In inspiring others to begin their own recycling practices, consider offering them options to go beyond participating in their city's curbside recycling program or dropping common materials off at a facility. There are many methods we can use to make more sustainable decisions about what to do with unwanted items from our homes, offices and other places we frequent. Following are some examples of alternate methods to reduce waste.
Creating a Composting SystemEdit
Composting is a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It's also free, easy to make and good for the environment.
For small-scale outdoor composting, enclosed bins are the most practical. The least expensive method is to build one yourself from a heavy-duty garbage can. Another option is a compost bin, sometimes called a 'compost digester.' Compost bins are enclosed on the sides and top, and open on the bottom so they sit directly on the ground.
The benefits of composting include:
- Creates soil conditioner: With compost, you are creating rich humus for lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.
- Recycles kitchen and yard waste: Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can.
- Introduces beneficial organisms to the soil: Microscopic organisms in compost help aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use and ward off plant disease.
- Good for the environment: Composting offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.
- Reduces landfill waste: Most landfills in North America are quickly filling up; many have already closed down. One-third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials.
Information in this section is part of a longer article on the Earth Easy website - more information about what and how to compost as well as tips for successfully composting are available. Continue reading about composting on their site.
Donating Used GoodsEdit
There are several organizations and businesses across the Kanawha Valley that accept donated goods. Following is a list of businesses located in the Charleston area. For Ambassadors who live outside the Charleston area, we included links to some business websites that have a "Store Finder" function to search for a storefront by zip code. Some businesses on this list accept specialized items, we've indicated which ones by adding a note.
|Multiple locations in the Kanawha Valley. Click the "Store Finder" link to search for a location near you on the Goodwill website.|
|Habitat for Humanity ReStore||301 Piedmont Rd.|
The ReStore accepts building materials, home improvement items and furniture. See a complete list of materials they accept on the ReStore website.
|Mountain Mission||1620 7th Avenue|
3631 7th Avenue
N Charleston, WV
|207 Wyoming St|
301 Tennessee Ave
|Union Mission||700 South Park Rd.|
|YWCA Past & Present||1598 Lee St E|
|Good News Mountaineer Garage||221 Hale Street|
Charleston, WV 25301
Good News accepts and resells donated cars. See how to donate your car on the Good News website.
Repairing, Repurposing & UpcyclingEdit
If you have something in your home that is in disrepair, and you’re considering throwing it away and buying a new one, search on the Internet or ask your friends and family to see if you would be able to repair it on your own first. This has the added benefit of saving you the cost to replace the item.
Repurposing is taking something you own and don’t use frequently and, instead of throwing it away, finding a new use for it that is more fitting for your lifestyle. Upcycling is taking that same object and creating a new use for it that increases the intrinsic value of the object. With the increased focus on DIY and craft projects over recent years, upcycling has become very popular. Websites like Etsy and Pinterest are full of ideas for ways to repurpose and upcycle common and uncommon household items. Upcycling has been a common practice in West Virginia families for generations, even though it may not have been called that.
Start here to find ideas for repurposing and upcycling projects:
- Pinterest Inspiration Board with Upcyling and Repurposing Projects (pt. 1)
- Pinterest Inspiration Board with Upcyling and Repurposing Projects (pt. 2)
- Twisted Sifter's Creative Ways to Repurpose, Reuse and Upcycle Old Things
- Upcycle That website
Adjusting Buying and Spending HabitsEdit
By adjusting how you’re using your dollars and the methods you choose to spend by, you may help keep items out of the landfill. Try the following:
- Switch to paperless billing to reduce the volume of paper waste you create.
- Buy items in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging you use.
- Buy items made of recycled materials.
- Buy items that use less packaging.