Many of us want to contribute to our communities but just don't have the time to volunteer, raise money, or attend organization meetings. There's one thing we can all do that takes virtually no time, contributes to the global and local community, and saves us money: Recycling and re-using. I have a passion for re-using and recycling materials, but I'm not an activist. You don't need to be an activist to contribute to the reduction of landfill waste and surplus of stuff that contributes to the world's energy consumption. Here are some ideas for re-using and recycling stuff: 1. No-brainer -- Recycle paper, glass, plastic and some metals using those blue recycle containers provided by the city. This web page lists the items you can recycle in Bradenton and other details about the Bradenton recycling program. Requires no time. 2. Join the community at Freecycle.org. Other members (free) post stuff they want or stuff they're giving away (that's right -- FREE). Great way to get rid of stuff you don't use or get stuff you need. Extra benefit: Saves money. 3. Sell your old stuff on Ebay or post on Craigslist. Extra benefit: Earn some extra money. Downside: Requires some time. If you download the Ebay app on your smartphone, you can take pictures of your stuff and post directly to the site to sell items. Saves time. 4. Re-use printer paper by printing on the blank side. You can sometimes re-fill the ink cartridges too. Requires no time. Saves money. 5. Use bleach, baking soda and vinegar for most cleaning tasks. Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 bleach for a great disinfectant cleaner. Same with vinegar. The smell dissipates soon after use. Saves money. Requires little time. Click here for solutions for Non-toxic cleaning. 6. Re-use those envelopes that come with bills and charitable contributions (if you don't use them). If you pay your bills online, save the envelopes for stamps, money for the pool service or your kids' allowance. You get the picture. Requires no time. 7. Refill water bottles with filtered water. Requires no time. Saves money. 8. Make art projects from stuff you'd throw away. I make flowers out of plastic water or soda bottles. Here's a video that shows you how. You can use nail polish to paint the leaves. If using outdoors, use Goop glue. Requires a little time. Extra benefit: Make something pretty from things you'd throw away. Great project for kids. Another idea: if you like to sew, re-use the fabric from old clothing to make throw pillows, handbags, etc. Extra benefit: FUN!! 9. Another art project is to make mosaics from broken china. I make and sell this artwork in the Arts & Eats Gallery. If you're interested in taking a class, let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also re-use old tables by applying broken china to the surface. You can see two of these in the Arts & Eats Restaurant. 10. Shop at thrift stores. Donate to thrift stores. This helps the charitable organization that runs the shop, saves you money, and contributes to a cleaner environment by re-using clothes, furniture and other household items. The clothing and furniture at these stores can be of very high quality, depending on the store. Manatee Ave. in Bradenton is full of thrift shops. Goodwill has tons of stores in our area. The new one in Sarasota on Honore Ave. is very good. We've acquired nice tables for the restaurant there. Extra benefit: Saves money and It's FUN!! You never know the treasures you'll find. Have a great week and enjoy your contributions!!