Tips for Tossing Less

Everything we purchase gets thrown away eventually. Even family heirlooms. Even expensive furniture. Even the houses we live in. This is something we all should bear in mind at popular gift buying times like Christmas when we can get attracted to sometimes buy unnecessary goods. Here we give some of Lisa Bronner’s tips on reducing your trash whilst still enjoying the process of gift buying.

  1. Buy Less

Consider if you really need that items.  Will it bring lasting joy and utility, or is it just cheap?  Or is it just there?  We are all prone to impulse buying – and don’t retailers know it! To defend against that, don’t shop when you’re tired, hungry, or distracted. Go in with a list, and with set yourself a budget to cover that list.


  1. Buy Quality

Buying quality postpones when you need to buy that item again. A high-quality vacuum cleaner may last decades and is repairable. A low-quality vacuum will break in a year or two and often can’t be fixed. Over the course of time, that’s 5 or more vacuums that will end up in the landfill, as opposed to just one. Think of the savings! Quality usually costs more up front. But over time, compare the cost of that one vacuum versus the five. This goes for clothing, furniture, and even cars.

  1. Buy Used

Keeps things in circulation. Not only is this friendly on the wallet, but it keeps stuff out of landfills. Kids dress clothes spring to mind. How fast do they outgrow that special Christmas outfit, with not a worn-out spot on it? Charity stores or online resale sites are great places to find something used that you would never purchase new, like a high-end stroller or a designer coat. After a few of the plates and dishes from our everyday dishes had been broken, I found used replacement pieces online.

  1. Host a Swap

Clothing swaps, accessory swaps, book swaps, decor swaps, toy swaps, game & puzzle swaps, kitchen gadget swaps, craft supply swaps… I could go on. One person’s trash is another’s treasure and all that. So gather your friends, some snacks and drinks, and have everyone bring something from the theme that they no longer use but is in good shape. You’ll swap stuff and stories and leave with something “new to you!” From swaps, I’ve gotten some great trousers, an espresso machine, and a firewood basket still in use to this day.

  1. Give & Decorate with Consumables

Don’t clutter up your loved ones’ homes either. Give gifts that can be used up – tickets, flowers, lunch dates, freezer food. Your friends and family who are too busy to cook will love it if you fill up their freezer with homemade food. For short-term decorating, go with natural resources – take a nature walk and pick flowers, gather richly coloured fall leaves or scented pine boughs. Dried peas, corn, beans and lentils layered in a glass bowl make a beautiful table decoration.