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Mimishu1995's avatar

Do you reuse or recycle?

Asked by Mimishu1995 (14757points) August 27th, 2014

If you do, what kind of things do you reuse/recycle? Do you have anything interesting to share about it?

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29 Answers

jca's avatar

I try to do both.

Plastic bags, I reuse. I can always use a bag for lunch or other stuff that has to be transported back and forth to work or leisure activity.

Containers I may reuse or recycle, depending on what it’s made of.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Both. Reuse something as much as possible, and then recycle it.

Example. Third-class, direct-mail letters are often printed on one side of each sheet. I use the blank reverse sides in my printer, for directions, recipes, draft documents, etc. When I’m finally done with the piece of paper, I recycle it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I reuse and recycle as much as possible. Cans, plastics, newspapers, plastic bags, cardboard, junk mail, shredded mail, toner cartridges, and egg cartons. And I compost everything I can.

kritiper's avatar

Both. It depends on just what it is exactly.

marinelife's avatar


I recycle paper, plastic, bottles and cans.

I reuse things until they are falling apart.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

We do. There is a compost bin in the back garden. We have this kitchen compost pail on our counter. Plastic, paper, metal and glass waste that can be recycled goes into the recycle bin. Old computer equipment gets carted to the local recycling center. Books are donated to the local library. Old batteries are turned in at the grocery store who collects them for recycling. Clothes are donated to local charity shops. Old DVDs are sold at the local video shop.

We have cheap, plastic food containers that are used for leftovers every time I cook. The containers are frozen, and the SO takes them to work for his meals, along with a flask of coffee or tea. I reuse zip-lock bags. We drink a lot of wine over the holidays when his parents come to stay. The corks are given to a lady at the local wine shop who uses them for creative art projects. We use canvas bags for shopping. When our grocery order is delivered, the plastic bags are either re-used or recycled. Last year, we took a stab at making gooseberry chutney (the berries from the garden) and we re-used jars with seals for canning it.

zenvelo's avatar

Both. I put out much more recycling each week than I do garbage. I recycle paper, cans, bottles, aluminum, and most plastics.

And I reuse whatever I can.

Most of the take out food containers around here are compostable.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Not as much as I should. :(

What kills me is people who buy bottled water by the case full just to take home. All of those un-biodegradeable plastic bottles winding up in the land fills makes me sad. The worst thing is, there is NO reason for them to do it. Two of my kids do it and I don’t know why. Their tap water is just fine. I mean, OK, buy a case for the convenience of having those little bottles, but reuse them?
We did just fine without bottled water before 1990.

“By one estimate, approximately 50 billion bottles of water are consumed per year in the U.S. and around 200 billion bottles globally.[4]

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Dutchess_III You will be happy to know that not all of those plastic bottles end up in landfills. It’s up to the individuals to get them to recycling centers. Once there, they are processed and reused for all sorts of things.

Case in point: The hotel company I worked for gave a free bottle of water to their preferred customers. When sustainability came into the limelight, there was a fair amount of negative feedback regarding the practice. Research showed that these customers didn’t want this privilege taken away. One of the hotel chains partnered with another company that could use plastic bottles in the manufacturing of shower curtains. This product is now required in all of their hotels, plus it is available for guests to purchase online.

I’m in your camp. When the tap water is just fine, why buy bottled water? There are places, though, where it tastes awful or may be unsafe. Again, it’s all about recycling the bottles.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The people I know personally who do that have perfectly fine tap water, because I drink it. If the water IS funky, you can get filters.

And the problem is, I would just bet that most of those bottles don’t get recycled. Again, the people who I know personally just trash them.

We need to start a protest!

rojo's avatar

@Dutchess_III I heard, but have never taken the time to verify it, that the amount of petroleum product it takes to manufacture said container is approximately ¼ of the volume. Anyone have an idea as to the validity of this statement?

rojo's avatar

We used to have a problem with the paper or plastic thing in the grocery store. If you go paper you are supporting an industry that clearcuts forests and replants them in a single mono-species type setup, but you can reuse the sacks as garbage bags and they at least will degrade in the landfill. Whereas plastic bags don’t degrade, are usually discarded to trash out my western landscape and end up impaled on barbed-wire fences blowing in the wind. And, in addition to being a petroleum product they take a lot of energy resources to manufacture leading to more crap in the atmosphere. We solved it to our own satisfaction by going to reusable shopping bags that are reused until they fall apart.

majorrich's avatar

By the time I’m done re purposing, it’s time to throw it away. I gave up on recycling when I watched a recycling truck dumping at the land-fill. And they charge a huge premium for it.

downtide's avatar

Recycling of household waste is compulsory where I live. we have separate bins; one for compstable & food waste, one for paper and card, one for cans, glass and plastic bottles and one for anything that they currently can’t recycle here. There is a hefty fine for putting something in the wrong bin (and yes, they do check).

I do also recycle other things voluntarily; there are places locally where I can take old clothes, electronic items, used batteries etc.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Once upon a time I cleaned up a camping spot that hadn’t been cleaned in decades. It was like an archeological dig! I was finding stuff from the 70’s. I also found a few plastic sacks buried, or partially buried, and they sure LOOKED like they were decomposing.

downtide's avatar

They erode but they don’t decompose. They’ll get more fragile over time and break up into smaller pieces but the total volume will remain the same, aside from any small amount of water-soluble chemicals they may contain (which will leach into and pollute the nearest water source).

Dutchess_III's avatar

So, what is the smallest particle of a piece of plastic?

downtide's avatar

Presumably, it’s this: (one molecule of polyethylene)

KNOWITALL's avatar

BOth. We pay to recycle with our city, use cloth grocery bags, buy local milk in glass, etc… It’s worth it.

ibstubro's avatar

I save all my plastic sacks, and they are re-used at an antique mall.

We recycle everything metal.

I save almost all the containers from products that still come in glass. Some I simple use to hold old grease (or sardine oil) in the trash. Most I take to the auction and we fill them with buttons and marbles and other loose items.

Empty 12 pack soda cartons make handy desk-side trash containers. I’ve often thought about inventing an attractive cover for them.

I can re-purpose almost anything.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I save my plastic sacks too. They eventually find another purpose, but often that purpose is, for example, wrapping leftover chicken bones in them so the dogs can’t smell them, then they go in the trash. :(

KNOWITALL's avatar

I am so proud of you jellies, way to be kind to Mother Earth. #impressed

Megan64's avatar

I stopped buying drinking glasses; we reuse jars from jam, pickles, sauce, etc. They are sturdier, and don’t break as easily. Plus, I don’t care if they do break, we can just recycle them.

I stopped buying matching plates. We go to the goodwill and everyone picks out a plate or two, that is “theirs.”

Aethelwine's avatar

I collect rain water from our gutters to water our flowers that are in pots. I also recycle aluminum and reuse plastics.

My most comfortable pairs of pants and pajamas were bought at Goodwill.

Dutchess_III's avatar

All my clothes are from Goodwill!

One thing I do do, with the earth in mind, is I reuse, over and over and over, until it breaks, a 32 oz Styrofoam pop cup. I get refills in it. I also never buy bottled water. I just get water in my refill cup, straight out of the faucet. But other than that, I am feeling really, really guilty here. I need to start seriously recycling…

jca's avatar

I will also reuse paper towels, if I just use them to dry my wet hands.

ibstubro's avatar

That’s not a bad use of sacks, @Dutchess_III.
You could have wrapped the bones in something new. You need to expand your horizons on clothes. Salvation Army, local thrifts and yard sales are good, too!~ Careful of the Styrofoam cups! I re-use them too, but you have to make certain they dry out between uses, or keep them in the fridge. The drink can seep through the beads, mold, and infect the cup. A local town prohibits re-use, while another gives discount. Just sayin.

Were you local, I would know you, @Megan64. I’m certain.

Collect the rainwater in what, @jonsblond? ^^See above about Goodwill.

Megan64's avatar

@ibstubro I’m from SF, but half my roots are midwestern. So that’s probably true.

fluthernutter's avatar


- Plastic bags are used for trash liners. (Is calling them plastic sacks a regional thing?)
– Bottles and cans are collected and dropped off (given to someone) at the recycling center.
– I’ve got a pile of clothing that need to be patched or hemmed.

COMPOST food scraps, q-tips, paper towels (used twice @jca style).
URBAN ORE for larger items like used canvases, lumber, doors
EAST BAY DEPOT for random things that people could reuse for crafts like CD cases, prescription bottles, corks
GOODWILL for household goods, usable clothing and textile recycling (they will recycle clothing that is not resellable).
JARS we have some for the cooking oil and others I save for crafts (like snow globes in baby food jars).
CARDBOARD I stash the big cardboard boxes, we like to make houses and cars for the kids to play in.

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