Reduce & Recycle

  • 1 % Water, find out how you can help to conserve this precious resource.
  • Chemical Free Multi-UCES, make your own Multi-Use Concentrated Eco-friendly Solution out of organic waste.
  • Clever Recycling, get smart, artistic, and creative and make useful things out of your discardable items!
  • Furniture Restoration, restoring your furniture can be a very rewarding activity. Learn the basics to save and restore old furniture!
  • Go Paperless, switch all your monthly statements (credit cards, banks, and utilities) from paper to electronic and reduce the amount of junk mail you get at home.

R x 4

Reducing, reusing, recycling and restoring helps to conserve natural resources, decrease pollution, save energy, and slow landfill growth.

Besides benefiting the environment in many ways, applying these R’s to your routine can save you–and make you–some money. For instance, restoring your furniture, making your own cleaning product, buying and selling used stuff online, making cool items from recycled materials, vacationing in a camper van, and more.

  • To reduce is to diminish in size, amount, extent, or number; to decrease the volume; to narrow down.
  • To reuse is to use again, sometimes in a different way by conversion, recondition or reprocessing.
  • To recycle is the process of converting old and used materials into new products; return material to a previous stage in a cycling process.
  • To restore is to bring back to a useful state or condition; to renovate, renew or rehabilitate.

You could reduce the amount of waste generated in your household by 50% if you start recycling your plastic, metal, glass and paper. You can also go farther and recycle your organic waste by composting and making your own cleaning products, fertilizer and air freshener (see Multi-UCES). Even better, you can learn how to live with less and simply generate less waste. The goal is to start green from the get-go and learn to not buy what we don’t really need, buy less if less would do, and buy green whenever possible.

“Some of the biggest problems facing this planet steam from consumer choices. The electricity we buy, the car we drive and the food we eat make a difference because these choices, and so many like them, are not isolated. Assuring that what we buy, use and throw away won’t cause needless or inordinate harm to the world around us requires learning more about the products we intend to buy—how their creation  and use affect air and water quality, for example—and replacing un-eco buying habits with ones that are more ecologically sound.” (Crissy Trask, It’s Easy Being Green,Chapter 4: Buying Green)


  • One recycled soda can could save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours; not even consuming soda cans is even better! Recycle always, reduce–or do not use–whenever possible.
  • One reused plastic bottle uses 2,000 times less energy than manufacturing a new one; buying your own reusable bottle for everyday use can significantly reduce our carbon footprint!
  • Reducing your paper consumption by going paperless saves energy, trees, fuel and landfill usage; go electronic with your banks, bills, and even purchase receipts! Choosing credit/debit cards over cash can also reduce waste!
  • To make/buy new furniture takes 1000 times more carbon dioxide than to restore your used one. You can also find good quality old used inexpensive furniture on craigslist or at a drift shop and upcycle it!

How recyclable are things?

Plastics, for example, usually have a recycle symbol with a resin identification code that indicates the type of plastic that a product is made of. There are some plastics that are more recyclable than others, for example:

  • Type 1 (polyester) is always in high demand since it can be recycled into spinning fiber for carpet yarns, producing fiberfill and geotextiles.
  • Type 6 (polystyrene), used to make Styrofoam for to-go cups and take away food containers, it is a very lightweight plastic that takes a lot of room in the landfill and it is largely unrecyclable.


1. PET/PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)

  • Polyester; used in beverage bottles and other food and non-food containers. Highly recyclable. Reused for carpet fiber, textiles, fleece jackets, new containers, film and sheet.


2. HDPE (high-density polyethylene)

  • Used in many types of bottles and household cleaning products containers, for example, milk jugs, detergent, bleach, shampoo, etcetera. Highly recyclable; reused on non-food containers, decking, fencing, flowerpots, and recycling bins.

3. PVC/VINYL (polyvinyl chloride)

  • Used in packaging (bags for bedding and medical, meat and deli packs, shrink wrap); rigid applications (pipes, siding, window frames, fencing, flooring); flexible applications (medical tubing, cable insulation). The recycling level is low; reused for pipes, gutters, carpet backing, resilient flooring, and packaging.

4. LDPE (low-density polyethylene)

  • Used in flexible containers, bottle lids and bags for: dry-cleaning, newspaper, fresh produce, frozen foods, trash and bread. Other uses include: squeezable bottles, adhesives, sealants, and toys; shrink wrap, and beverage container coatings. The recycling level is fairly low; reused for shipping envelopes, trash bags, floor tile, and compost bins.

5. PP (polypropylene)

  • Used for hot liquid containers and take-out food; molded automotive parts, medicine bottles, and bottle caps. Difficult to recycle; reused for battery cases, brooms and brushes; garden rakes, storage bins, and shipping pallets.

6. PS (polystyrene)

  • Used in protective packaging, bottles, food containers, cups, plates, bowls, and cutlery; CD cases, videocassettes cartridges, coat hangers, and building insulation. The recycling level is low; reused for light-switches, license plates, thermometers, vents, rulers, expandable polystyrene foam, and protective packaging.

7. OTHER (all the other types or a mix of plastics)

  • Made with a resin other than the 6 listed above. Used in 3 and 5-gallon reusable water bottles, some citrus juice oven-backing bags, and various packaging. The recycling level is very low. Reused in plastic lumber applications or bottles.

(Source: American Chemistry Council)

Now that you have expanded your knowledge, try to take it into consideration when purchasing items at the store. After all, the relationship between supply and demand is what rules the market, and you have the power!

But don’t forget that avoiding plastic as much as you can is better than recycling it or finding a new use for it. To learn how to live without plastic visit