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Don’t throw it out

Don’t throw it out Image: Thinkstock
Kiwis bank balances are emptying inversely to the growing piles of rubbish in our landfills. The antidote is to question everything you throw in the bin. You’d be surprised what you can re-use, recycle or simply sell for money. Let me repeat that: SELL FOR MONEY.

You’ll be doing the environment and your bank balance a favour. Here are seven ways to make money or recycle your rubbish:

  1. 1. Think laterally: for years I’ve been de-cluttering my parents’ house. They and I are often astounded at the money they receive for total trash. I could fill this page with examples. One of the best was the dusty 50-year-old kapok mattress that sold in a day. The new owner planned to extract and wash the kapok and use it for filling the designer poufs she made and sold. That has to be one of the best reusing story I’ve heard.
  2. Reuse, reuse, reuse: I was given some homemade shower gel for Christmas that really wasn’t the sort of thing that I like to wash with. Instead of chucking it out or giving it away, I’ve found that it’s perfect for washing wool.
  3. Reassess that paper recycling: we all have a need for scrap paper for shopping lists and note taking. Instead of buying pads, collect up paper that has only been used on one side and hold it together with bulldog clips. What’s more, all those magazine you put in the recycling are saleable, either individually or in bundle. A friend of mine used to order magazines such as Oprah from the United States and sell them online once she’d read them. More run of the mill magazines such as anything from The Listener to Little Treasures can be sold in bundles.
    Even good old newsprint can be used to line kitchen bins instead of buying expensive bin liners.
  4. Trade your compost for eggs: backyard chickens are appearing all over the country. It’s hip and cool to have your own hens and eat their eggs. If you haven’t got chickens, do what I do. Supply your neighbour or friends with feed for the chickens: AKA edible compost and you’ll probably be repaid in free eggs from time to time. Likewise an awful lot of what goes out in the rubbish could be composted in a corner of your garden, saving the cost of buying potting mix and manure.
  5. Hold the mother of all garage sales: selling items individually can be time consuming. As a working parent I appreciate that. One less profitable option to selling online is to hold an annual garage sale and clear a lot of stuff in a hurry.
  6. Even broken items can be sold: providing you’re honest in your descriptions broken items can be sold. One of the first items I ever sold for my parents was a box of broken model aircraft bits dating back to the 1960s. To my surprise the auction went from $1 to $45 and the collector who bout them emailed me to thank me for selling these bits rather than throwing them away as most people would. They were the find of the year for him.
  7. If you can’t be bothered: recycle the item by giving it someone else who wants it or can sell it. Or just give it to the local op shop and that person will find it. Every year I run a school fair. At the end we are left with trailer loads of perfectly useable items. Instead of sending them to the tip, we sell job lots in online auctions. The buyers then make money by either re-selling the items individually, or in some cases sending entire shipping containers of stuff to the Pacific Islands to be sold. Either way, nothing ends up in the landfill.

Finally, repeat after me: “I will not throw anything away unless I have asked myself: ‘can I reuse, recycle, or sell this item?’”

Links:

Top 10 things to sell from your home

Eating like a freegan

The anatomy of a debt-free-person

Upcoming markets and fairs

User comments
Love the PVA idea Jossie. Thanks for that.
The comment about reusing paper. 1. You can make useful paper pads by gathering up blank sheets or parts of sheets off any paper that comes through your door, flyers, invoices, statements etc, of any size and I make pads both big and small buy levelling one side of the paper on a table (banging it to tidy it up) run a little PVA on a stainless steel bench or formica survice, gently place evened edge of the paper onto the PVA - make sure that all the edges 'touch' bit of PVA, put a paper clip to cover this while the pad 'seals' - you can now use it like a 'normal rip of each sheet pad' - I sometime gather the colour paper which is only printed on one side to make pads for the children

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