Category Archives: Upcycled

My Dream of Zero Waste

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I recently saw something on TV about a family who could fit a years worth of garbage into a mayonnaise jar.  They had two small kids and I wondered, what about the shoes the kids wore out that year. They weren’t in that mayonnaise jar.  Did they use them for planters?  Were they so eco-friendly the shoes could be composted?  What do you do with all the shoes Zero-Waste family?

http://theview.abc.go.com/video/johnson-family-having-zero-waste-home

I might be mailing junk mail back to the sender as per an online instructional video on how to get rid of excess junk mail.  This guy opened each one and stuffed everything but his information back into the prepaid return envelopes and even added extra if I remember correctly, like flyers or postcard ads, then mailed it back to the credit card, insurance, or whatever company.  I’m not sure if it will get the message across without at least a note or something saying STOP sending stuff, excessive-paper-wasting-company, but it does help get rid of garbage.  And it will keep the postal service in business a little longer.

Seriously though, I think about how I can use anything before I dispose of it.  Packaging is a biggie!  Companies that make the products we buy just aren’t getting it.  Do we need all of that plastic and cardboard surrounding that item?  It really aggravates me.  I think at this point in our history ALL companies that produce or manufacture goods should be complying with the utmost in standards not just for preserving our environment but also to repair the nightmares and damage they’ve caused with their greed. If the package is telling me the manufacturer doesn’t care about the planet, that tells me they certainly don’t care about me or anything else. . . but, money.

Recycling can sometimes look like a bad episode of hoarders if you don’t keep up with it, and some see no need in taking things into the recycling centers unless it’s worth the gas money.  However, we have to remember the real reason to do it is not for the nickel a can or whatever, it’s for our children. It’s for the future of this planet.

I only buy bottled water in dire thirst emergencies.  Hey, sometimes it happens and I’m not prepared.  I will however refill a plastic water bottle until it can no longer be recognized as an actual bottle (or until I lose the cap).  The newer ones have “less plastic” which means they’re flimsier, with a tiny, rougher edged, bottle top that can only be unscrewed by oompa loompas. Better is my large counter top water filteration system, and my refillable sports bottles.  Maybe not as conveniant.  The system and the bottles have to be cleaned and “single use products” certainly do not.

It’s a great goal to strive towards a zero waste home, and we will be putting more effort into it around here.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

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SUPs Who Needs ‘Em?

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Think for a minute how many disposable or ” Single Use Products” you have in your house.  How many homes in America have razors.  Do we own any other type anymore?  Below is a list of just some of the things off of the top of my head that we are using without a thought from one day to the next, and most of us aren’t even aware of the impact it’s having on our planet.

Plastic flatware  ~ refuse this at the counter, bring your own. There are many inexpensive, reuseable “picnic” sets that snap together in metal or recycled plastic.

Take out food packaging ~ if you eat out, just sit down and eat out.  You could bring your own containers if you don’t mind the wierd looks.

Plastic shopping bags ~ why are people so self concious about bringing in their own shopping bags??  C’mon people!  Not enough are even recycling them.  They make great little waste basket liners, tie the handles in knots and tuck under . . .viola!  Why buy MORE plastic bags to throw away?

Styrofoam ~ the stuff packed around electronics is sometimes sturdy enough to be used for risers.  Cut them with an X-acto knife to the size you want, set up a random stairstep arrangement, with smaller blocks toward the front (3 or 4 are best),  and drape with a nice velvet or satin. You can add a layer of lace, and tuck into edges and corners before you place the tchatchkes. This looks nice in a hutch for small collectables.

Pet toys ~ make your own!  Recycle denim, t-shirts, rope bits, get creative.  Your pooch could care less about the toy it’s the love from you they want.  Knot an old pant leg and play tug-o-war, next thing you know it’s Bowser’s favorite toy.  Embroider their name on it, or a face if you want, stuff it with some other recycled stuffing, maybe an old pillow that has been washed and cleaned.  Cut it open and re-use the stuff inside so you only discard the ticking.

Cardboard ~ This is the best weed blocker imaginable.  Just lay it all down flat in one layer on the bottom of your flower, or raised bed and cover with good, thick layer of weed free dirt.  The plants get a tremendous head start on the weeds and the worms absolutely LOVE the paper.

Disposable diapers ~ just try cloth in the daytime, with a soaker covering the rubber pants.  Use disposable rarely if ever.   Like the swimming ones, or for overnight.  Learn your childs potty pattern and use them for the messier times.  Usually around 20 minutes after they eat in my kids cases.  You might want them to sleep in disposables, otherwise you wash the bedclothes every day rather than once a week and how much is that helping the planet.

I could probably go on and on about this but I’ll give it a rest for now.  I need to head out to the barn to see what I can donate to the rummage sale scheduled this weekend at my kid’s charter school.  Another EXCELLENT way to recycle!!