Re-purposing household items that would otherwise become recyclables or trash is a cost-effective way to reduce waste and avoid draining your bank account at the same time. But frugal living isn’t the only benefit of re-purposing. From minimizing landfill content to saving energy, re-purposing is a simple way to impact your life and the environment—and it’s easier to get started than you think.
Save Energy and Money
While it’s easy to imagine saving a few bucks by reusing instead of buying new, re-purposing doesn’t save money on solely an individual level. A look at energy expert Daniel Yergin’s research shows that energy has not only an environmental impact on the world, but a massive financial and political one as well. Though recycling is a more eco-friendly way to dispose of waste than throwing it away, sorting through recyclables and turning them into new materials still costs money and energy. The Clean Air Council reports that it costs $4,000 to recycle one ton of plastic bags. Re-purposing, however, takes minimal energy, since the item’s function is changing instead of the item itself.
Reduce Landfill Content
On average, the United States produces roughly seven pounds of trash per person each day, according to the Center for American Progress. Worse, trash is collecting in places other than landfills, like in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Any of that trash made of plastic won’t biodegrade, which means it will remain in a landfill or in the ocean for a long time. Re-purposing ensures that items, especially non-biodegradable ones like plastic, don’t end up in landfills, or worse, floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Protect the Environment
Not only is all that waste harmful to ecosystems and animals, the way it breaks down in landfills produces methane gas. The Environmental Protection Agency cites landfills as the United States’ third largest source of methane gas. They also report that methane has twenty times the impact of carbon dioxide on the atmosphere.
Start Fun Do-It-Yourself Projects
There are lots of ways to re-purpose things, and creative people are coming up with new ones every day. Some of the easiest include purchasing used items instead of new, and donating things like clothes and furniture instead of throwing them away. You can also start some great do-it-yourself projects, and create fun, unique items for your home. You can do anything from making vases, torches, and even shot glasses out of old bottles to using burnt out lightbulbs as candles. The great thing about re-purposing projects is you can make them as simple and straightforward or as complex and creative as you want.
There are a multitude of reasons re-purposing is a great idea; saving money, protecting the environment, and creating fun do-it-yourself projects are only a few. Whether your interest lies in simply using an old egg-carton as storage for jewelry or in making a medicine cabinet out of a suitcase, you can start re-purposing things around your house today.