When living paycheck to paycheck, there are strategies that can help minimize debt. As an environmental guy, I also want to reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose whenever I can. Re-use stores such as Value Village, Thrift Shop, and Goodwill are helpful for clothing and other needful things, keeping money in the wallet and fill out of landfill. It is also helpful to be able to fix things. Too many times I have seen bicycles, for example, on the curbside for the sake of someone's inability to repair (or pay for the repair) of a flat tire.
In the photo below I have shown a Swifter which at first seemed broken beyond repair. I wrapped an interior plastic tube (supplied with the Swifter for aesthetics) with packing tape to make it snug against the inside walls and reinforce the broken joint. Then I glued the joint and wrapped the exterior with Technical Tape. For me, Technical Tape is the new “MacGyver” go-to when duct tape isn’t adequate or appropriate.
A while back I fixed a few tears in my BBQ cover with Technical Tape. I also sewed on new Velcro straps to replace the old ones that had torn off. This cover may be due for replacement soon but I’ve been able to get another few years out of it and I’ll keep extending its life as long as I can.
Lastly, I seem to accumulate a lot of Zip-lock type bags. These are expensive! So I wash and reuse them. I may not necessarily want to use them for food again, but they are great for organizing hardware, keeping screws and spare parts together.
I set up bins in my main bathroom to try to divert even more material from landfill than in my kitchen alone. Bathroom recyclables typically include cardboard toilet tissue rolls, cardboard containers (i.e. for soap, toothpaste, Kleenex, etc.) and plastic containers stamped with a recognized recycle symbol (i.e. spent shampoo bottles, and other products). The organic bin is for discarded tissue. Pretty much everything else is some sort of waste for which we do not have diversion programs in place. I call this the “Landfill” bin as a reminder of where the material is going if I can’t separate it for diversion. I hope that product suppliers are motivated to continue engineering containers and applicators to facilitate recycling.