Reuse

Reusing products cuts down on the need to purchase new products constantly, ultimately reducing the level of waste you are generating. There are many products available for purchase that are designed for multiple use to help you reduce your reliance on single-use products, but even some of the single use products can be reused multiple times in an effort to reduce waste generation.

Products

Reusable shopping bags are a great example of how to cut your waste generation dramatically. Instead of consuming multiple shopping bags each trip to the grocery store, you can purchase a reusable shopping bag practically eliminating the need to decide between paper and plastic.

This is a necessary step towards waste reduction because paper and plastic shopping bags require high levels of energy to produce and recycle. Recycling paper bags is more than 90% of an energy intensive process than recycling plastic, meaning that the environment is taking an additional hit after the trees have been initially removed.

This isn't to say that recycling plastic is any better because while it does take less energy to recycle them, only 5% are ever returned to recycling centers, meaning that 95% of these plastic bags are entering the waste stream where they will remain for 1,000+ years.

Solutions

Yard Sales & Thrift Stores - While these don't typically have websites for you to browse their selection, both yard sales and thrift stores are excellent sources to donate your used items as well as find products that are still in working condition and typically much cheaper.

Reusable Products - There are many different locations to purchase reusable products such as reusable bottles and shopping bags. These help you reduce your need to buy single use plastic and paper products that typically just end up increasing the waste stream.

Freecycle Evanston   - The Freecycle network allows members to exchange products that otherwise may be thrown away simply because an individual doesn't use them anymore. This network is 100% free and serves Evanston and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Craigslist - Craigslist offers a network that allows you to buy, sell, or exchange used products that would otherwise not find a new home.