Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:
Common and Creative Tips and Ideas

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: tips and ideas to take your efforts further, via

We've all heard the saying "reduce reuse recycle", but it is still an important topic that way too many people overlook. We live in a culture that doesn't understand the dangers of using so many non-reusable and wasteful products and habits in our lives.

Below are a few articles on the three R's, including how to recycle common items, reusable alternatives to disposable products, as well as a list of all the articles found throughout the site that discuss more reusable alternatives.

What Are The Reasons Why I Should Recycle?

Reducing, reusing and recycling is important for many reasons.

For starters, reusable items save us money. Constantly replacing disposbale items costs money, not because of buying new things, but because many of those things are pricey to begin with.

Eliminating waste usually leads to an elimination of harmful chemicals as well, such off-gasing and unsafe resources. This is because disposable items are newly manufactured, meaning constant off-gasing; many are made from plastics, which contain harmful chemicals such as BPA; and others are processed in a way that includes dangerous chemicals, such as the bleaching of paper napkins or plates.

Then there are the environmental issues behind constant waste:

  • This first is manufacturing. Constantly reproducing new products means excessive use of water, oil and other chemicals. This also often leads to pollution around manufacturing plants, which affects the environment, as well as human health in the area.
  • The second is the constant shipping of new products. This amounts of hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide in the environment. This affects plants, animals and people in the environment.
  • The third would be a loss of resources. Most products that are disposable still use an abundance of resources...resources that may be limited in the future, or even now, such as oil and water.
  • Fourth, is litter. Most litter and dumped waste found on the road or in wild areas is from disposable products.
  • And last, is our long-term waste management. Designating landfills is a temporary solution to a permanent problem. And because things put in a landfill don't decompose, those items will never return back to a reusable form by man or Nature.

And a highly disposable culture simply isn't sustainable - meaning we can't sustain this level of use and waste for the long-term.

The Basics of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"

When you're ready to commit to the "Reduce Reuse Recycle" motto, these articles (found only here or throughout the site) can help you make the switch to a more sustainable alternative.

The Myths of "Biodegradable" Waste
Did you know that even after 50+ years in a landfill you can still read the newspaper and name the foods found within? Or that "biodegradable" plastics probably won't biodegrade at all?

What is PREcycling?
Did you know recycling starts before you even make a purchase or create the trash? Read this article about where to really start when you're ready to apply the "Reduce Reuse Recycle" motto.

How to Recycle the Right Way
Yes, there is actually a right and wrong way to recycle. Knowing how to properly recycle is one of the first steps we get to make in choosing to "reduce reuse recycle".

Reducing Food Waste with Home Composting
We simply can't talk about reducing waste without looking at the easiest thing to keep out of the landfill, and the thing that does the environment the most good.

How To Maintain a ZERO Waste Home
After precycling, recycling, and composting, there are still usually odds and ends that are hard to avoid. Learn what to do to keep even plastic ties and foil wrappers from the trash.

Recycling: How To Recycle Odds and Ends

Besides cans and glass bottles, this short section gives you ideas on how to recycle the rest of what you might otherwise throw away.

Recycling Ideas for Unwanted Household Items
This guest post talks about how you can recycle, and upcycle some common household items that you may no longer need or use.

Recycling Electronics
E-waste accounts for a tremendous amount of landfill these days. But computers, cell phones and other electronics can be recycled easily for their materials.

Have a question about how to recycle something? Ask it here!

Reducing: Ideas on How To Use Less

Stainless Steel Water Bottles
It's important to know what to look for in your stainless steel water bottle, and what to avoid.

Truly Recycled Toilet Paper: Cloth Toilet Paper Facts
If you're really ready to go green, cloth toilet paper is the answer. I know, I sounds pretty "out there" when you first hear about it. But I encourage you to read this article on it to learn the facts and tips to making it work.

Fabric Gift Wrap: Your Unique Wrapping Alternative
One beautiful and sustainable alternative to traditional wrapping paper is fabric gift wrap. This unique gift wrap idea is reusable for many years and can be very affordable.

4 Steps to Stop Receiving Junk Mail
Put an end to the stacks of junk mail and you could save up to 69 POUNDS of paper each year.

Truly Reusable Razors
Disposable razors are expensive and dull quickly. Learn about safety razors and straight razors to "reduce reuse recycle" your shaving habits.

3 Alternatives to Plastic Food Storage Containers
Getting rid of plastics is a big step, and food storage tends to be on that people question. But there are many airtight alternatives that are just as safe, but healthier and cheaper than chemical-filled, short-lived plastic containers.

35+ Alternatives to Common Plastic Items
Learn what you can use to replace things like a plastic toothbrush, shower curtain, and more.

Reusable Shopping Bags
Using reusable bags is a popular recommendation for green living. Learn what to look for in your reusable bag.

Reusing: Upcycling Ideas

Upcycling is taking something old and crafting it into something new that can be enjoyed again and again.

7 Easy Steps to Make Yarn (Plarn) From Plastic Bags
Ever find yourself with plastic bags and not sure what to do with them? Recycling takes a lot of resources, but you can have fun upcycling them into a bag, mat or purse instead!

Step-by-Step Rag Rug Instructions
Learn how to make a durable and beautiful rug with old linens, t-shirts, sweaters or other scrap fabric with this written and photo tutorial.

20+ Unique Ways to Recycle Old Tires
Learn how to keep your old tires from the dump by upcycling or recycling them into numerous and unique indoor or outdoor projects for the home and garden.

Have a question about how to reduce your use of something? Ask it here!

Submit your own creative ideas!

We'd love to hear your creative ideas for reducing waste, reusing common household items, and recycle or upcycling those hard-to-recycle objects.

Share your ideas below, and to make it easier for readers to find what they are looking for, please try to be as descriptive as possible in your title. Also, list any resources you have to make it easier for others to reduce, reuse, and recycle too! The more (relevant) info and photos you can add the better!

(For all our submission guidelines, please click here.)

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Creative Ideas from the Whole Community

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Cement Recovery Not rated yet
New portable light weight forms allow for the recovery of cement on the jobsite while producing a value added landscaping product. As most are aware …

9 Ideas to Reuse Empty Checkbook Boxes Not rated yet
I have several ideas for what you can do with empty checkbook boxes! Use them as draw organizers in the bathroom (they are great for holding makeup, …

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