It’s always been important to recycle, but it seems that now more than ever, it’s imperative for the survival of future generations. Recycling wasn’t much on my radar until recent years. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, I just wasn’t fully aware of how great the need and I was ignorant to all of the ways that I could be helping our environment by cutting down on waste in our household.
Our county provides recycling bins and a pick-up service that is included with our trash and water bills. When I started putting whatever I could into that recycling bin, I realized just how much I used to throw away and how easy it was to recycle it instead. I also started reading more and more about how much trash is dumped into the oceans and the negative impact that it’s having on marine life. It’s hard to understand the severity of the situation when you live in a land-locked state 8 hours away from the nearest ocean, but it’s not just the oceans that are in trouble and recycling isn’t just for tree-hugging hippies anymore — It’s for all of us.
5 Ways To Re-Use Plastic Shopping Bags
- Trash Bags For Small Trash Cans: We re-use our shopping bags from Target and Kroger as trash bags in our bathroom. It saves us money by never having to buy that size of trash bags and it gives the shopping bags a new purpose. It doesn’t look all that nice, but when it’s hidden in the corner of your bathroom — who really cares??
- Doggie Poop Bags: Sorry to be gross, but this is so practical! Why pay for those little rolls of doggie poop bags when you can just use shopping bags? Our dog knows the sound of a crackling shopping bag, it means it’s time for a walk!
- Traveling Laundry Bag: Bring one or two shopping bags along in your suitcase to separate dirty socks, undergarments, etc.
- Lunch Bag: Perfect if you don’t pack a lunch often enough to justify buying a nice reusable lunch box/bag!
- Use Your Imagination! What other ways have you found to re-use plastic shopping bags??
Earn Money Recycling Aluminum Cans
This is a brand new thing for me, and I’m really stoked to get started with it. Did you know that some recycling centers will pay you to bring in your aluminum cans? You can make around 30 cents per pound, unless you are living in or near a state with a bottle bill. A bottle bill means that there is 5 cent per can minimum reward. I know 30 cents per pound isn’t a lot, but over time it could add up and isn’t it better than nothing? In my eyes, if your household goes through a lot of cans (and we definitely do) then you’re doing yourself a favor by recycling them as well as helping the environment.
We drink a lot of canned drinks in our house between LaCroix, Zevia sodas, and beer & wine cans. It really bugged me just throwing them away, so I started to do some research and learned how to recycle aluminum. You will probably have to do a little bit of digging to find the right recycling center to go to because not all of them accept aluminum. It only took me about 5 minutes to do a Google search to find a center near me. If there are multiple centers in your area, then I would recommend calling around to ask what their rewards are for aluminum cans.
You should also come up with a plan, such as a container for your collected cans that is big enough to hold several pounds of cans but also not so big that it is difficult for you transport it to the recycling center. Maybe you’ll want to drop your cans off monthly, bi-monthly, or maybe just a couple of times a year — just find whatever works best for you! To save space, you can crush the cans by stomping on them (just make sure you’re wearing solid shoes). Or if you’re really going to get into it, you might want to invest in a can crusher!
5 Easy & Effective Ways To Reduce Waste
There are many ways you can effectively reduce waste in your household by just changing a few small habits.
- Stop buying plastic water bottles and replace them with a reusable water bottle. I know how convenient plastic water bottles are, trust me! But discontinuing your use of them for the most part will save you from buying water and contributing to plastic waste. Just invest in a nice water bottle and a faucet filter or a pitcher filter.
- Re-usable shopping bags: If you want to cut out the use of plastic bags in your home completely, use your own shopping bags! Most grocery stores these days have them available for purchase any many of them are insulated.
- Are you a coffee drinker? If you frequent places like Starbucks, bring your own tumbler in each time you order coffee and you will get 10 cents off of your purchase. That is one less plastic cup and straw floating around the ocean in the future. Or if you forget your tumbler at home, at least remember to recycle your cup! Most stores have a recycling bin now for your cups. If you like to visit coffee shops aside from Starbucks, I’m sure many of them wouldn’t mind you bringing in your own cup. You’re actually saving them money as well.
- Go Paperless: We live in an electronic world now and it’s easier than ever to opt out of paper mail. Anytime the opportunity arises, opt out of paper bills and statements and have everything emailed or texted to you. Many companies now have apps to help you pay online and have notifications sent to your phone. Saves paper waste and can be easier to organize! I know you can’t opt out of junk mail, so instead of tossing it in the trash, shred it up and toss it in the recycling bin.
- Go Paper Towel-less: I’ll be honest… I haven’t embraced this concept yet, but I’m working on it. I love paper towels, but they are very wasteful. While doing my research for this blog post, that was something that kept popping up. Nix the paper towels and use cloths in your kitchen and bathrooms!
Did You Know?: Most plastic lids from peanut butter and almond butter will fit on the tops of mason jars! I don’t know about you, but I hate it when the metal mason jar lids get all rusty and gross and it’s really hard to keep that from happening. Save up a handful of those lids to reduce waste and save yourself the trouble of rusty lids if you use a lot of mason jars. We use them for storage and we use them as drinking glasses!
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What are some ways you re-use and recycle?
I want to hear your tips also! I’m always open to finding new ways to go green and save money in process. If you have a tip that wasn’t mentioned, feel free to share in the comments!