Heading Toward Zero Waste..

A lot of reducing trash is knowing what to do with what you have. Yes, you could just google “DIY + (item on hand)” and learn ways to upcycle it. But upcycling trash takes time, especially in the beginning. I’m learning this now. If crafting isn’t already your hobby, you’ll need time and money to get supplies and find how-to’s at your skill level. Meanwhile, things pile up:

I allow myself one container for projects. As you can see, I’m stretching the boundaries already.

So what do you do with all of it? First, figure out what your most common items are. In our house, it’s cans of food for my service dog. 6 flats of 12 cans each month. There’s also glass bottles from my favorite tea and the medicated soda I use for pain. And between 3–12 plastic bottles a month for prescription and OTC medicines.

Next, see if these things go in your city’s recycling program. In Seattle, tin cans do, but glass and medication bottles don’t. The city does have this “Where Does It Go?” page. Here you can look up an item to be sure where it goes.

Well look at that! I was wrong, glass bottles DO go in recycling! See, it never hurts to check.

Glass bottles and jars do go in Seattle recycling. You have to rinse them first.

If they don’t recycle, is there something you can do besides throwing them out? Let’s use coupons as an example. Even if you don’t want them, the inserts come in the mail each week. What are some ways they can be passed on? One commenter has this advice:

“Dear Jill,

I just read your article about coupon fairies, and I wanted to share an idea with these generous souls that will allow them to still help others with the coupons they have left over. Many churches have a food pantry or food drives during different times of the year. Donate your coupons to a local church and allow them to use them to stock their pantries to serve the less fortunate in our communities. Keep that giving spirit alive! — Amy”

Someone in another article said this:

Coupons on Craigslist? I’m learning all the time.

One of the most common ways is sending them to military families. By law, military families are allowed to use manufacturers coupons up to 6 months after they expire. Here’s an article from the Krazy Koupon Lady explaining how it works and where to send them:

Another part of lowering your trash levels is called “Refusing”. That means you keep things from coming to you in the first place. There are a lot of ways to do that. I’ll look at some in my next article. In the meantime, talk about your trash in the comment section!