Reuse items instead of throwing them away

Dede Allender

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of informational articles on recycling in Hancock County. Last week, we presented a practical guide and resources for collection or curbside recycling. Today, Dede Allender, District Manager for Hancock County Solid Waste Management, talks about items that can be reused.

“Is recycling really important? “

“Am I making a difference? I am just one person.

Yes, and yes, to both questions! If you send all of your recycling to landfill, it will stay there forever. No one goes through the landfill and takes out recycling. It takes valuable farmland just to store people’s garbage. Once the landfill is full, additional land must be acquired. I have seen with my own eyes how quickly a landfill can fill up and how the landfills must continually expand in order to have room for all the waste.

On the other hand, if you recycle, those items are turned into new items that can be reused over and over again. You save valuable resources by recycling. If a recycler doesn’t have recyclable items to use, they have to use natural resources that need to be extracted from the ground or harvest from trees to create the items we need. It is much more expensive than using recyclable items.

Plus, it’s worth noting that recycling an aluminum can could save enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb on for almost four hours. Recycling a stack of newspapers just three feet high saves a tree. Recycling five plastic bottles provides enough fiber to fill a ski jacket.

So, yes, you are making a difference every time you recycle!

Want to recycle, but can’t because of the cost or inaccessibility of recycling bins? Don’t worry, you can still do your part. If you strive to reuse as much as you can, you are always helping. Try reusable rather than disposable water bottles. Bring a reusable shopping bag instead of buying a plastic one at the store. Switch to reusable containers to store food instead of bags. Try reusing plastic containers: Ice cream buckets are great for picking up vegetables from the garden or storing toys. Plastic food containers are great for storing leftovers or nails in the garage. Also, you can try to buy items that have less packaging waste. Be aware of what you are able to reuse and you will make a difference!

Another form of reuse is donating items that you no longer want. I continually see sofas and other furniture sitting along the road waiting to be picked up by the garbage hauler. The Greenfield ReStore accepts many items for reuse – furniture, light fixtures, hardware and other household items. The next time you have one of these articles, see if they would be interested. This will save you money by not having to pay the landfill fee and maybe someone else can use the item and save space in the landfill.

There are also other nonprofits that could use your items as well – Goodwill, Hancock Hope House, and Love, Inc. also accept donations of larger items, as well as clothing, housewares, and more. garbage is another man’s treasure.

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