Not all trash is treasure but it is likely that you still depositing some fairly valuable goods right into your garbage can. Thus, if you have been making a dedicated effort to lower your impact on the earth, the waste bin is probably the next place to start making greater change. These efforts, however, will need to go far beyond simply eliminating glass bottles, aluminum cans and other recyclables from the weekly collection. Following are four new ideas to make better use of your trash.
Create Rag Boxes
Even if you are diligent in donating your unwanted apparel, there are still clothing, linens and other like-items that likely find their way into the trash. These things are usually stained, ripped or otherwise unusable in the traditional sense. Rather than depositing them into the landfill, however, you can create a rag box. Simply rip up the fabrics that you intended to throw away and place them in an empty plastic container in your basement or garage. Keeping these things covered with a plastic lid will reduce the fire hazard that collections of dry fabric in the open air can create.
These items are perfect for wiping up household or work area spills. They can be used for cleaning your dipstick when checking the fluids in your vehicle or even for wiping down the car after you have washed it. Not only will rag boxes reduce your rubbish pile, but they can also significantly reduce household use of paper towels.
Save Your Hardware
A severely damaged file cabinet, bookshelf or television stand might not be worth restoring or donating. This, however, does not mean that there is nothing worth salvaging from any one of these items. The included hardware is often durable enough to be used again and again. Handles, L-shape brackets, nuts, bolts, screws, nails and other forms of hardware can be pulled out, cleaned and put away for future use in remodeling or construction projects. Keeping stores of these is also a great way to avoid frequent trips to the hardware store each time a screw is lost or something gets broken.
Salvage Raw Materials
Not only are screws and nails worth keeping, but real wood, copper and other metals are definitely worth pulling out of the trash. These things can always be put to good use. Even if you do not have use for them in your own home, you can often find a number of people who are willing to haul them away for free. Rather than dumping usable goods into the garbage, take the time to post ads online to see if local artists or other individuals can put them to use in projects of their own.
Nourish Your Garden
You might not be a composting expert but there are still lots of ways that you can turn your organic waste into phenomenal garden nutrients. Some things do not need to go through the natural breakdown process before they become viable forms of fertilizer. Banana peels, tea bags, coffee grinds and egg shells can all be added to potted and outdoor plants right away. These help to replenish the local soils ensuring that your garden continually has access to the nutrients that are required for thriving. Even small contributions such as these to your garden can result in a dramatic reduction of household waste. If you happen to have more banana peels and coffee grinds than your own family can use, you can try offering them to environmentally-conscious neighbors and friends. Some community colleges even host gardens that are filled with native plants which are maintained by the attending biology students. Many of these institutions would be happy to have these free forms of fertilizer from your trash.
A lot of people are surprised to discover that potatoes can be planted by simply dropping cut potato pieces into a sufficient amount of soil. If you routinely find that your spuds go sour before you get around to using them, you can drop these, eyes and all, right into the earth to produce more tubers. This means less waste and more free potatoes than you and your brood will likely be able to consume.
Little efforts such as these hold a variety of benefits for the people who make them. You can significantly reduce both your household waste and your regular garbage bill by simply keeping usable goods out of the trash bin. Your diligence in this area will condition the little ones in your home to be more conscious about what they toss out. Ultimately, you can set a generational standard for a greater respect of natural resources and the natural environment.