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In an earlier blog, we expressed a concern we know we share with our earth-loving community; one of a consumption-driven lifestyle that seems to take over particularly at this time of year. It’s difficult to ignore the flashing lights, big SALE signs, and the pressure to gift the people in our lives at Christmas.

Our passion for sustainability has led us to a three-part blog series in which we unbox what it means to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.

In the first one – perhaps the most important one – we focused on reducing consumption. This is part two, and in it, we’re listing some more good ways to lighten your impact and consume less.

We’re talking about REUSING.

The media has refined the art of convincing us we need the latest trend, or the new-and-improved version of something we already have. But, the truth is that every time we upgrade or improve our wardrobe, our kitchen appliances, our cars, or cell phones, we are accumulating more STUFF.

Manufacturing all this stuff uses natural resources in abundance, taking from the environment during a time when we need to be preserving and conserving. If we could make a little effort to reuse, we would be reducing our impact on these precious resources and contributing towards not only a cleaner environment, but a clearer conscience.

Here are some suggestions for REUSING yours and others’ consumables.

What great, green ideas do you have?

  • Garage Sales: Keep an eye out for local garage sales and be surprised at how true the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” really is! 

  • Replace disposables: Switch from disposable to reusable products, like plastic carrier bags, takeaway containers, coffee cups, straws, pens, razors, diapers, towels, shopping bags. Some of the biggest offenders washing up on sea shores are plastic toothbrushes, razors, flip-flops, lighters, and cotton buds. All of these have a sustainable alternative.

  • Donate: Household items, clothes, furniture, kitchen appliances, sports and technological equipment are not easily worn out, and the chances are that when it comes time to upgrade, it’s more likely because you’ve outgrown certain things and not so much because your items are damaged. So, donate them or sell them and save someone else from buying new!

  • “Freecycle”: The Freecycle Network is all about keeping stuff out of landfills. It is an online community, free to join, that provides a community tool for trading your stuff for free! A community swap might work the same way. 

  • Fix/repair: Replacing things because they are broken (but repairable) is one of the biggest reasons for overconsumption. If you could get your old something fixed rather than tossing it and buying a new one, you’d be reducing your consumption by a fair bit. Create or join a fixers collective in your community to get together once a month or so to help each other repair broken appliances and other household items.

  • Be frugal: Print on both sides of a sheet of paper, and teach your children the value in being economical and not wasting resources.

  • Share: Share with your neighbours or wherever convenient. If you live in a community that might collectively own items, see if you can make use of good old fashioned sharing! Things that are infrequently used, like lawn mowers, printers, bicycles, or pressure cookers can be borrowed  and loaned between neighbours and reduces the need for everyone to buy one.

Reusables are fast replacing disposables (yay!) and while we still have a long way to go, it feels GOOD knowing that there are innovative people out there who are coming up with fantastic inventions that replace some of the biggest offenders, like straws and other plastic items. What’s even better is knowing we, ourselves, can do so much to reuse. It’s not only about replacing single-use plastics with reusable ones; it’s about avoiding the temptation to buy new.

Here’s to an eco-friendlier 2020!

Written by Chloe Cooper

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