Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…. Sounds like a tired old saw, doesn’t it? And so many people do the recycle bit now, don’t they? Do they? Even when municipalities have recycling programs, there are people who are too lazy to sort stuff out. By my desk, I have a small waste basket and a paper bag. The paper bag is for paper and cardboard. Soda and water bottles are returnable, so they have a bag in the kitchen…next to another paper bag, and a large plastic bag for cans and bottles that can’t be redeemed, yogurt pots, the plastic coffee containers.
Yet, not all of it ends up actually going out for recycling in that manner….REUSE: find a need and instead of buying something for it, make something for it with what you have. I have a line of jam jars on my desk, holding pens and scissors and lighters. A can from Royal Dansk Luxury Wafers holds my stick incense. A cactus growing in a container from frozen strawberries… you get the idea. So REUSE and RECYCLE pretty much go hand in hand. Empty tissue boxes can be used to hold small toys, or tools, or bits and bobs on dressers, desks and worktables. Check with your local school and day cares: Art teachers seem to always be looking for stuff like the jam jars, yogurt pots, plastic food containers, paper towel rolls…if you don’t use them, someone else may. I have seen some awesome examples of what they now call ‘Hobo Art’…knick knack boxes and planters made from cigar boxes, old boots and driftwood. During the Great Depression, when men left families behind to look for work, ANY work, they made these things. Sometimes to sell, but more often as a thank you to someone who let them sleep in a barn, or shared a meal, or to send home as gifts when they had nothing else to give for birthdays or holidays.
REDUCE: I have mentioned before buying things like rice, pasta, cereal, flour and sugar in bulk and storing it in air-tight containers can save money. It also reduces the amount of packaging. REDUCE also means don’t use as much of something. For example, when possible, AIR DRY laundry instead of using a dryer. Yesterday, I did five loads of laundry…and used the dryer only once. I probably could have gotten away with not using it at all, but I didn’t have enough space on my drying rack for all the unmentionables. One dryer load…and all that was in it were socks and underpants. Only needed the shortest cycle for it, too.
When you get into these habits, you start noticing you have a little more money left at the end of the month. Then you can put that towards a savings account, or outstanding bills, or a special treat. In my case, I am saving for a trip to England in 2014. I need air fare for two, hotel for one for three days, and spending money. I may just make it.