The forgotten “r” … (Aww! Poor “reuse”)

So, who hasn’t heard the green mantra:  “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle”.  Presumably, if you’re here, you know it by heart but, despite being first in line, the “reuse” often gets forgotten.

It’s no less important, but I think we all start thinking green when it comes to new products, new purchases and new actions, so that’s where we all need to be reminded about reusing what we already have and putting it to good use.

A reader recently commented about my “a-ha moment” when I replaced a few sets of blinds with new ones.  I nearly threw them in the trash before I realized… hello!  They’re aluminum… recycle them.  She reminded me that they could have been donated, but truth be told, they were broken (they couldn’t be opened and closed).  No one wants a set of broken blinds because, it goes without saying, permanently opened blinds in the bedroom and bathroom are not such a good idea, unless you enjoy visits from the local authorities.

We have been really conscious about reusing.  We have donated clothing, household appliances and goods, books, toys, furniture, everything imaginable.  About a year and a half ago, we decided to replace our family room furniture.  It was getting a little worn and we’re lucky enough we could afford to replace it.  I won’t pretend it was easy to find an organization to come and pick it up (it spent two months in our garage while my husband’s car sat outside in the dead of winter) but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Aside from the need to see that it gets reused, it’s also important to remember that it’s the spirit of giving that also matters.  There is always someone less fortunate than we are and, my heart would have broken if it landed in a trash dump… I snuggled my babies on those couches!

I just want us all to remember that this is a part of being green.  If you have something you don’t want, don’t let it find its way to the curb.  Find it a home.  Every community has organizations that want these items – national and local non-profit organizations, shelters, community service groups – so many.  They will either get the items to those in need or sometimes sell the items cheap, so the giving is doubled – someone who needs them (cheaply) gets them and the organization makes money for their cause.

There is a reason that we’ve all heard the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  And this planet just doesn’t need any more “fill” in the landfills!

If you don’t already know of an organization in your area that needs your help a quick search is likely to turn up plenty, or here is a list of national organizations that want your help:

* Goodwill
* The Salvation Army
* Vietnam Veterans of American
* Purple Heart
* Easter Seals
* (30 Charity Ideas for your furniture) — FYI: Special Olympics picked up ours!

(If you have a charity for donated goods that is near and dear to your heart and you would like me to add a link, please let me know…I’d be happy to!)

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"Going green" has always been a part of my daily life. It began, as a little girl, when I helped my mom gather the recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center. It continues today, as a mom myself, when I teach my own children those same responsible virtues.

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8 thoughts on “The forgotten “r” … (Aww! Poor “reuse”)

  1. Hey,

    I don’t know if you have published this or not. If you go to Etsy.com and search upcycle. There are tons of cute re-cycled stuff. I just ordered a skirt for my daughter…. plus you are buying from most likely other stay at home moms.

    Laurie :)

    Lauries last blog post..vintage bw

  2. Timely! I just took two boxes of yarns and fabrics to Goodwill. I also asked about donating a Twin Bed (including boxspring/mattress), and they even offered to pick it up!
    Remember, donating items that can be reused allows you to claim on taxes as a charitable deduction!

  3. Laurie – I have heard about Etsy.com One of my friends sells some great stuff through the site. Recycled fabric clothing is always a great option when you want to buy new but be green at the same time!

    Robert – Bravo! It’s a great option to adding to landfills, isn’t it?! And I did forget about the tax deduction too… who doesn’t need that in times like this…

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