Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I have been thinking more about recycling and reusing various materials, especially packing materials. The goal, as always, is to minimize waste, but there is always a point at which the cost outweighs the gains. That point is different for everyone, but it is why we reuse and recycle as much as we can.

I recently received a large pallet of supplies for my new business. It was constructed of wood products, very sturdy, and held together with screws. We considered using it to fix our shed floor but thought the material was a bit too thin to work for flooring. Instead of dragging it to the dumpster, we posted it on Offer Up, and someone was there to get it within a few hours.

There are often local ways to take certain materials to people and organizations that can put them to use or give them a second life. Unfortunately, with the variety of materials in our lives, figuring out what goes where can be a daunting task. The more complicated something becomes, the less likely it is to be executed to completion. The way they remove challenges is why I have been rather impressed with Ridwell.


The company ( has engaged with several local partners to take difficult-to-recycle materials and give them new life. One of the most consistent we have for them is the plastic film, which includes plastic grocery bags. We usually bring our own bags for shopping, but during the pandemic, the curb-side pickup we used sent more home with us than necessary. This category also includes external plastic packaging on things like toilet paper.

They feature unique things on a rotating basis and take some specialty items for a small price per filled bag. You sign up and, each time, let them know what you have. They take the full bag and leave an empty one in its place for the next time. We now collect things like cleaned chip bags, mesh veggie bags, and styrofoam to send in when we have a sufficient amount.

The padded envelopes are for shipping signed books, but the rest is our bundles saved for Ridwell.

The next time you find yourself throwing some of these things in the trash, consider looking to see if Ridwell or a service like it is in your area!

Happy April, and have a great weekend!

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