chapter 2: REUSE

While it is highly possible to reduce your impact on the environment drastically, it is unrealistic to think you can completely erase your effect. That’s why the second step to going green is REUSE. Reuse is the practice of reusing as much of the packaging and containers that you use in your life.

Reuse glass containers. Reuse the glass containers left from pickles, jam, mayonnaise, and more. They are better to reuse than most plastic containers, and can be used for pins, rubber bands, small items in your cabinets, or for screws, nails, and hooks in the garage.

Reuse plastic containers. Yogurt, sour cream, or spreadable butter containers can be used for paint leftovers, screws, or small items. Egg containers can also be used or donated for paint or small items.

Reuse scrap printer paper. Used printer paper can be used as scrap paper, or cut it in pieces and used for notes and shopping lists.

Reuse lotion bottles. Buy high quality lotion and soap bottles, then buy bulk to refill bottles.

Reuse water bottles. Get an aluminum or plastic bottle to refill with water instead of buying new water bottles. Make sure to get a plastic bottle that is safe for reuse -- #1 is not safe for reuse.

Reuse coffee mugs. Instead of getting a new paper, plastic, or Styrofoam cup every day, buy a coffee or tea mug to reuse.

Reuse boxes from shipped items. Include a note in the box saying, “Help preserve our beautiful planet by reusing boxes and packaging material.”

Reuse cleaning bottles. Buy cleaning products concentrated in large containers and use your own tap water to dilute it. Use reusable spray bottles and containers. Use bars of soap instead of small liquid dispenser bottles, or buy bulk and refill.

Use reusable plastic materials. Instead of buying disposable lighters, buy one with refillable fluid, and buy a high quality razor with reusable blades.
Make compost from kitchen scraps. Leaves, chopped stalks, flowers and grass all make great compost in a pile or bin. Turn your compost every few weeks with a pitchfork to distribute air and moisture. Make sure to sprinkle water on the pile in dry weather. In most climates, you will have finished compost in 3 to 6 months, when the waste becomes a dark, crumbly material that is uniform in texture. You can then use the compost to spread in garden beds, under shrubs, on your lawn, or use it as potting soil.