the debate about where to build new landfills in Northwest Arkansas
makes it apparent that area residents need to concern themselves
with reducing the amount of solid waste they produce. Recycling
is a universally recommended solution when the question of how to
reduce waste is discussed.
of clothing, shoes, furniture, household appliances, electronic
equipment, toys and other still-serviceable items go into area landfills
experts tell us that getting maximum use from each item is the recycler's
first rule. Using paper sacks and plastic bags from the grocery
store to contain garbage or for storage is recycling at a higher
level than simply sending the sacks and bags to be remanufactured.
Donating clothing to charitable resale shops such as those operated
by the Salvation Army and several churches in the area is another
way to recycle at the highest level. The rule is simple: If you
used an item today, then someone likely can use it tomorrow, even
though you have decided to replace the item with something new.
as simple as using an old juice jar to hold frozen orange juice
or to make sun tea reduces the waste load while discouraging the
harm further manufacturing and consumption of resources would cause
to the world1s environment if one bought a special container. Hundreds
of similar small economies add up to significant recycling when
lots of people participate.
sales are another important recycling outlet. Going to the trouble
to hold a garage sale can provide a bit of spending money for a
family, and enlisting youngsters in the effort can teach valuable
skills. Admittedly, yard-sale prices often amount to less than 2
percent of the new prices of items offered for sale ‹ even when
use has caused only a minimal reduction in the value of such items.
But selling $5,000 worth of material slated to be trashed for even
$100 can benefit many a household budget. Certainly, some retailers
may fear that rummage sales hurt their business. Some local governments
may fear that such sales reduce the amount of sales tax collected.
But observing the buyers at a typical yard sale could allay such
fear. Relatively few buy things at garage sales they otherwise would
have bought new any time soon. Mostly they buy extra things, even
fanciful things they never would buy at retail prices.
garage-sale enthusiasts are specialists who search for good deals
on antiques or unusual items. Some are elderly people who find visiting
yard sales a way to socialize and occasionally find a bargain to
stretch retirement income. Some are young couples seeking baby clothes
for a quarter an item rather than $20 per item. Some are new residents
of the area who have discovered the average worker's wages here
are not what they expected when they migrated.
are workers looking for rough, used athletic shoes or boots to wear
while painting, pouring cement, sealing swimming pools, working
on oily floors and such. Some are simply poor and need decent shoes
at a low price. Few buy items they would have gone to the mall or
a specialty store or even a discount store to shop for. They are
happy to use cast-off items for whatever their particular reasons.
people who hold sales in their yards, carports, garages or even
inside their homes are equally diverse; but, whether they realize
it or not, all deserve commendation for recycling.
desperately need to earn a few dollars and are willing to sell even
things they really want to keep in order to pay their basic bills.
Some like to have people of all sorts visit to chat, shop and pass
the time of day. Some enjoy the smiles on the faces of people who
find something they want or need but can't afford at retail prices.
Others feel guilty if they waste any usable item and believe that
recycling by selling at bargain prices is a service not only to
the individuals who take advantage of their deals but also to all
the people, animals and plants on earth. They are pleased not only
that useful items are being kept out of landfills but also that
natural resources are saved when their old items are put to use.
people care about the environment because they want clean air and
water for themselves and members of their family or care for the
sake of fish and wildlife, everyone has a vested interest in conserving
facilitating recycling, garage sales provide a lot of pleasure for
many people, and they ought to be encouraged by local government.
It goes without saying that there ought to be no needless restriction
imposed on yard sales. And it ought to be pretty easy for most communities
to provide community bulletin boards at various public sites on
major streets and highways to guide yard-sale shoppers.
the push continues to build more landfills, local governments will
be forced to provide increased recycling opportunities for citizens.
Encouraging every family in the community to hold yard and garage
sales as often as possible may be the cheapest and easiest first
step a community can take.