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Reduce, reuse and recycle

Let’s face it, we all produce garbage, and we are all part of the problem. The good news is that we can also be part of the solution. Studies show that 65 per cent of “garbage” can be recycled or composted instead of tossed. Instead of throwing away items we no longer need, why not make sure they find their way to the next stage in their life cycle? Be a part of the solution!

Did you know? Seventeen million Canadians (nearly two-thirds) have access to recycling.

1. Want to freeze hamburgers? Save the plastic from individually wrapped cheese slices and use them between the patties.

2. If you buy convenience meals for the microwave or oven, many of them include microwave-safe containers that are reusable. Save them and when you make a large meal, make some frozen TV dinners with the left overs.

3. Don’t throw away that old shower curtain! During the winter, cover your car’s windshield with a section of the curtain (cut to fit) and secure with magnets. This isn’t practical when there are howling winds but works well on milder winter evenings.

4. Use an old shower curtain as a picnic tablecloth or as a drop sheet when painting or sanding.

5. An old shower curtain gives added insulation to draughty windows – especially in the basement – if you hang it up behind the curtains.

6. If you’re refinishing furniture or involved in some other messy project, protect your clothes with an apron made from an old shower curtain.

7. Sprinkle a few drops of cologne onto some used gift wrap and use it to line your dresser drawers and storage boxes.

8. Buy a reusable coffee filter instead of using disposable paper ones.

9. Glue or staple leftover wallpaper onto cardboard boxes to make attractive storage containers for closets and shelves.

10. Cereal boxes make handy clipboards. Cut the fronts and backs off the box and write your grocery list on them. Your list will be sturdy enough to sit in your grocery cart and you can clip your coupons onto the cardboard.

11. Using an old quilted housecoat for the inside of a baby quilt is a great way to recycle the housecoat and makes an inexpensive and light filling for the quilt.

12. Second-hand clothing is an excellent source of material and trim for making doll’s clothes.

13. Try to reuse every scrap of paper, even if it is written on before recycling it. You can even go one step further and buy writing pads that are made with recycled paper which costs a fraction of the price.

14. Buy fresh produce instead of canned. Buying loose or “bulk” is another way to reduce trash. Bulk refers to items that are loosely stored in large bins; purchase only the amount you need and scoop the product into a small plastic bag.

Tip: Take a shopping bag to the supermarket or buy a “bag for life.”

15. Reuse as many products as possible in your own household. Plastic milk jugs make great pitchers for iced tea and water. Reusing also occurs when recyclables are turned into different products, such as asphalt for paving roads or new notebooks.

Reena Nerbas is the author of the national bestsellers, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions, Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and the soon-to-be-released book Household Solutions 3 the Green Edition available online and in stores across Canada. She graduated as a home economist from the University of Manitoba and speaks professionally throughout Canada on the subject of fixing life’s messes by using products behind everyone’s cupboard doors. As well as being a columnist, Reena can be heard on radio and TV programs across Canada and the U. S.

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