Going Above & Beyond...Recycling That Is!

Posted on September 6, 2015

We’re a big fan of recycling, but whatever we can do to reduce and reuse products and materials before recycling can go a long way to conserving our planet's resources. Since we have a Beyond Recycling Workshop coming Sept 10th, we thought we'd help get you started!

Reducing is attempting to purchase and consume less which reduces not only the materials required to make more stuff, it also helps to save energy and emissions needed to transport/distribute it. Reusing is taking goods that you’ve already used and applying them again for the same or a different purpose. How can you reduce and reuse?

1. Borrow rather than buy. Need a drill for a simple home project? Or a wheelbarrow for some major landscaping in your garden? The Calgary Tool Library is a great example of how a community can pool and share goods and services.

2. Avoid impulse purchases (your wallet will thank you!). When you do need an item, try to purchase a brand that has as little packaging as possible, or buy bulk so you get just what you need.

3. No need to buy books when you have millions at your fingertips at the Calgary Public Library. Frankly, I like to browse the shelves, find a new author, or spend a few moments reading books where the artwork catches my fancy. But if you like to read the latest bestsellers, you can put a hold on various titles online and have it delivered to your local branch. How simple is that?

4. Avoid disposable coffee cups. Did you know that a single coffee shop goes through over 3000 disposable non-recyclable cups per day? If you're sticking around and meeting a friend, ask for a "real" cup. It's more enjoyable to wrap your hands around a warm ceramic mug anyway. If you're on the go and like me, often forget to pack your travel mug, buy 2-3 and stash one at work, one in your transportation of choice and one in your pack so you always have one on hand.

5. Use re-usable bags for shopping. It's so easy with lots of options out there. Keep one rolled up in your pack or purse and leave spares in your car and/or in your bike basket so you always have one on hand for those last minute or unexpected shopping trips.

6. Personal gift giving. How often have you bought someone a gift that they didn't use? Gift-giving is great but it's usually more about the thought and effort than the actual thing itself. Why not put your skills to the test and make something instead? You could put together a scrapbook of family photos and momentos for a loved one. Or consider attending our Canning or Breadmaking workshops and give the gift of your garden's bounty or home made bread. There's lots of great gifts you can make with stuff you already have at your fingertips.

7. Get crafty. Do you have a budding artist in your life that loves to craft, draw and/or create? Reuse glass jars for paints, use up packaging like styrofoam and cardboard for crafts, take scraps of fabrics and yarn to create doll clothes...the list is only limited by your imagination!

Reducing and reusing the stuff in your life will not only save the planet, it can save you money and limit the clutter in your home. To learn more and focus some of your energy of the other 2 important Rs, sign up for our Beyond Recycling workshop on Thur Sept 10th or check out our online tip sheet.