January ACTION!: Remember the Forgotten R’s

The mantra of “reduce, reuse, reycle” has been ingrained in us for over a decade, usually with the favored “Recycle” coming out on top. But this month (and throughout the New Year— Happy 2010, everybody!) we challenge you to remember the other R’s. While recycling is good, it still uses energy and other resources to break down materials and should really be a last resort after reducing the amount of products you consume and reusing everything that you can. This is good news for you as recycling in the Trail Towns can be logistically challenging and sometimes expensive.

REDUCE: Using less materials to begin with not only keeps refuse out of the waste stream, but is easier on your wallet too. The less you buy, the more you save! If you can, try to purchase items with less packaging that will be thrown away. The same goes for energy consumption; strive to turn out lights in unoccupied rooms, unplug appliances that aren’t in use and fix leaky faucets. These things are all free and add up to savings for your business!

REUSE: This month, reuse is the star of the show, and all over print and online media venues bloggers, writers, artists and entrepreneurs are singing its praises and getting creative doing it.  Many people have even started their own small businesses selling the items they’ve rescued from trash heaps! However ambitious you are feeling,  here are some resources to help you see your trash in a whole new light.

  • Construction Junction – Construction and waste building materials have a significant negative environmental impact. Construction Junction, a non-profit organization in Pittsburgh, seeks to lessen this impact by collecting and selling gently-used building materials, from doors to sinks and cabinets to tiles. Whether you’re remodeling, building new or have old appliances, flooring or lumber hanging around consider donating to or buying from CJ. They also have a great stock of vintage architectural elements and appliances for historic-minded businesses. Visit their website for a full range of items available, details on donating and more about their mission.
  • Creative Reuse Pittsburgh – Housed in the CJ warehouse, CRP accepts and offers smaller reusable items such as unique packing material, containers, magnets, cardboard, fabric and wood scraps. Go to their blog to see a full list of items accepted. Donate your overstock and used office supplies or pick up some unique items for your business!
  • Freecycle – A site dedicated to reducing waste, saving resources and building community. You join a local chapter (we’ve found ones in Cumberland, Connellsvillle, Greensburg and Somerset) to get updates about things people are giving away completely FREE. Or clean out your attics, back offices and garages at your business to free up some space, give back and join the movement!
  • Craigslist – You can find almost anything on Craigslist, free or cheap. You can also sell anything you might wish to discard!
  • Ebay – Like Craigslist with an “auction” twist.
  • Readymade MagazineA fun publication offering handy tips for running your home or business and inspired ideas for reusing items you might have lying around.

Use these resources to find (or make!) many things you might need for your business without adding to the cycle of production and disposal.

Leave ideas, questions, resources or any other thoughts related to creative reuse, and check other articles tagged with “reuse” for ways other Trail Town Businesses have repurosed objects for their businesses and saved money and resources!


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Filed under Creative re-use, in Southwestern PA, Reduce, Resources, reuse

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