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Monday, March 24, 2008

Reduce Reuse Recycle

We hear these things and I know I wonder what can be done for little money.

Lots can be done if you have a great deal of cash to throw around you can completely remodel your house so it uses less energy you can buy a hybrid car but for people who are barely scraping by we have to do things in smaller ways.

Many things that people ,who are like my family, do are not only fiscally smart but also VERY green

Here are a few of my favorite ways to
Reduce Reuse and Recycle

Obviously we recycle in the kitchen. We wash out our cans, plastic bottles, aluminum cans,glass, any paper gets saved for use in the garden as a weed barrier it also gets used as bedding for our new worms. Many people I know find this a pain because it means rinsing and storing this sorted trash for hauling to the dump or recycle center.(up where I live we haul our own many places have a separate cart or box for their recycling)

For us we use a GREAT deal of recyclable materials. every meal every day in every way we use some form of recyclable packaging . Also our dump is only open 2 times a week we get there about once a month in the winter time. The hard part is where to store it all .

We use our back entry way which is a mud room off the kitchen. In there I have 3 large lidded bins we line them with the pale blue recycling bags and when full they are moved outside. It does not take anymore time than rinsing the dishes and no fuss. Once you find a system that works for you recycling is not hard.

We save the aluminium because we can sell it for extra cash last time I looked (which was last week) we can get 40 cents a pound for aluminum cans.

We also have the cardboard boxes that we use as fire starters for summer cooking fires and to start the indoor fire and also we use the cardboard for gardening , school projects, and now the worms

Food scraps usually go to either the compost heap, or when we have them the pigs or chickens and now worms depending on the type of food


I have found so many uses for things like plastic jugs , (there is even entire web sites dedicated to the reuse of these items) we have used them as covers for tender plants we cut them up to make things out of them we have used them as watering jugs for animals or plants we have used them as terrariums , I have cut them up and used the bowl bottom for paint projects

most recently my son Tim and I saw this picture

I think these are just lovely well I thought That is really cool I would love something like that

too bad it costs $650.00

Myself I cannot imagine paying that much for a glass table lamp that does not give off enough light to read, and that my boys would probably break really fast...accidentally of course.

So I asked Tim who is my resident artist if he thought we could make that. Tim said "Mom I have never used glass !" I said Tim think what do we have a LOT of on hand here at home that we could use to make something like that?

you guessed it plastic Milk jugs

well in about a half hour I threw together a rather crude version (in my opinion) of this lovely lamp and yes with the aide of a small LED party light it even lights up so here is my version of this lamp....

Introducing to the world the

Saved from the dump Lily

Maybe it should be called

Susan's Folly

Well the name Susan means Lily (I need to stop typing when this tired)

now granted this is not refined. It was my first attempt only to try to show my idea to my artist boy it took 2 milk jugs leaving me 2 bottoms to use as bases for small plants.

I think when lit up it is quite pretty

So why all this fuss? To illustrate that with a little imagination and whole lot of hot glue you can make just about anything you want.

One of my favorite things when it comes to reusing is obviously remaking things out of things I no longer need or like or in the case of clothing things that fit. In the next few days I will be taking an old frumpy dress that I have that I made a long time ago back in my huge moomoo days and remake this dress into a stylish shirt. Don't worry I will take pictures..I just hope I have the time. I use old clothes and scraps of things to make all kinds of stuff like my cloth diaper covers, I have made doll clothes and one thing my kids adore is I make puppets. just simple hand puppets but it is fun to pull out a box of scraps and think of the possibilities.

Now think Scrapooking many people love to scrapbook Dave laughed when I bought a pound of scrap paper just cut up colored scraps he thought that was the funniest thing EVER (till he saw the price) he said (and he is right..this time) Isn't the idea of scrapbooking to use scraps of things you already have that go with that day or time in your life??

I'll be darned!

Another form of Reuse would be back in that kitchen check in the fridge did you make too much for dinner? I always do we always have leftovers. We use them for lunches or they get remade into another meal in another form or ...we have leftover night. not very glamorous not pretty not Hollywood but that is OK 3 days worth of leftovers can feed my family and everyone gets what they like and my fridge gets cleaned out ..great deal saves money saves time and no waste.

The hard part about reusing is sometimes it can conflict with the next thing


What conflict in the 3Rs???

Well in my twisted mind yes

Here is how. If you like to reuse things eventually you collect a lot of things you have all these things sitting around taking up space and the stuff takes now it is time to reduce your stuff reducing your stuff makes you appreciate the stuff you have more it saves you money it saves you time it saves you energy and it saves

your sanity.

How we reduce our stuff and our energy consumption

Oh there are so many ways that many people know of

Goodwill or any number of stores will accept donations of your stuff and they will also sell you someone else's stuff Goodwill is a Godsend to people with large families like me.

E-bay another great place to buy or get rid of anything

Have a rummage sale or rent a table at a flea market both great ways to get rid of things and have yourself a nice weekend of sitting around waiting for people to pay you for your stuff then like in those clean sweep shows haul everyone left over off to the local charity Goodwill

Another one I absolutely adore is

Free cycle I cannot tell you how much I love free cycle I have gotten rid of tons of things and I have also had the good fortune that during a time of great need someone came to my aide

A few months ago our washing machine died

GASP how does a family of 7 survive without a washing machine ..well Dave would take garbage bags of clothes to work and wash them at the local laundry mat it cost us a fortune!

I put a holler out on Free cycle and another family had a super capacity washer that worked but was a little too noisy for them Dave picked it up and brought it home and that thing is AWESOME

This one is so radical I don't know if I can say it


Sorry that was ridiculous.... Americans super consumers stop shopping??

Ok I will bring that one down a few pegs how about this

Shop smarter

Make a list

Make a menu

Stick to it have options for days when you might run out of time Simple fast things like Sandwiches or my families favorite pizzas

These things I know sound so simple to someone who does them, but to someone who does not do them they end up running and running back and forth to the store to get small items they forgot to pick up the last time they ran to the store. It is so hard to change habits even when you know better trust me if anyone knows how hard it is to break bad habits it is me. no matter how much my brilliant mind tells me do this the rest of my lazy self says "do I haaaaave to?"

basically I figure out how much money I have for 2 weeks I then check to see what extras I have (cans of soup meat in the freezer etc) then I think about what I have going on that week..

I do not for example want to promise my boys fresh bread on say a night when we have conferences at the school that is a grab a sandwich night.

Then what do I want to eat. do I want spaghetti and meatballs again or something unique what do I have a taste for..

then make the list of things you want to eat write down what it takes to make those things then check your pantry and fridge for items you need cross off what you have and add to your shopping list what you NEED to buy

That system works for me

Reduce your electricity there are so many ways to do this CFLs (which Dave hates btw but he tolerates them because this is for Zach and me and he likes to save money too)

What about your fridge? do you have more than one fridge? do you have a deep freezer? do you really NEED all of those

WE have in our house 2 refrigerators with freezers attached and one large upright freezer we got rid of the chest freezer...OK OK it is sitting in the driveway waiting for someone to give us a couple bucks on it. Yes reread that again I said I have 2 full refridgerators and 2 huge freezers WOW

We have in the last month gone down to one fridge/freezer turning off those other two appliances.

And the result is still waiting to be tallied because I have not yet gotten my electric bill for the month !!!!

Those are a few simple small ways that someone can change how they do things to something that is still workable with your family and can save not only energy but money as well. I REALLY recommend shopping used stores for clothing especially for little children who grow so fast and who also are hard on clothes! Kids do not know about clothing labels or name brands unless they are taught about these things. and I bet that most kids would rather when heading off to college have a little money to pay for it than have spent thier childhood wearing only name brand things.

I know it is all the rage now to not only go green but to buy and use sustainable fabrics and earth friendly grown materials is my question

where do you think all that other stuff that has already been made is going to go??

1 comment:

Grayland said...

Hi Sue,

I love your blog!!!

I also love the milk jug lamp. I would love to make one. How is is made?

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