Advertisement has done a wonderful job of selling us on the attractiveness and benefits of buying “new”, “improved”, “special”, etc. products. Coupled with social media’s power of making you think you ‘need’ a product and setting the trends from food, drink, furniture, clothing, make-up etc. How much of that stuff do we actually need? We already collectively own so much that we could all survive for quite a while on the existing products – if we just reused them a few times!
Reusing products is a great way to reduce what goes into landfill. Landfills are a problem because when decomposing, organic waste generates a greenhouse gas called methane and many chemically treated materials generate leachates. Methane is 25x more damaging to the environment compared to CO2. Uncollected leachate can contaminate groundwater and soil. Hazardous wastes can persist in the environment and enter the food chain, harming future generations. Approximately 93% of the materials we use never end up in saleable products at all but are discarded during the production process; approximately 80% of what we produce is discarded after a single use.
Reusing and recycling makes sense on many levels!
How to get started
The next time you are looking for a new outfit, try a second hand clothing shop, trade me, or see what a friend may have instead. If things no longer fit, see if you can get them adjusted instead of throwing away and buying new. On the other hand, if you are having a clear out, check with family and friends to see if they want the clothes, look at donating, or if the item is beyond wearing cut it up and use as a rag for cleaning. 13 million tons of clothes are filling up our landfills.
Wanting to keep up with interior trends in your house? Instead of buying new, think about repainting or re-covering to give it a new life. Look at garage sales and second hand furniture shops and see if you can get a bargain! Before thinking about getting rid of a piece of furniture, think about why you want to – is it broken? Can you fix it? Can you up-cycle it? Can you donate it?
Think about what you are buying. Switch from disposable to reusable products: food and beverage containers, cups, plates, writing pens, razors, diapers, towels, shopping bags, etc.
See, it is not too hard to cut down on waste. We can all do our bit to help the planet!