic shopping bags in China has dropped by 50 percent since the Chinese government required stores to charge for them. The success rate isn’t nearly as high as Ireland’s, but goes to show that while a cold-turkey ban on plastic might not be feasible (and may spawn unhealthy reactions from businesses and the community), simply charging for bags can significantly reduce plastic bag consumption. And since half of the plastic bags consumed after China’s tax became active were recycled, we can assume that recycling rates will rise as people are forced to think more intentionally about plastic consumption – something echoed in NPR’s exposé of the topic in its 20 Sept 2010 Planet Money segment.
Since we wrote our last plastic post, the following areas have either banned, taxed, or decided to ban or tax plastic bags:
- Outer Banks, North Carolina
- Washington, District of Columbia
- Los Angeles County, California (more here)
- Brownsville, Texas
- Kauai and Maui Counties, Hawai’i
- American Samoa
The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition is usually involved in each of these ban or tax cases, offering counterpoints to most of the arguments pro-ban or pro-tax folks present. If you take a look at their website, though, you’ll quickly notice that most of their rhetoric is silly. They demonize paper bags to defend plastic – and prove their point in part by citing that plastic bags are more lightweight than paper ones and posting pictures of a littered Los Angeles River asking viewers to try to spot plastic bags. Really, none of that matters, since nobody wins the paper vs. plastic debate. Paper and plastic both consume energy to produce and consume energy to recycle through waste streams – so there’s no waste or energy being reduced here.
At in.gredients we promote a “reduce, reuse, then recycle” approach – which is to say “reduce waste, reuse what you have to use, and recycle the rest.” We encourage our customers to use reusable containers and bags for grocery shopping, so as to generate zero waste.
And, if you press us for an answer, we’ll shamelessly support taxes on plastic bags.