The 7 R's:

  • Reuse instead of buying new every time.
  • Repurpose - the more creative cousin of reuse, repurposing turns old junk into new, functional objects.
  • Return - only buy from companies with take-back programs.
  • Refill instead of buying disposable bottles and paper cups.
  • Refuse to buy over-packaged, disposable, single-use junk.
  • Rot - compost everything organiic.
  • Repair instead of replacing.

Here are some innovative ways to recycle common household items:

Old Running Shoes
Most Nike stores take running shoes back for recycling, including the Nike store in the Eatons Centre. For some reason this isn't advertised on the Canadian website.

Excess/Expired Vitamins and Medications and Packaging
You can take excess vitamins, medications and their packaging to any pharmacy counter and ask them to dispose of them. They will make sure that these productions are disposed of properly so as not to contaminate the environment.

Extra Clothes, Shoes and Accessories
The Kind Exchange pays cash for gently used women's and men's clothing, shoes, and accessories. If they choose not to buy the clothes that you bring, they will donate them for you so you only have to make one trip. There are 15 locations in Toronto, one in Burlington, and new locations opening in the GTA (Mississauga and Brampton) soon.

Trade Your Old Books for New Ones
If you still buy paper books and are looking to trade them for new ones, check out Book Mooch, a service that allows people to build wish lists. You can meet up with or mail books to people looking for what you have, earn points, and use your points to have other people send you books you want for free.

Alternatively, BMV Books buys good quality hard cover and paperback books. Books can also be donated at the Salvation Army or Goodwill.