Use Less Stuff with These 10 Recycling Tips

Family recycling plastic bottles

Plastics Make it Possible® recently spoke with Bob Lilienfeld, editor of the Use Less Stuff (ULS) Report, about ways we can reduce, reuse and recycle ever day of the year!

Below are Bob’s top ten simple tips to help you use less stuff, recycle more, and even save a buck or two.

Plan Ahead

One of the best ways to conserve cash and natural resources is by planning purchases and meals ahead of time. Make a list, check it twice, and stick to it. Plan your trips so that you can hit multiple stores in the same area of town so you’ll save time, gas, money, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Know What & Where to Recycle

Eighty percent of all U.S. cities have a recycling program. These curbside recycling programs and community drop-off centers collect recyclable items, including different types of plastics (jugs, bottles, containers, jars, etc.) aluminum, glass, paper, metal, and other materials. Check to see what and where to recycle in your community.

Lock in the Freshness

Thirty million tons of edible food goes to waste each year.  The average American household can probably save up to $150 on grocery bills by properly storing leftovers. By using containers with tight-fitting lids, you can significantly reduce air exposure and lock in freshness. The same is true for zip bags, which can probably be used a couple of times. To stay organized, make sure to label each with a date and contents.

Collect Cups and Utensils

Instead of throwing away plastic cups, plates and utensils, collect them after they’ve been used. They can be washed and reused over and over again.

Get Creative on Reuse

Reuse is the purest form of recycling. Many plastic containers can be cleaned and reused for leftover food storage. Plastic cups and plates can be a home for growing seedlings in the garden. (Use a fork to punch drainage holes in the bottom and set on the plate.)

Bin There

Don’t forget the recycling bin. If you don’t already have one, purchase a recycling bin and place it near your trash can. This will make it easier to remember to recycle and help the environment by preventing recyclables from going to landfills. (Tip: Place a few bottles, bags, etc. or a sign near the recycling bin so that everyone knows what to recycle.)

Reuse Your Wrappings

Save money and avoid having to buy new wrapping paper and gift bags by collecting colorful paper and plastic wrappings from gift-giving. Store in plastic bags or cardboard boxes, label and store all of your wrappings together so that they’re easy to find.

Pass It On

Has your child outgrown that toy from last year?  Instead of throwing it away or storing it, donate the toy to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Or, hold a toy swap party with friends whose kids are of similar ages. You’ll eliminate waste and save valuable household space.

Throw on a Sweater (or Learn to Snuggle)

Turning your thermostat down by only a few degrees can help you save big on your home heating bill. If you’re expecting a large number of guests in your home, turn down your thermostat before the gathering begins; a crowded room can generate its own heat.  You can also conserve energy by grabbing a blanket and snuggling up on the couch.

Cut the Lights!

If you’re not using a light, turn it off.  Doing so will not only save energy, it will help your light bulbs last longer.

For more information and tips from Bob Lilienfeld, visit