But back to JUNK...we've all heard the saying, "One woman/man's junk is another woman/man's treasure"...so in order to keep "junk" out of the landfills, there are several options which basically feed into the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle message.
1. If we REDUCE what we consume, or rethink what we think we need, we'd all have less junk in our homes and lives to begin with! Of course this is very difficult for those of us that enjoy "retail therapy", but I'm trying to retrain my brain to think...."do I need it, or want it", and if I do want it, how badly do I want it...badly enough to get rid of something else to free up space? I'm trying to ingrain the thought, "Simplify" into my brain..."Simplify to Create Serenity" (ie. less junk!). If I do make new purchases, I want to donate something else to free up space....which leads to number 2...
2. Commit to finding re-uses for things. Most of us already "reuse" clothes by handing them down to friends or family, and some people have yard sales, which helps keep many things out of the landfill (to me, yard sales are too much time and energy for me to bother with for the minimal yield.) My preferred mode of re-using things is to donate them, or as Flylady says, "blessing others". We donate books, clothes, tools, household items, furniture, etc via www. freecycle.org, local charities, and through our church. I have to admit, that I'm often astounded at the items that people toss out to the curb when there are others who need and could use them. I'm not sure if it comes down to disposal laziness, or not knowing where, or how to donate items, but it really couldn't be easier! There are donation bins in tons of locations, and organizations such as Big Brother Big Sister that pick-up from your house, and when you Freecycling items, people pick up items from your doorstep. There are many options to keep massive amounts of things out of landfills, and it feels great to help out others :) http://peaceloveplanet.blogspot.com/2010/04/recycle-reuse-reshare-with-big-bro-big.html http://peaceloveplanet.blogspot.com/2010/03/spring-cleaning-day-23-24.html
There are also young entrepreneurs, like those at TerraCycle who are thinking outside the box to reuse juice box pouches, corks, chip bags, cookie packaging, candy wrappers and much, much more. I'm surprised that more companies have not followed in the green footsteps of TerraCycle to use waste to create products. It's ingenious really, keeping waste out of the landfills; the waste becomes the raw material, and in the end, a product is made and sold. TerraCycle also believes in number 3...
3. Recycling - Hopefully by now everyone knows they should recycle their paper, glass, plastics, aluminum, etc. And then there are those "15 Totally Recyclable Materials That Most of Us Keep Forgetting About"?
But what peaks my interest is learning about companies that have come up with creative ways to recycle materials, and there are examples near and far. On a recent vacation to St. John, we learned about The Art Center (of Recycling) at Maho Bay Camps. What a treat! Check out the beautiful, creative ways they recycle glass into beautiful, useful objects at http://www.maho.org/. They also recycle old bed sheets by batiking them, and making them into table cloths, coasters, bags, table runners, etc. But to date, one of the most interesting innovative eco-entrepreneurial companies that has captured my attention is Terracycle, based out of NJ because they keep multiple waste streams out of the landfills, work cooperatively with schools, and design great products http://peaceloveplanet.blogspot.com/2010/08/terracycle-on-tv.html .
Junk aka clutter can either weigh us down, or we can set it free by reducing, reusing, or recycling. I'm working on simplifying.....and looking forward to serenity and at the same time watching for creative companies that keep junk out of the landfills and instead up-cycle it to the next level via innovation.