Surprising Tips for Joining Team Mother Nature

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Recycling isn’t just for eco-minded hippies, and repurposing old junk around the house isn’t just for crafty suburban moms. Not anymore. Today, recycling is bigger than ever. Many states are adopting plastic bag bans, a variety of automakers are pushing eco-friendly cars and retailers are offering products packaged in recyclable containers. Recycling is in. And if you’re not recycling, what are you doing with your life? Here’s how you can join Team Mother Nature and help preserve the Earth’s precious resources.

Recycle Electronics

According to data from TreeHugger, 20 million tons of electronic waste is tossed away annually. Recycling these items is important. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that for every million phones that are recycled, 33 pounds of palladium, 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver and 35,000 pounds of copper can be recovered. A variety of cities across the country have days when they will pick up your hazardous waste recyclables, which includes electronics. Additionally, some retailers, like Best Buy, will happily process your recyclable items. For more on recycling electronics, check out EPA.gov as well as our very own Recycling Search.

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Buy Pre-Owned

Cars aren’t the only thing that you can buy pre-owned. You can get your next smartphone or electronic device pre-owned, too. Just because it has been lightly used doesn’t mean it’s defective or out-of-date. In many cases, pre-owned devices rival current releases. For example, T-Mobile offers pre-owned devices and smartphones like the Google Nexus 6 which comes equipped with a 13-megapixel OIS HD camera, 2.7 GHz Quad-Core processor and 3GB of RAM.

According to the EPA, 90 percent of the phones purchased in a one-year period will be thrown into a landfill. That leaves only 10 percent of smartphones being properly recycled. Buying pre-owned not only helps to preserve resources, it can save you money, too.

Repurpose With Purpose

If you have a lot of stuff around the house filling up your closets and basement that you’re ready to donate, take a look at it again. There are a handful of inventive and creative uses for ordinary household items. For example, you can turn an old, beat-up ladder into a bookshelf, or you can use your old CD collection to make a mosaic art piece. Metal funnels can be turned into vintage candle holders, and spoons can be transformed into chandeliers with a little DIY muscle. Charities and nonprofits will happily accept what’s left over after you’re finished repurposing. For more creative ideas, check out BoredPanda.

Save Energy Around the House

If each household in the United States replaced just one traditional light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), the pollution reduction would be equal to removing one million cars from the roads, according to Fast Company. CFLs use nearly 70 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, explains Energy Star.

Another way to save energy around the house is to switch up your laundry routine. By washing in a warm-cold cycle, rather than a hot-hot cycle, U.S. households could save an amount of energy that’s comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day, states 50 Ways to Help the Planet. For more energy saving tips, visit 50WaysToHelp and check out 10 Steps To Save Money With An Energy Efficient Home.

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