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How to Reduce Waste and Extend the Life of 5 Most Popular Items


Vegetables-GettyWe all know that in order to fight pollution we have to reduce waste. The three golden R’s- reduce, reuse, recycle should drive every purchase and the sound of the words should ring in our heads every time some waste is to be sent to the landfill. But even if we do everything by the book, some things are just way too difficult to say bye to.

A while ago, we gave tips on how to repair your household items in order to cut down waste. Now, here is a another small list of tips, but this time it focuses on how to extend the life of five of everyone’s most favorite items that appear in pretty much every home. The tips will give you some ideas to stop yourself from generating too much waste by making things last longer, keep your beloved item longer and help you save some money along the way.

women1. Your Car

As one of the main aims here is to make sure we protect the environment and not pollute it unnecessarily, please do invest in the most eco-friendly model you can afford. Even if that is not 100% electric, there are plenty of green options out there to fit to everyone’s budget.

Now, to ensure that your vehicle serves you perfectly for many many years, there are a few simple tips for you to follow. Although most of them should not come as a surprise and they are very well known to all of us, many people still keep making the same mistakes over and over.

So, this is what you should do.

  • Drive responsibly. No texting, no phoning, no drinking and driving, and stick to the speed limit. If you do this, you will reduce your chances of an accident at least by half.
  • Drive calmly. Make sure you always leave the house with enough time to spare so that you do not need to rush, or drive like a maniac. Keep an eye for all the speed bumps, and do not make strange and fast turns.
  • Read the manual. This is something that almost no one does, but it is extremely essential. You will get great insights on basic maintenance, so that you can prevent a small problem from becoming a big and very expensive one.
  • Do not listen to music. I know this might be quite hard for some, but it will help you hear small noises that could be the first indicator that there is a problem to be fixed.
  • Check the tires often. Most new cars have a built in system that reports critical differences in tire pressure. If you are about to buy a new car, make sure it has this, and if not, make it a point to buy a tire air pressure guage and check every week. This will help you save a lot on fuel.
  • Recycle once unneeded. Please do this. A lot of car components can be reused and recycled even if the car is completely trashed. Just go to a recycling company and allow then to do their magic.

getty-160540621-makeupopener-Stephen Smith_12. Your Cosmetics

Regardless of whether you opt for natural organic cosmetics, or for the regular-Jo ones, disposed products almost always end up in land fills. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done here to prevent it from happening, except to make the products last longer, so that you have higher chances to be able to use them all up. Here is what you should do.

  • Storage. Always store them in places, where there is no direct sunlight, moisture or intense heat.
  • Packaging. If the packaging of the product is broken, this does not mean it is unusable. Try to fix it, or repackage in an empty container.
  • Make your choice according to expiration date. Here, make a point that this will be one of your selection criteria. Just pick the ones that last longer- powders, water-based, solid liners, etc..
  • Make-up tips. Every girl knows at least one, here are some from me: add cleansing milk to your mascara if it is starting do dry out, add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to repair broken eye shadow, add nail polish thinner and not remover to your drying nail polish, use a scoop to scrape out the remaining lip stick.

Vegetables-Getty3. Your Organic Produce

Some of the tips here might apply to all foods, but since a while ago we published a piece on how to reducing food waste, I will focus on the most precious items.

  • Fresh. Make sure that you buy the freshest organic produce, unless you are sure that you will be able to finish the damaged and bruised ones before they go off.
  • Ethylene. This is a gas that is released mainly by fruits, and can damage some vegetables. Storage of apples, bananas, tomatoes, apricots should be done seperately from broccoli, cabbage and leafy greens.
  • Bands. Usually, produce comes packaged, or at least kept together with a small band. Make sure you remove all this before storage.
  • Washing. Do not wash vegetables until you are about to cook them. In case you have made that mistake, or you happen to have leftovers, dry them with a towel before placing them in the fridge.
  • Buy. Most importantly, do not buy excessive amounts. Make sure you have a stash for let’s say a week. Then go shopping again.

101343199-128253521r.530x2984. Your Sustainable Materials

Everyone has textiles made of sustainable materials, and we all know that they need slightly more care in order to keep them soft and prevent them from damage. Here are some tips for individual types. But before I go on, there is a common tip for all- always always read what it says on the label.

  • Organic cotton and wool. Wash these with cold water. If you do not have suitable detergent that is both organic and can dissolve at low temperature, than you might want to consider taking them to dry cleaners, who deal with such materials in a green manner.
  • Soy fabric. These are much more delicate than organic cotton and wool. Here it is important to only wash with cold water and never dry them in machines.
  • Recycled polyester and other materials. Although you might be concerned how to handle textile made of let’s say recycled plastic bottles, you should not worry too much. Most of these can in fact be washed normally in a washing machine.
  • Ironing. Most fabrics made of sustainable materials can be ironed on low settings, but just to be on the safe side, always check the label.

117895112-e134444499066515. Your SmartPhone

Now, I know what you will say- smartphones are getting upgraded what feels like every month, so by the time you need to consider repairs, the new and improved model is already out. But do consider this. E-waste is a huge problem that is increasing exponentially, threatening the lives of thousands in the developing world. But despite that, there is really no reasonable explanation for that need to change your phone every time the new model is out.

Here are a few tips how to make sure that your phone functions as good as new for many many years.

Protect. Nowadays there are so many cool casings that you can get. There has to be one that you like, so do invest in it to prevent accidental breaks.

  • Do not be a victim of your phone. Make sure you use it only when needed, and try to replace each email, text, message, and so on, with an actual phone call and a real life meeting. This type of interaction is much more fun.
  • Battery. Make sure that all applications and features are turned off when not in use. Things that drain your battery the most include bluetooth, 3G, and Wi-Fi. Try also adjusting the brightness lower.
  • Repair. Do consider repairs before you think of throwing it away and buying a new one. Often it is the cheaper option and besides it means one less phone in the e-waste landfill.
  • Recycle. When the time comes to say goodbye, do go to a store where they will gladly take your phone and dispose of it responsibly. There are many toxic chemicals that can be taken out through proper recycling.

Images (c) Getty

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  1. Good article, but let me help you:

    1) Cars, because of Rudolph Diesel and Nikola Tesla, cars are
    inexplicably tied to oil. In fact we
    have enough knowledge to also rid ourselves of oil’s residual products such as
    plastics used in so many cars, AND (not that I’m ‘smarter than the avg. bear’)
    but ALL materials, ‘all’, should be ‘dedicated’ as recyclable-specific to the
    auto industry. Look up how much
    auto-scrap metal is EXPORTED, practically all to be re-used to mfr future autos
    that will be imported and purchased by Americans; and

    2) Organics such as produce, cotton, packaging, AND “VEGGIE
    FUELS” (i.e. corn, or ANY veg that produces ‘oil’) should have been pushed into
    play in a ‘wholesale’ effort spear-headed by the Feds. Just look at the Reclamation Act of 1902 and
    understand the real power of the Feds (to do the right thing – when business

    Could we ever have automobile transportation that’s predominantly
    ‘organic’? 50 years ago, I would say,
    no. In today’s world, I say no, but for
    entirely stupid reasons because the technology is at our feet. Oil and Banking, Oil and Banking, Oil and
    Banking. . . . .we can shorten it to ‘money, money, money’. Remember. . . . ‘man’ invented money. . . .and man has flawed judgment
    (when it comes to decisions involving money vs ‘what’s best for the World or it’s

  2. “consider taking them to dry cleaners, who deal with such materials in a green manner”
    Not sure the hard chemicals used by dry cleaners are very green…


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