When recycling is simply not enough…

While recycling is an excellent way to help the planet, reusing product waste in creative ways is more sustainable and uses less energy. This can be as simple as using food scraps for compost, and as complex as using an old sweater as packing material. If we just think outside the box a little bit, we can find ways to use things that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Some companies are taking the lead in making their products more sustainable, or even making product packaging easy to reuse. For example, Frito-Lay began using compostable bags for their SunChips product and the company now uses solar power to create their bags. This type of sustainability does not involve you, the consumer, except in one way. Your part would be to support companies like this by buying their products. Some companies have taken the further step of not just making their packaging recyclable/compostable, but making it reusable in useful ways. Joolz, a Dutch baby stroller company, makes their cardboard boxes reusable. The products are easy to create, attractive, and useful.

This company makes it easy for you, because you are using something as it was intended. It’s a little more difficult to think more creatively about your own waste. The next time you go to put something in the recycling bin, consider if it could be used again, repurposed. A plastic water bottle cut in half makes a great starter pot for seedlings. Old newspaper? Keep it in your camping box as fire starter! Those used Ziploc bags? Wash them out, dry, and reuse! Wrap a present in an old cracker box. Get to it! Start small by considering one reuse per week. It will become easier with practice.

Here are some ideas others have tried: http://pinterest.com/dothegreenthing/cardboard-creativity/