4 simple tips to minimize your everyday waste

Waste not! That goes for leftover cafeteria food, feathers that still fluff, and fix-it-yourself devices.

Can you fix it?

Rating repairability may reduce replacing: Sometimes all that stands between your things and the landfill is whether they can be fixed if they break. That’s why France now requires products (such as smartphones and laptops) to be labeled with a repairability score. Worldwide, the “right to repair” movement appeals to people who want the ability to service their own products, from cars to tractors to electronics, instead of buying new ones. Feel handy? Find repair guides and scores at ifixit.com.

Got extra food?

College students across the country are collecting surplus cafeteria fare and delivering it to area groups in need through the Food Recovery Network. Find a chapter or start one yourself: foodrecoverynetwork.org

Fluff flies again

Recycling down yields fowl-friendly gear: If you’re in the market for a winter jacket, keep an eye out for one with recycled down. Several retailers are gathering feathers for new products from reclaimed bedding and apparel. Longtime sustainability advocate Patagonia says the practice has markedly cut its carbon footprint related to insulation.

Leave the leaves

Skip the annual ritual of raking and bagging fallen foliage. When left on the ground, autumn leaves provide shelter and food for beneficial insects and other wildlife. They can also enrich the lawn; running a mulching mower over leaves grinds them into nourishment for turf.

For more stories about how to help the planet, go to natgeo.com/planet

This story appears in the November 2021 issue of National Geographic magazine.

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