Recently Colin at No Impact Man cited an amazing statistic by Heather Rogers, namely, that 80% of products sold in America are designed to be used once and tossed.
Now, I haven't read Rogers' book, Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage, yet, nor do I know where she got such a statistic from. At first it seemed like such an outrageously high number that I was inclined to dismiss it. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there's an awful lot of stuff out there that fits the bill: envelopes, scotch tape, packaging, cotton balls, paper cups, Biore pore strips, PAPER, etc etc.
Since then, I like to play this little game with myself. My mission in this game is to find ways to use things TWICE.
I mean, look, first of all, I try not to use unnecessary one-time use products. And there's a lot of "disposable" stuff that I use over and over again. Ziploc bags are a good example. But there's also a lot of stuff I'm just not going to use 20 times or even five times. But, I can maybe find a way to use them twice.
Like envelopes. If I get a manila envelope that wasn't actually sealed, but just held shut by the brass fastener, I'll throw a label on over where my address was marked, and send that envelope back out to someone else. If the envelope was sealed, I might use the back of the envelope to make a grocery list.
Since I can't recycle carbon copy paper, I rip it up and use it to mark the pages in my books when I read something blog-worthy.
Paper gets de-bradded and de-paper clipped before it goes in the recycling. Yeah, you can keep that stuff in, but why, when you can re-use it!
Packaging materials get saved. All of it. Boxes, ribbons, wrapping paper, bubble wrap.
I will even on occasion use one tea bag to make two cups of tea.
And every time I come up with a way to use one more thing twice, I get all excited, like I've just advanced to the next round of America's Next Top Re-user. What that says about me and my life (or lack thereof), I don't know. ;)
3 months ago