How to de-clutter your home without sending it all to the landfill.

So about 2 months back I was reading our local newspaper when I read a blip in the Rants and Raves section about a family of 5 that felt our city wasn’t allowing them enough garbage disposal. I was so enraged when I read this (environment ignorant people usually do!), because I am a person who really does try to do my best to think about the world I share with others and the world I want to create for my kids. Here in Spruce Grove Alberta we are given two huge bins, a black one for household waste aka garbage and one for organics. Both can hold a surprising amount of stuff in there. For example our organics bin has not been emptied since early November and we are still fitting our weekly organics in it. We should make it to pick up start up in March or April too. And we do this every year. Granted come the weeks close to pick up the warm air will have the bins contents soften and melt a bit creating a lovely soggy lettuce smell next to my house and my neighbors but once it gets picked up the first time it will be gone. Back to my point though. I was so mad because we a family of 6, with our twins still in diapers and two cats with litter don’t even manage to fill our household bin 3/4 of the way full weekly. Honestly we could skip a week and be fine. Our city has worked hard to put in place easy programs like this, where you fill it up and they take it away. Easy Peasy right? Well sadly many people don’t actively use these services all year long or even practice our blue bag recycling program as well. 

I guess my problem is I’m the kind of person who gets something in my mind as the “right” way to do something or a “good” way and well I continually practice it. Much so it drives a few friends and family members a little batty I’m sure. I just I’m trying to overachieve for those who don’t. I also look at it as our lazyiness to not bag up our recyclables or compost is the reason our world is falling apart. If more people even did half of what I do and use the programs cities put in place we could possibly even make head way on saving the planet. 

I understand and respect that not everyone is obsessed like me. I can only hope that my actions encourage others to think and act for a healthier planet as well. I will continue to ask when in others homes where the compost is, and put it in the garbage if that is the answer (I think Dave may leave me if I carry a bucket with me) and respect their household just as I hope those visiting mine will respect mine and use the garbage for trash, the blue bag for recyclables, the compost for organics and our black bags for refundable bottles. 

Since the start of the new year I have learned a few new ways to recycle items that may have ended up in the landfills. I want to share them with you and hope that they become routine in a few more homes. 

1. Terracycle  – This is a website you can sign up to and join brigades. The basics of it is you collect up the items for the brigade you join (candy bar wrappers, diaper refill bags, shampoo bottles & empty cosmetic containers, and more) when you have a box full you print a UPS label, call them for pick up and they take your stuff away for you!!! They items then get turned into new things you can use your points you earn to purchase for yourself or communities in need. I now have a box I collect everything from cereal bags to shaving cream cans in waiting to have enough to mail in. 

2. Eco Canada Textile Recycling  – Is a company that collects old used clothes and re purposes them into cloths and reprocessed fibers. If you don’t turn old clothes that cannot be used into cloths for cleaning this is a perfect solution. Now currently this is only available in the Durham Region in Ontario. 

3. Thrift Stores – This is something I have always done is donate my old still good clothing to a thrift store, for others. It is also a place I shop for my kids and myself too. But ask around your local stores because some places do things similar to the place about and turn old clothes into cloths and rags for manufacturing companies. Our local St. Andrews Thrift store takes old ripped jeans and sends them north to the Tar sands and Oil Fields. The better quality denim they put in bags for crafty people to do what they will with them. 

4. Freecycle – Is a place you put up items for free. Who knows maybe someone is looking for baby food jars for a school project or yogurt containers. What you might have thrown out someone maybe need for something in their home. 

As always we should be looking into ways to reduce our consumption. Always look into ways to reuse items you have in your home. Maybe things you are throwing away could be used as a craft for the next birthday party you throw. Money is starting to mean less to us every day as we buy things that never get used, are wasted or simply thrown away. Yet we still strive to make more and become “rich” and continue to waste more and value less. 

Take pride in the things you work hard to earn and think long and hard about your purchases so we get the most use out of the things we do buy. 

Heather

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About heathereyestone

I'm a stay at home mom of 4 kids, the youngest being twins. I try to live my life as green as I can, and love the outdoors.
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