By now you’re familiar with Re-cycling, but have you heard of Pre-cycling? What about Up-cycling? What follows are descriptions of these “cycling” processes. Applying them to your routines will reduce the amount of packaging and other items that end up in landfills.
Pre-cycling is basically preventing recycling. It’s the practice of avoiding and reducing consumer waste by buying unpackaged, reusable or recyclable products.
- Unpackaged items: buy in bulk quantities (proven winners only).
- Reusable items: grocery bags, water bottles, batteries, cloth napkins, “real” plates, cups, cutlery, etc.
- Recyclable packaging: buy items with as little packaging as possible in #1 and #2 plastics, cardboard, aluminum, steel and glass.
It’s great to recycle through your municipality but you (hopefully!) may want to go farther.
- Plastic bags: bring to bins at the entrance to grocery stores (not your recycling bin).
- Fabric: bring to Goodwill (keep separate from non-damaged clothing and label the bag).
- Electronics and accessories: bring any and all to Goodwill.
- Plastic packing peanuts: bring to UPS and other shipping stores.
- CFL (corkscrew) lightbulbs: bring to Home Depot and Lowe’s (bulbs contain mercury).
- #5 Plastics: bring to Whole Foods Markets (not recycled by most municipalities).
Up-cycling is the creative reuse of materials to produce a higher quality item.
- Memory quilts made from t-shirts, ties, etc.
- Purses made from soda tabs.
- Mittens made from sweaters.
- Clocks made from vinyl record albums.
- Rag rugs made from … you guessed it … rags.
- Sock monkeys … I’ll say no more.
Check out Pinterest for tons of other up-cycling ideas. Please post some of your up-cycled projects as we’d love to see them.
I hope I’ve expanded your awareness of options available to prevent unnecessary trash and recycling. Why not be creative and up-cycle some holiday gifts?
Work toward keeping your ecological footprint as small as possible!