The lovely people over at Our Next Life have thrown down an awesome challenge. Because of pretty staggering statistics and facts about what happens to our stuff after we get rid of it, they have started the Use It Up Challenge. I.E. If we knew this thing was going straight to the landfill when it leaves our hands, would we treat it differently? Would we try harder to get more use out of it?
I’m at a point in my minimalist journey where I pretty much only get rid of things I have no more practical use for. And while I do understand their point, I’m not in the business of keeping things that I don’t use to try and get more use out of them (neither are they by the way- but in some cases that might be how the challenge is interpreted).
What this challenge drives home for me is not to get rid of something just for the sake of doing it- something I’m going to explore in February’s Minimized Monthly.
What I think this challenge means for some of us on a practical level is that we should/need to be more proactive above researching our local recycling options and what actually happens to our stuff once we get rid of it.
I, for example, recently discovered that there is an electronics recycling drop-off location near where I live. This program is sanctioned by the Ontario government and funded by a fee Ontarian’s pay when purchasing anything electronic, the Ontario Environmental Handling Fee.
The EHF covers the cost of safely recycling electronic products, thereby keeping a higher percentage of them out of landfills. This program is probably not perfect, but it is certainly worth exploring as an alternative to throwing my end of life electronics in the garbage bin or dropping everything off of at Value Village and absolving myself of responsibility for what happens afterward.
There might be similar programs where you live-but you won’t know unless you do some research!
I love the idea of the Use it Up Challenge- we should all strive to get as much use out of the things we own as possible (both for environmental and personal economic reasons).
And when those products do reach the end of their useful life, we should also make informed decisions about where they go.
Do you have something in your ‘Donate’ pile you could probably get more use out of?
Read more about the Use it Up Challenge.
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