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By Larraine Roulston:

January …. the month of REsolutions! Many look at reducing their waistline, but what about reducing our long line of waste?reduce_reuse_recycle Several months ago, I featured Reduce – the first of the 3Rs hierarchy of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The 2nd, Reuse, makes for a good beginning to 2015. Although many things can be repaired, revamped or repurposed, the following are suggestions for simply reusing.

•     Gift Paper: When families open gifts with care to reduce rips, it helps make reusing wrapping paper possible. Just as you tuck away all your tree decorations, you can enjoy flattening all Christmas wrapping paper, tissue paper and gift bags for reuse. As well, you can fill a box with the bows, ribbons and even name tags from the presents.

•     Use Cloth Diapers: Thirty-six cotton diapers are sufficient to diaper a child from birth to 2 years. Compare that to discarding over 7,000 disposable diapers. To reuse even fewer diapers, check out “diaper-free,” which is known also as “Elimination Communication.”

•     Lug-a-Mug: Take your own travel mug to work, events, or when traveling. Some coffee shops offer a discount for bringing your own container.

•     Return Literature: If you are sending a check to a soliciting charity, include, for their reuse, the pamphlet and any enclosed literature that does not include your name.

•     Lumber: Before purchasing wood at a lumberyard, either for your hobby or construction, inquire whether they have reclaimed lumber in stock for your project.

•     Reusable Bags: For all your shopping needs, keep a handy supply of reusable tote bags as well as small bags for loose fruits and veggies.

•     Craigslist, eBay & Kijiji: This method of online shopping is a great way to purchase, secondhand, what you need.

•     Thrift Stores: Support secondhand stores with your donations as well as purchases. This Christmas I found a $27.00 board game in perfect condition for only $3.00. You’ll be greatly surprised at how many of the items look brand new.

•      Sports Equipment: Many municipalities host seasonal “Re-play” exchange days at their community center.

•     Rechargeable Batteries: With a battery recharger, you’ll be able to reuse rechargeable batteries repeatedly.

•     Glass Jars: Fill empty glass jars with different foods from bulk containers. As glass is heavier than light-weight plastic bags, you should request that jars be weighed before making your selections.

Reuse logo•     Books & Magazines: Support your local library for reading and viewing material. Your personal magazines can be taken to hospitals, doctor and dentist offices, or passed on to friends.

•     Cookie Tin: When visiting a bakery or a take-out doughnut shop, opt to fill cookie tin with your selections. This container can serve also as a “doggie bag” to take home unfinished dining portions.

•     Plates & Utensils: If you frequent food courts, why not take your own reusable lightweight plate, knife, fork and travel mug?

•     Eyeglasses & Hearing Aids: Donate prescription and non-prescription glasses, as well as parts, to developing countries by taking them to churches, funeral parlors, optical stores or optometrists who collect them. For the same purpose, some organizations collect hearing aids.

Once you get into the Reuse habit, the rest is easy.

Larraine authors the Pee Wee at Castle Compost series www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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