Every year, more and more trash is accumulated in our landfills due to our wasteful habits. Many people will only use something once and throw it away. Many people still do not recycle their packaging despite the increasing availability of recycling centers. And many people would rather throw away their old things rather than take them to a thrift store or consignment shop.
However, being a believer in the frugal lifestyle and a student of the zero waste lifestyle, I cannot do that. We actually have very little trash for a house this size most of the time. We recycle as much as possible. I sell the things we do not use anymore or I donate them to the thrift shop. We try to use things until they are no longer functional. We fix broken things to be used again.
Below is a list of things we do not throw away. I know I am forgetting things, but this is a good start!
1. Anything that is recyclable. I was raised to recycle and still do this as much as possible.
2. Twist ties from bread and buns.
3. Nuts, bolts, nails, washers, and screws. Unless they are rusty or bent. Or cheap and will strip out on the first twist of the drill.
4. Resealable plastic bags. We wash them out and reuse them until they have holes or held raw meat.
5. Brown paper bags.
6. Gift bags and tissue gift wrap.
7. Plastic store bags.
8. Buckets of just about any size.
9. Food! We have made a concentrated effort to be much more diligent about this. Having a dog and chickens helps to make sure food does not go to waste.
10. Rubber bands from anything.
11. Buttons. I even cut them off shorts and shirts before we use them for rags or throw them away if they are usable as rags.
12. Hand soap containers. We refill these until the pump does not work anymore.
13. Whipped topping and big yogurt containers. How else are you suppose to send leftovers home with people?
14. Canning jars. If they can't be used for canning, we use them to store dry goods.
15. Paper. I try to use both sides of the paper before I put it in the burn bin or recycle it.
16. Boxes. I need them for storage and for my giveaway box. If we can't use them anymore, we recycle them.
17. Towels. If they can't be used for bathing or nice kitchen towels anymore, we use them for rags.
18. Clothes. They are either sold, given to someone in need, or donated unless they are too worn out.
19. Blankets and sheets. We either donate them if they have been outgrown (by teenagers too cool for Disney sheets), use them as drop cloths, to protect plants, or we store them for company. They are never thrown away!
20. Totes of all sizes. I am just amazed at how many people just throw these out on the premise that they don't need them anymore. I can't think of a time I haven't needed them! I keep these and reuse the totes until they are broken past the point that duct tape doesn't hold them together anymore!
This is just a starter list. We have a lot more that we just don't throw away. Although, in the spirit of being honest, sometimes things just end up in the trash. Cleaning out a bedroom just does something to my mind, but I always still have a giveaway box!
What don't you throw away?
Thanks for reading,