The mantra of waste reduction used to be
REDUCE RE-USE RECYCLE
A good motto to live by.
In our household, I'd say we tread more or less a middle path in this respect.
If there are people on the one hand like, say, Rob Greenfield owning 44 items he can fit in a back-pack and walking barefoot through the world, and on the other hand there are people who make it onto a TV documentary because their hoarding problem has become spectacular, I suppose we're somewhere in the middle.
Our recycling bin is collected once a fortnight, and the week in between is for the black bin stuff that goes to landfill and the brown bin garden waste for the council to shred or compost and sell back to us once it's ready as a growing medium.
Each time, usually, the respective bins are half full. The one that gets most full on occasion is the brown bin — if we've been pruning the roses or fruit trees or something. We do compost all our kitchen waste, but our garden is only of medium size and we're grateful to have large, twiggy items — like our rosemary bush that died this winter — processed by the council.
We have a wood stove and also an open fire in our home, so we do cut up things like the rosemary bush and burn most of it, unless we're inundated with kindling at the time and squeezed for storage space.
We try to keep down the amount of packaging that comes into our home in the first place; a good proportion of our groceries are delivered weekly by an organic grocer — the fruit and veggies come mostly unwrapped, all the packaging they do use is recyclable, and they pick up last week's boxes and bags and string and wadding at the same time as they deliver our order. And we grow our own fruit and herbs, too.
All our paper or card rubbish we save and use as kindling, and we sort everything and recycle what we can. Not a lot gets thrown into landfill, though some does.
More substantial packaging we hang onto for re-use; and that is what makes up my two items to dispose of today.
I had a sparkly lamp, that I wrote about a while back, put out ready to Freegle. Hanging about waiting to be re-used I had a sturdy cardboard box, some wool wadding that padded the box for my order from Primal Meats, a large bag from Lands End, and several good-sized lengths of bubble wrap. So those are my items to go today.
I swathed the lamp in bubble wrap and lined the box with the wool wadding to protect it further. I had a couple of books to send away (I haven't written about them because I'm swapping them out for some underwear I bought), so I wrapped those up in bubble wrap and posted them in the Lands End bag.
Also this morning, some of the clothing I put out was collected by a Freegler. At one time I had a laundry bin that was re-purposed as a log basket, but it used to have a cotton liner which made a very nice bag (except I didn't need it). So I packed up the clothes in the cotton bag to be collected. I expect the Freegler will also have stuff to go at home, and can re-use the bag for what leaves their own home.
I find this careful and thrifty addressing of stuff management very pleasing, yet at the same time rather draining. I can only take so much of it before I start to wish I'd never been born. This is (in part) why I want to streamline my life until I reach the condition of not needing very much — just something to eat and new (to me) garments replacing ones that wear out.