7 Ways to Recycle Better at a Senior Living Community
It has been said that the current senior population have a better carbon footprint than ever before. This means that we are all doing something right. But how can we keep this trend going?
Most of us have heard of the three “R’s” Recycle, Reduce, Reuse and if you are doing that already than bravo! For those who are not on this trend yet, let’s go over some simple ways on how to get started recycling in your community.
- Participate in your communities recycle program from home
- Learn what to recycle and what not to recycle to streamline your household
- Start using your own bags for shopping
There are many more simple ways to recycle you can do in your home. Learn more in this article about how to start today.
What are some of the recyclable materials that we can use within our community?
Knowing the difference between what you can and cannot recycle makes it easier for you and for the companies that have to sift through the items to make sure they are in fact a recyclable item.
Reuse as Many Items as You Can
Don’t throw away items like earrings, vases, silverware, containers, even keys. Someone out there will find use for these items! There are budding artists, crafters and DIY folks who are happy to take these items off your hands. Using a site like Nextdoor is a great way to find these people in your local area to pick these things up from you. They turn them into treasures!
What is the easiest thing to recycle?
Water. What? Yes, recycling water is becoming a big thing. If you use water to boil pasta or vegetables, don’t throw it away. Pour it in your garden, this is a great way to recycle water and will only benefit your garden. People are reusing bathwater, rainwater and dishwashing water to use in their yard and garden beds.
Make Recycling Convenient
I have read that some people have a recycle receptacle in each major room. Some simpler advice is to have a dual trash bin system set up so that it’s easy to throw things in the correct bin.
Clean Your Rooms
Keep up with clutter and donate items that you are not using. Someone will find use for things that you don’t want thus keeping up with reuse and repurpose. Things like books can easily be recycled to friends or establishments. Look around the house, are there things you can clean up or get rid of? There always are right? Look in your closets for shoe, boots, scarves and old shirts and pants. Go through your drawers that you rarely open and see if there are candles, boxes or other items you might have said to yourself “someday I will use this for something” and make the decision to use it or discard.
Replace Common Household Items with Alternatives
Perhaps you use Styrofoam plates to eat for convenience. Consider a swap to paper or reusable washable solutions. In addition, you may use plastic forks and knives. Go back to the good old washable silverware.
Get Rid of Single Use Items
Replace disposable coffee cups with a reusable mug, use a multi-use water bottle instead of purchasing bottled water, Consider reusable straws and finally – reusable bags for shopping.
Senior Living Communities and Recycling
Senior living communities have done great things for the progress of recycling, they feature low flow toilets, efficient water systems, energy star appliances and of course efficient light bulbs. Many communities also feature “green committees” which encourage things like gardening, recycling trash and meet to discuss new ideas. Things like contributing your kitchen scraps to a neighbor who gardens, this way it does not go to waste and your neighbor may reward you with garden fresh vegetables, fruits or herbs. These committees may have a certain way to get in touch with other folks in the community if you are going to throw away furniture, kitchen items, silverware etc. They can offer these items up to other neighbors so that these items do not get discarded but get reused and in many cases repurposed.
Gardening and Dementia Care
It has been said that gardening also helps dementia patients with memory recall and gives them joy to visit or assist. Planting flowers that attract certain birds or butterflies adds interest to your loved one’s day. Not only does it help with their attention span but it provides a catalyst for stimulation. It provides socialization with likeminded individuals to give a sense of community to those who suffer with dementia or memory care issues. In this article there are other benefits and ideas for gardening for someone with Alzheimer’s.
Many of us have tried to get better at reusing household items and doing what they call - upcycling. Using things like ice cube trays for holding small items such as earrings, tacks, elastics etc. Try turning a six-pack holder into a condiment caddy! You can wrap the six-pack holder in craft paper, old wrapping paper or newspapers and it can hold ketchup, mustard, silverware and even napkins, to bring to your picnic or patio. Make use of old silverware by bending them into a hook and applying them to a decorative piece of wood to make a hanger for keys, coats and even dog leashes. Make use of old corkboards by hanging necklaces and bracelets on them with tacks. If you are living in an assisted living community, you may still have several items you can reuse, recycle and upcycle. Use old terra cotta pots and paint them in your new favorite color, make mason jars into decorative holiday displays, the lists are endless. If you knit or crochet use up old yarn to make a patchwork afghan for yourself or a loved one as a gift. There are creative crochet patterns that include a “weather patterned afghan” , also known as a temperature afghan, each day you check the weather and use a corresponding color to create a blanket of each day for the whole year. As you can see there are so many ways to reuse and you can share your ideas with friends to help spread the knowledge.
Some older adults wonder if they have the time or energy to repurpose things they may have around the house, the answer is – YES! Maybe you have a few pairs of summer flip flops that you are not using. Try a quick easy door hanging by using some glue, silk flowers and a piece of ribbon. How easy is that and so lightweight yet durable. Maybe you have some old rainboots that are cute in style but you don’t use them anymore. Fill them with potting soil for an adorable garden decoration or leave at your front door step. These types of projects are easy and fun, they do not cost much and you are reusing items you would have just put in the trash.
How do you start a recycling program in your community?
Many senior communities have chosen a green path, if this is important to you it’s a great question to ask when searching for a senior living community. If you find a community that you love and they have not embraced the green lifestyle, it may be an excellent opportunity for you to get them started! You could talk to other residents and get some feedback and create a recycling group of your own to get the ball rolling.
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