The ClutterTroops Recycling Agreement
As the United States has pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, people everywhere have been expressing their opinions on how we, as humans and as Americans, impact our environment. While opinions vary on the subject, I think anyone of sound mind can accept that it is a complicated issue that will not be solved in a particularly heated debate on your estranged uncle’s Facebook page. Instead, let’s funnel that passion into something productive for the environment, your wallet, and your own mental health.
Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle
I doubt that anyone thinks of recycling as something that would have a negative effect on the world. We all see it as a good thing, but unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t doing it. According to a recent Yale University/EPA study, the U.S. recycles less than 22% of its discarded materials and those numbers haven’t moved much over the last 20 years.
As we are mining, quarrying and logging for these raw materials we are also destroying entire ecosystems- ecosystems that even we are a part of. Refining and processing these materials takes an exorbitant amount of energy and creates substantial water and air pollution. Alternatively, recycling reduces the need for us to go after these finite natural resources and allows us to significantly cut back on our ecological footprint. So my challenge to our readers is to do 3 things starting this month- reduce, reuse, recycle. And I have some tips on how you can do that!
How To Make an Impact
In order to reduce the amount of materials being used in your household, you’ll have to think of how can you minimize what is normally being thrown in your trash. Paper plates are a great example. If you already have dinnerware, you’ll be saving money! And if you don’t, head on over to your local thrift store or yard sale and within a couple of weeks… you’ll still be saving money! That takes us right into reusing!
I want you to have fun with this task because there is no end to the possibilities that come with reusing items. To accomplish this, you might just think about how you can reuse something before throwing it away. Or next time you are shopping at Target, consider that you might be able to find something you’re looking for second hand, such as your dinnerware or furniture. Reusing items can inspire you to become an artist, a treasure hunter, or inventor. The rush you get while shopping is often amplified when the find is rarer, a great price, or you get to be more involved in the process of making it beautiful.
I’ll be honest, recycling and donating isn’t always easy. Some cities still do not have curbside pickup or proper access to bins. Furthermore, there are around 9,800 different municipal recycling plans in operation around the country and there is no consistency in their rules and guidelines. To find out more about what you can recycle, check out this website or you can contact your local sanitation department. It’s also difficult to know which donation centers have the most integrity. While it’s easy to get frustrated with this process, I simply encourage you to remember the benefits and push forward to learn how you can participate in your own city.
In regards to WHAT you can recycle/donate… well, you know how we feel about clutter! Start big by going through your home. Do you have a cupboard full of mason jars because you’ve been planning to can tomatoes for years and it still hasn’t happened? Recycle them. Clothes in storage all over the house in sizes that haven’t fit since you were in high school? Donate them to a non-profit charity. It’s a big project, but clearing your home of unnecessary items will be a huge load off of your mind and you will feel so good knowing that you’re helping your planet and your community.
To learn more about how recycling can benefit the planet, click here.
To keep up with our local estate/consignment shop in Winchester, VA for sale dates, DIY & Re-purpose projects, Follow The Heron Exchange.
For more inspiration and tips to reducing trash, check out this great video!
Our favorite places to donate in Winchester, VA: