Reduce and Reuse: how to cut down on 'stuff'

People talk about ‘the three R’s’ all the time: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, and it’s even begun to enter the language of advertisement, product placement, and merchandising. Often this discourse pushes consumers to the last option (recycling), when really the first two are much more impactful, if harder to do. The goal of this topic is for our community to share cool hacks, ideas, and ‘wins’ to celebrate how we can cut down on the amount of ‘stuff’ we buy or send to the landfill

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Yesterday when cleaning out the kitchen I found an old water filter that had fallen out of use… I realized I can use it to filter the water for my dehumidifier. Not only have I found a new use for the filter, I’m also extending the life and how how often I have to clean out the dehumidifier!


I’ve definitely used Walden bags I’ve yet to return for a wide range of things. From grocery shopping, to just helping carry out the recycling - they are quite handy :slight_smile:

Nice. I have one of the OG brown Walden totes that I’ve been using as my lunch bag for years. Think my next project is going to be to turn some old t-shirts into char cloth. Found a pretty simple tutorial here: How to Make Char Cloth: 15 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

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Every now and then I get a box packed packing peanuts, usually they’re from a great little shop in Maine that makes dogtreats with sea cucumber (helps with the arthritis)! It took me a while to figure out what to do with all that styrofoam, but it turns out UPS will take clean packing supplies back. Here’s a bag I’m waiting to fill up before I run it over:

This weekend I put away my winter boots and made space for some other shoes. One of them was from a Maine company called Rancourt that makes shoes by hand. One of my favorite things about them is that you can send the shoes back to them to be re-soled. In fact, the first retargeting email I got from them was a check-in to see whether my shoes needed to be resoled, rather than purchasing a new item!

Wow, some great ideas here!! I didn’t know UPS will take packing supplies back, I LOVE that!!

Buy Nothing facebook pages have been a big one for me to find things I otherwise would have bought, and to get rid of things without throwing them away.

Love seeing companies who have item repair programs. I’ve taken my Patagonia jacket into the store downtown before and they’ll patch up any holes for you for free. I think the jacket looks even better with some battle scars.

Nice. My go-to is Pelham Shoe Repair in Davis Square. That guy is magic. He fixed a zipper on a backpack that I was sure was going to need to be totally replaced… 5 years later I’m still using the bag. Obviously he does a good job with shoes too

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I try not to buy new stuff… but when I do, I look to see if I can get a refurbished version first! Super happy with Kinesis’ ergonomic keyboards, and even cooler to see them feature refurbished products so visibly on their main site.

My favorite Walden bag use is for wet towels or bathing suits in the car when coming home from the beach!

That’s super good to know! Salem runs a Styrofoam recycling program a couple times a year, but it’s hard to find a place to store it for that long.

Girlfriend Collective makes clothing out of recycled material and will take back your used clothing from their line to reuse again! They also sell a special attachment for your washing machine to help keep microplastics out of the waste water :slight_smile: