Reusing and recycling 101 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Reusing and recycling 101

Updated:
© Comstock/Thinkstock © Comstock/Thinkstock


By Dana Goeglein
From Green Goes Simple

You want to be green, but it's hard to know the difference between reusing and recycling. Fortunately, it's not that complicated. Recycling and reusing have the same goal: to keep items out of overflowing landfills. The two tactics just go about it in very different ways.

Recycling involves reprocessing an old item -- such as a can, glass or newspaper -- and turning it into something new. Recycled paper products may be reprocessed into toilet paper and old tires may become a compound used to resurface roads.

Reusing, on the other hand, means avoiding the reprocessing plant altogether. Old items like containers, bags and appliances can be used again in their current condition for a similar -- or completely different -- purpose. Takeout containers can be turned into food storage (think: free plastic containers!), and plastic bags can be transformed into waterproof liners for planters or drawers.

"Reusing extends the lifetime of a product, from the time it is purchased to the time it goes to a landfill [or recycling plant]," explains Janine Kubert, director of operations at iReuse, a company that helps businesses and individuals become better reusers.  

When you extend the lifetime of a product, you not only reduce the need to buy something new (which takes energy to produce), but you also save on the energy it would take to recycle that product. "Reusing allows us to get the most out of our virgin products and raw materials, and aside from reducing consumption entirely, it is our best resource for waste reduction," says Kubert.

Whether you're an avid recycler or new to waste reduction, here are some simple ways to reuse and recycle every day:

Reuse

  • Reuse bags, boxes and containers. For example, turn old shoe boxes into storage containers, packaging for gifts or a treasure chest (have kids cut out pictures from magazines and glue them to the outside of the box for a customized container).
  • Rather than buying a new product, borrow, rent or share items you use infrequently or for a short period of time.
  • When babies and kids outgrow toys, books, cribs, high chairs and strollers, sell or donate the items rather than throw them away.
  • Invest in quality, durable products. You may spend more initially, but they'll last longer, which saves you money over time.  

Recycle

  • Become a full-circle recycler. Buy products that can be recycled; sort and discard them according to your community's standards; and finally, purchase products made from post-recycled materials.
  • For more information about recyclable materials, check out the EPA's website: Epa.gov/waste/conserve/rrr/recycle.htm.

Going Above and Beyond
While waste reduction starts at home, communities nationwide are forming around the premise that less is more. Freecycle (Freecycle.org) -- started in Tucson, Ariz., before spreading throughout the U.S. -- helps people be the best possible reusers. Through the Freecycle network, members are able to donate -- or pick up -- used products, such as appliances, furniture, toys and bikes.

In need of a reduce, reuse and recycle tutorial? Companies like iReuse (iReuse.com) give personalized consultations to help you reduce waste, donate reusable products and save money.

If you're not sure about your community's procedures or standards for reusing and recycling, check your town's government Web site or ask a neighbor. Through community boards, donation banks and home and school recycling programs, it's getting even easier to do more to waste less.

Dana Goeglein received a bachelor's in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a master's in food studies from New York University. She is a writer, yoga instructor and whole foods educator in New York City, where she strives to help others create harmonious, connected lives.

Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Hinesburg man in custody after alleged shooting

    Hinesburg man in custody after alleged shooting

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-04-25 03:56:35 GMT
    Police say a 71-year-old man is in custody accused of shooting a female relative in the hand and chest around 8:30 Thursday evening.The incident happened on Richmond Road. The Hinesburg police chief says the man was arrested without incident. He and the victim are long time residents of Hinesburg. Detectives are still investigating what sparked the shooting. But the chief says neither the victim nor the shooter have had any interactions with police before this. The woman was taken to Fletche...More >>
    Police say a 71-year-old man is in custody accused of shooting a female relative in the hand and chest around 8:30 Thursday evening.The incident happened on Richmond Road. The Hinesburg police chief says the man was arrested without incident. He and the victim are long time residents of Hinesburg. Detectives are still investigating what sparked the shooting. But the chief says neither the victim nor the shooter have had any interactions with police before this. The woman was taken to Fletche...More >>
  • Springfield police search for armed robber

    Springfield police search for armed robber

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:00:49 GMT
    Springfield Police need your help to find an armed robber. They say yesterday a white man carrying a semi-automatic handgun held-up the Jenny Wren Café on Main Street. The suspect is described as 19-29 with a slight build and no taller than 5-foot-9.Police say he had a dark buzz cut, acne, and was wearing a red Ecko hooded sweatshirt.If you have any information on the robbery call Springfield Police.More >>
    Springfield Police need your help to find an armed robber. They say yesterday a white man carrying a semi-automatic handgun held-up the Jenny Wren Café on Main Street. The suspect is described as 19-29 with a slight build and no taller than 5-foot-9.Police say he had a dark buzz cut, acne, and was wearing a red Ecko hooded sweatshirt.If you have any information on the robbery call Springfield Police.More >>
  • Arlington man facing an animal cruelty

    Arlington man facing an animal cruelty

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:03:45 GMT
    An Arlington man is facing an animal cruelty charge after police say they found a dead dog on this property.It happened at 2760 VT Route 313. Troopers were at Rick Thompson's home investigating a burglary involving a wood burning stove when they discovered the dog. Thompson told police the dog died from kennel cough but a vet later determined the dog had been starved to death. The 47-year-old is due in court next month.More >>
    An Arlington man is facing an animal cruelty charge after police say they found a dead dog on this property.It happened at 2760 VT Route 313. Troopers were at Rick Thompson's home investigating a burglary involving a wood burning stove when they discovered the dog. Thompson told police the dog died from kennel cough but a vet later determined the dog had been starved to death. The 47-year-old is due in court next month.More >>
  • Senator Sanders pushes for better access to primary care

    Senator Sanders pushes for better access to primary care

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:06 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:06:48 GMT
    Senator Bernie Sanders is pushing for better access to primary care for patients in Vermont and across the country.More >>
    Senator Bernie Sanders is pushing for better access to primary care for patients in Vermont and across the country. More >>
  • Burlington School budget one step closer to re-vote

    Burlington School budget one step closer to re-vote

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:09 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:09:20 GMT
    A new Burlington School Budget is one step closer to a re-vote in the Community.The Burlington School board voted in favor of a 67.4 million dollar budget. Dozens of parents and voters turned out Thursday night for public testimony on their thoughts and concerns on the new more expensive budget. A recent audit uncovered a 2.5 million dollar deficit forcing the board to slash about 2.5 million dollars in programming and staff. This new budget is 600-thousand dollars MORE than what was voted do...More >>
    A new Burlington School Budget is one step closer to a re-vote in the Community.The Burlington School board voted in favor of a 67.4 million dollar budget. Dozens of parents and voters turned out Thursday night for public testimony on their thoughts and concerns on the new more expensive budget. A recent audit uncovered a 2.5 million dollar deficit forcing the board to slash about 2.5 million dollars in programming and staff. This new budget is 600-thousand dollars MORE than what was voted do...More >>
  • Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:01:18 GMT
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
  • Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:31:24 GMT
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
  • Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:29:39 GMT
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.