As more people have embraced eco-friendly lifestyles and practices, it's never been easier to make a positive impact on the planet.

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to make such an impact is to look for ways to reduce waste, which often involves reusing materials and products that otherwise might be discarded. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, producing new items requires substantial amounts of materials and energy. Such products may require the extraction of raw materials from the earth before they can be fabricated and transported to places where they will ultimately be sold. By resolving to reuse products, consumers can greatly reduce the impact their purchases have on the planet.

Why reduce and reuse?

A reduce and reuse lifestyle preserves natural resources and reduces waste, but there are additional benefits.

· Reduces pollution: By reusing items, consumers can decrease demand for new products.

· Finances: Reducing and reusing has financial perks, namely the low prices of recycled items compared to brand new items. In addition, reusing everyday items, such as coffee mugs, instead of buying new items each day can add up to sizable savings over time. Repurposing clothing, such as using once fashionable T-shirts as workout gear, also can be a great way to save money.

How to reduce and reuse

There are myriad benefits to reducing and reusing, there are also many different ways for consumers to reduce waste and reuse items.

· Shop for previously used items. Whether consumers are shopping for items for their homes or for new wardrobes, their options abound in regard to previously used items. Homeowners can work with contractors who have experience in working with reclaimed materials, while also visiting antique shops or used furniture stores when furnishing their homes. When clothes shopping, consumers can visit consignment shops that sell like-new items at reduced prices.

· Pay attention to packaging. One of the biggest contributors to unnecessary consumer waste is packaging. Packaging is often made of raw materials, and heavily packaged items require the use of more raw materials than items with less packaging. Packaging typically find its way into landfills, so consumers looking to reduce can favor items with less packaging when making their purchases and/or look for items packaged with reused or recycled materials.

Reducing waste and reusing items go hand in hand. Embracing a lifestyle that emphasizes reducing and reusing can have a significant, long-lasting and positive impact on the planet.