Inspired by the theme “Earth Day 2021”, “Restoring Our Earth”, Well + Good is running a month-long series called “Planet Hope” with expert-led content focusing on food, clothing, sustainable life and everyday activities. Check back for helpful advice on how to consistently and meaningful practice each focus of your life.
The pandemic year made me realize that maybe I could part with a lot of things I hadn’t touched at this time when there was very little to do and very little to go. For example, I sold all my jeans that no longer fit (why does it feel uncomfortable when you can only buy the right size… and also, Who needs hard pants, anyway these days?) and donated an impressive amount of Hollister sweaters that I accumulated while working there until college (and stopped wearing them years ago). But when I come across a bottle of green fabric dye that is half empty I bought when I made it myself Bring it on Clover uniform for Halloween four years ago, I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t want to move it to the trash, but I’m not sure what my other options are.
These dyes are classified as dark that you find odd to give, but know that they are good enough to use. I have some items like this, and also items that I know have no life in them, but I still don’t want to send them to the landfill. For example, items such as underwear are too small, too ragged, or too bloody. The past few months have led me to try to find a home for mistakes and end up in service no more if I don’t throw them in the trash. And through that process, I realized that there is a home for everything.
The past few months have led me to try to find a home for mistakes and end up in service no more if I don’t throw them in the trash. I realize that there is a home for everything.
Liesel Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller figured out that fact when they started Don’t buy anything group, a super-local gift economy, in their community on Bainbridge Island, Washington in July 2013. “We have reduced, reused, recycled, but if we ‘declined’ before – how about refusing to buy? “asked Clark, who is also an environmental filmmaker for National Geographic and PBS.
We generate a lot of waste. According to the most recently available data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Americans generated 292.4 million tons of waste in 2018. That’s about 5 pounds / person per day. About a quarter of that waste has been recycled. Plastic, is not known to be recycledThis includes about 4.5% of recyclable goods, although it only accounts for more than 12% of the total waste generated. But while there is clear room for improvement in the recycling department, it is not a one-to-one remedy for waste production. “Rejecting” new items, as Clark says, and looking to reduce waste production is what can help cut these numbers more meaningfully – and Buying Nothing is an initiative Works to facilitate that goal.
The Nothing Buy Group primarily exists on Facebook, but the organization is also rolling out a location-based app in May (you can join the waiting list here). Buy Nothing allows people to share when they are searching for an item they want to give away or have an item they want to part with. For example, consider the pull-back bags that whole wheat bread usually holds. “I washed them out, saved them and posted 20 of them at once. And hey, there’s a woman who absolutely wants them, ”Clark said.
I joined my local Facebook Buy Nothing group in February and I see neighbors looking to get rid of everything from the air conditioner to the wine rack to the sometimes leaky Vitamix blender. Oil rust but it can all be yours “if you’re willing to clean up and fix the problem.” Someone quickly commented that his girlfriend wanted a blender. smoothieAnd he wants a new project.
So I made my first post: I was able to find a home for some unused beauty products, a softer gel nail polish, a cork board, and a half-empty bottle of green fabric dye. The exercise helped me realize how simple it can be to reduce waste production with just a little bit of effort and dedicated research.
There is even one use for all the seemingly absolute garbage. Animal shelters are always looking for old sheets, towels and yoga mats. Knickey will take your old underwear (via free shipping labels), recycle them and exchange them for a new pair. Free girls accept used bras gently (also through free shipping labels) and donating them to sex trafficking victims. The North Face will wear your worn hiking boots (just drop them at a store), recycle them and give you $ 10 for your next $ 100 purchase. And the art teachers will be happy to pick up some of your recycling for projects – Clark found that the showroom near her would love to accept meat and fish foam trays and empty yogurt containers to make Handmade.
If figuring out which organization uses which product seems effective, that’s because it is. While throwing everything in the trash was a reflex, forming a sustainable habit and pauses to think “could this have another use?” It requires a mental muscle that many of us are not accustomed to with exercising. Clark acknowledges that transforming your mind requires thought, creativity and dedication – but isn’t that the least you can offer?
“Just note that everything has value – everything,” she said. “Everything is made of materials, whether it’s wood, glass, plastic, metal, rubber, paper or textiles. There is a place where everything can eventually go to, and hopefully can be reused or recycled. “
This change of habit also takes time and space. For example, I get a lot of packages for work and if I keep all the boxes as gifts for reuse, my apartment will look like a no more scene Stock: Buried Alive. And if I try to give them away when I receive them, managing the whereabouts of the boxes becomes a full-time job. So commit to doing what you can; Test your habits and see where you can consciously and sustainably reduce your waste, remembering that this person’s trash is truly someone else’s treasure.
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