What do I do with…?

Landfill and Bulldozer

Designed for the Dump

In our time, many of the things we buy and use are “designed for the dump.” Whether it be plastic packaging, poorly-made products, electronic devices that are easier to replace than to repair, or any of the multitude of items we may touch through the course of a day, the old adage “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” really holds true.

We live in an era of convenience. Unfortunately, convenience is often synonymous with single-use disposability. From coffee cups to plastic utensils, juice pouches to ketchup packets, and so much more, these items are created to be used once. They are ultimately designed for the dump, which is where the manufacturers of single-use disposables know the overwhelming majority of such items will go, unless they escape into the wild before they get there.

We also live in an era of planned obsolescence. These days it is easier to buy a new flat screen TV than to repair the one that’s on the fritz. As the useful lifespan of things gets shorter and shorter, and the options for repair get fewer and fewer, the result is more and more apparel, electronics, small appliances, and other functional items entering the municipal solid waste stream.

Why is this bad? If we were to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost as much as possible, these would be the items that end up in the landfill. Once there, the plastics remain for thousands of years, the toxic chemicals from electronics inevitably seep into groundwater, and the packaging that doesn’t end up at the dump clogs up waterways across the planet, collecting in wildlands & the oceans, doing harm to ecosystems, animals, and humans near and far.


  • Always opt for reusable containers, bring your own whenever you go shopping

  • Support Zero Waste brands, vote with your dollar by purchasing items with less packaging and less hard to recycle containers

  • Check out our Zero Waste Tips


  • Find creative ways to reuse single-use items

  • Becoming more popular in the art scene is Junk Art. Artist take items such as these that are designed for the dump, and create beautiful works of art


  • Take the time to learn how to fix your broken stuff

  • Attend a Fixit Clinic [link to even] at Home ReSource and exercise your right to repair


  • None of the items in this category can be effectively recycled despite arguments about their “recyclability”


  • Plastic straws

  • Plastic bags

  • Plastic bottle caps

  • Polystyrene (Styrofoam)

  • Plastic and metal sachets

  • Stretch plastic

  • To go containers

  • Plastic lined food containers

  • Toothpaste tubes

  • Toothbrushes

  • Pens and markers

  • Chip bags and candy wrappers

  • Aerosol cans

  • Wrapping Paper

  • Bubble Wrap

  • Packing peanuts

  • Tissue Paper