Texas Homesteader ~
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Recycling is an important way to help protect the environment. But what about PREcycling?
Precycling can be defined as making purchasing decisions that will delay, reduce or eliminate the need to recycle or dispose of waste.
By PRE-Cycling we’ve reduced our landfill bound trash & collection fees. The result is positive for our budget & the environment.
(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a tiny commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)
Repurposing items to another use is a good example of precycling. I’ve been able to reduce all kinds of landfill-bound trash by repurposing items.
For instance, I’ve eliminated spray bottles previously filled with cleaners going to the landfill by refilling those spray bottles with my own homemade cleaners.
My homemade cleaners are typically made from a mix of either soap/water or vinegar/water. Come see the other simple steps we made to slash our landfill-bound trash.
And reducing your use of disposables is another example of precycling. For instance, I no longer use disposable plastic razors.
Now RancherMan & I opt instead for a steel safety razor and real honest-to-goodness double-edged blades.
At the end of the razor & blade life both can easily be recyclable. But the metal razor will outlast me I’m sure! Used blades are tucked securely into a metal box and recycled. The paper box the blades were sold in are tossed in my compost.
Safely Shaving With A Safety Razor
Initially I was afraid to make the switch. My thinking was that I’d need those 4-5 blades with the strip of protective aloe that comes on a disposable razor to be able to shave smoothly without cutting myself.
But my hate for plastic trumped my fear. So I gave it a try.
And I was pleasantly surprised. (kinda makes me want to kick myself for not doing it years ago.)
Not only is using a reusable safety razor substantially less expensive but an environmentally friendly choice as well. I often see nice brand-name safety razors at estate sales & antique stores.
When I fine extras I sometimes have a few in my Online Store. Check it out!
Bring Your Own Container For Restaurant Leftovers
The environmental side of me has always HATED that awful Styrofoam box they force on you when you take home the uneaten portion of a restaurant meal.
And if the contents are the least bit heavy the container gives enough to pop the lid open. Plus those dang things are so bulky to store in the fridge. (not to mention Styrofoam is an environmental nightmare!)
So several years ago I purchased an inexpensive small glass bake-ware pan with a snap-on lid. I’ll use it as a reusable way to bring home restaurant leftovers.
I even made a Cute Dish Carrier with repurposed denim. It was made to look purse-like so I wouldn’t feel awkward just carrying a glass dish into the restaurant.
When the dish is empty again I just wash it and allow it to thoroughly dry. Then I snap the lid onto the dish so it stays clean and I store it in my car.
Since it’s always in the car I have it with me even if we stop for an unscheduled restaurant meal. I just grab this small dish & carry it into the restaurant with me.
If I end up with leftovers they are easily transferred to my container. Then I bring them home & place it compactly into the fridge. That way I can enjoy restaurant leftovers for lunch the next day.
And since this glass dish is microwave safe I can heat & eat in the same dish. No extra dirty dishes, no extra trash! Win/win!
Easy Make-It-Yourself Items
Another way I’ve been able to reduce landfill trash is that I make products myself that I used to buy. That way I can make & store them in my own containers instead of bringing new disposable containers of product home.
For instance, for several years now I’ve made my own laundry detergent so those bulky containers are eliminated.
I also make my own yogurt so those containers are eliminated as well. I even make them in small repurposed glass canning jars for single-serve convenience.
But even if you don’t have the time or inclination to make this stuff yourself (but trust me, it’s EASY!) you can still make a big impact by being mindful of the things you DON’T buy.
Shun Excess Packaging
Look at the packaging of things you purchase. Shun those that are over-packaged whether or not the packaging can be recycled.
Those beautiful bell peppers are on sale, but they’re sitting on a styrofoam tray and entombed in multiple layers of plastic wrap. That’s a hard PASS for me!
I’ve passed up over-packaged produce, items for our home and even toys for my grandbabies in favor of less-packaged options. And I often buy used so in those cases there’s NO packaging involved. SCORE!
Composting Is EASY!
Another huge improvement in reducing our landfill waste stream is using our composter. I purchased this *compost tumbler a few years ago and now so veggie trimmings and such go into this composter instead of the trash can.
Living in the country we are on a septic system. I couldn’t use a garbage disposal for food even if I wanted to.
But I’ve always considered that using a garbage disposal to dispose of excess food is the wrong way to handle it anyway since it must be cleaned up down the line by utility workers.
Too many of the discards that are compostable land in the trashcan instead.
What a waste! (yes, pun intended. LOL)
Those veggie peels and apple cores are now composted & turned into black gold for my veggie garden. And my landfill-bound load is further reduced.
What about junk mail? It’s the mail everyone just hates to get. RancherMan & I are pretty adamant about removing unwanted junk mail from clogging our mailbox.
The law requires that if you OPT OUT of a company’s promotional offers that company must discontinue sending their junk mail to you.
Oftentimes I’ll send them an OPT OUT email and be sure to bcc myself so I have record of having sent it.
That way if I receive a second mailing from them I’ll “reply-all” to that email and in bold print write SECOND REQUEST – PLEASE RESPOND. They’re able to see that I’m tracking my opt-out requests and in almost 100% of the cases this puts an end to it.
You can also opt out of almost all marketing by visiting the website www.dmachoice.org. They place your information on a file made available to all direct marketers.
It costs $1 but it was one of the best dollars I ever spent since it was a one-stop shop. And it brought our junkmail volume down immediately.
I tackled the remaining trickle myself. Now a piece of junk mail in our mailbox is rare.
But when it does happen I simply copy/paste my opt out format in an email to that company and request to be removed from any future marketing mailings.
A Tiny Trash Can Is All We Need
By using these tactics and by recycling those things that we can we’ve reduced what is sent to the landfill from our home enough that we use only a tiny bathroom-sized waste basket as our main household trashcan.
And we don’t buy trash bags. The can is lined with whatever appropriate-sized plastic bags work themselves into our home.
Whether it’s the bag from a large family-sized container of cereal or the occasional plastic shopping bag that someone brought something to us in. (we don’t accept plastic shopping bags when we shop but I’ll make full use of the ones that end up in our home from others).
This small trashcan only needs to be emptied about once every couple of weeks. I feel pretty good about that!
The larger trash can in RancherMan’s shop needs to be emptied even less. But even though it’s larger, it’s still only the size of a typical kitchen-sized waste basket.
And once again, we don’t line it with disposable trash bags, but instead use repurposed plastic feed sacks.
Like I said before, if that blasted plastic is going to come into the house despite my best efforts, it’s gonna be used up before it’s considered done.
Plus it saves us money since we don’t have to buy trash bags.
What’s your favorite way to reduce landfill-bound trash at your house?
Links Mentioned In This Post
- Zero-Waste Hygiene: Using A Safety Razor
- Making A Cute Dish Carrier With Repurposed Denim
- MYO Laundry Detergent Powder
- Dealing With Discards – Where Is “Away”?
- Easy Homemade Yogurt Recipe
- Homemade Compost is Free Black Gold
- *Compost Tumbler
- Stopping Unwanted Junkmail
- DMA Choice To OPT OUT Of Junkmail
Other Posts About Reducing Household Waste
- How We Reduced Household Trash
- I Love Mother Nature So I Recycle LESS!
- 7 Ways To Reduce Plastic In The Kitchen
- Ditch The Plastic! Using Glass In The Refrigerator
- Natural Air Freshener In Reusable Glass Jar
- Reducing Plastic In Personal Hygiene: Deodorant
- No More Plastic Razors – How To Use A Safety Razor
- Where Exactly Is ‘Away’?
- Replacing Plastic Wrap With Beeswax Wraps
- Repurposing Empty Coffee Containers
- Denim Repurposed Into Fun Crafts
- 5 Zero-Waste Products We Love
- Easily Reduce Or Eliminate Junkmail
- Making Your Own Pourable Sugar Jar
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Repurposing A Parmesan Cheese Lid
- Zero-Waste Hygiene
- Eliminate Plastic Produce Bags
- Natural Cleaning – Homemade Laundry Detergent
- 5 Handy Repurpose Ideas From An Old Sock
…and Many More
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