Recycling (or upcycling) items and thrift shopping are two of my favorite ways to save money. A lot of the time, you wind up finding items just as good or better as what you would’ve found at your traditional retailers for half the price (or less). Earth Day has me thinking a bit about my own recycling and thrifting and how it’s save me money.
It’s Earth Day!
Today, April 22, is Earth Day. If you don’t already know the origins of Earth Day, April 22, 1970 was the beginning of the environmental movement. In the decades leading up to the first annual Earth Day in 1970, Americans were largely uninformed about the issues facing the Earth’s environment.
In 1969, the entire country witnessed a huge oil spoil in Santa Barbara. That prompted politicians and more people to back what was initially considered to be a “hippie movement.” The junior senator for the state of Wisconsin at the time was Senator Gaylord Nelson. He took students who were protesting wars and, well, anything they didn’t agree with and put their energy towards educating themselves about the environment.
The national potential for the program was recognized and there were 85 events put on across the country. Nearly 20 million Americans banded together to protest against the effects of global warming and other environmental factors. In 1970, it brought together Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between. That’s something we hardly ever see anymore. While people from across the aisle aren’t banding together this Earth Day, there are still plenty of ways observing the holiday and what it teaches can benefit you in your everyday life.
Recycling and Thrifting
One of the ways being more conscious about my carbon footprint has benefited me financially is through recycling and thrifting. If something can be used again, I use it. Similarly, if I can get something secondhand and it works, I’ll take it. Here are some prime examples…
Jars at the grocery store can be easily recycled for different things around the house. Clean them out and use them to store small things like popcorn kernels, your own homemade tomato sauces, or seasonings. I have also reused old wine bottle to create bird feeders and terrariums instead of purchasing something expensive from the store. One of the big ones that has saved me quite a bit of money is cutting up old shirts to use as cleaning rags around the house.
That brings me to thrifting. You can decrease your impact on the environment by shopping secondhand or taking used items. Instead of these things going into a landfill, they are used for the entirety of the item’s life. I have thrifted most of my clothing for years. I’m doing the same with our daughter’s clothes. We have gotten bags and bags of clothing to last until she’s about 2 years old. Of course, we will have to purchase a few items, but not much. Once we are done using them, they’ll go to another family until they can’t be used anymore.
Obviously, these things have saved me some money over the years. When it comes to clothes for my little one, we’ve probably already saved hundreds by accepting hand-me-downs. Recycling items may not save me as much, but it greatly reduces how much I’m dumping out.
What about you? Do you try to recycle or thrift items?
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.