Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Save Green By Going Green: Part II: Reuse, Recycle!

I know, I know- on Monday I said this would be a three part series, but I decided to combine the reuse-recycle part because 1) I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday and 2) I found it really difficult to separate them into two different topics, because they are so similar! So today I will finish off this Earth Day series with everything I didn't cover last time. :-)

First, let me introduce you to our garden! The photo above is of our backyard garden area. The tree in the foreground is our apple tree, which is awesome to have in the backyard because the kids can have a snack whenever they want it while they're playing outside- they just pluck an apple from the tree! Right behind that are our two garden boxes that my husband built a few weeks ago. They are filled with free mulch from the dump and purchased compost. We're just trying boxes for the first time this year, so we're going to give it a shot and see how it goes.

Just behind the boxes you can kind of see a leafy plant sticking up- that's actually our grapevine, which I have been convinced every year that we've killed off, yet it keeps coming back and last year it actually produced grapes! This year we're going to nurture it and support it properly and hopefully be able to enjoy its bounty.

That large brown square in the back is our corn "plot." My husband got a little overzealous with the tiller and made something more like a cornfield, but I told him that as long as he takes care of it and does the work, he can grow as much corn as he'd like. I am tempted to buy him a straw hat and overalls, though...

Here are our little seedlings poking up from their minature greenhouse on our kitchen table ($6 at Wal-Mart for the just-add-water peat pots and tray with cover):

The cucumbers are raring to go; the tomatoes are a little more hesitant, but coming; the watermelons are following close behind, and the peas and peppers are still sound asleep. But it's been really fun to watch them grow practically before our very eyes- it seems every time I look, something else has sprung up! And we just started these this past week! We also have a few marigolds starting to help with pest control (natural bug repellants).

Now, on to the topic for the day! Reuse, recycle!

1. Gardening
- Grow a home vegetable garden, and make your own compost with kitchen scraps and other organic waste.
- Save money by using natural fertilizers from your own kitchen rather than purchasing pricey manufactured ones, and growing your own tasty veggies rather than buying them from the store.
- Save the planet by keeping organic waste out of plastic trash bags (where it will take much longer to decompose) and out of landfills
- BONUS: fresh homegrown vegetables are SO much tastier than store-bought, and using compost is less toxic than manufactred chemical fertilizers

2. Home products
- Make your own cleaning products- go here for recipes.
- Save money by mixing simple natural ingredients that cost a fraction of what a manufactured chemical cleaner costs
- Save the planet by reusing spray bottles, rather than continually tossing them and buying new ones, and using non-toxic formulas
- BONUS: non-toxic formulas are healthier for you and your home!

3. Freecycle
- Join a Freecycle group in your community to pass on items that you might otherwise throw away, like old magazines, containers, broken items, etc. One man's trash is another man's treasure!
- Save money by finding great items for FREE!
- Save the planet by keeping items out of landfills and giving them a longer life
- BONUS: You can easily declutter your home and have the joy of blessing someone else with your stuff!

4. Recycle (duh)
- Contact your county to obtain a recycling bin and set up a pickup time, or to find locations where you can drop off your recycling
- Save money by using less trash bags- recyclables go in the recycling bin, which means your garbage bags won't fill up as quickly (every little bit helps!)
- Save the planet by RECYCLING! (you know how that works) ;-)

5. Foaming soap
- Reuse your empty foaming soap pump dispenser and make your own foaming soap solution by adding 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and filling up the rest of the container with warm water. Screw on the lid and shake.
- Save money by not having to buy more soap
- Save the planet by reusing your dispenser and keeping it out of a landfill, and using less liquid soap.
- BONUS: You can enjoy your favorite scented soap, even if it's not usually available in a foam!

6. Get creative
- Save your old containers and other items to "dress up", repurpose old magazines toilet paper tubes, styrofoam, and other clean cardboard and plastic waste for use in kids' art projects.
- Save money by making your own cool artsy stuff, and not having to buy art supplies for the kids.
- Save the planet by keeping the stuff out of landfills.
- BONUS: Creative outlets are great for people of all ages!

Here are a few of my "dressed up" items- first, a time capsule for Princess's first birthday. I used an old #10 can which I cleaned out, spruced up with paper and embellishments, and filled with photos and decorations from her party, plus notes from friends and family. She will have the pleasure of opening it on her 16th birthday.

This is an old board book that I turned into a scrapbook using our family's state fair photos:

First, I sanded down the pages, then I cut decorative paper down to size and adhered it to the pages with spray adhesive:

Here is one of the finished layouts:

Also, check out my post here for a fun idea on what to do with old home decorating magazines!

I hope you have enjoyed this very lengthy post on this very special Earth Day, and I encourage you to leave a comment and share your own ideas on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle! Every little bit helps!

1 comment:

  1. Your garden area looks great. We started a few plants this week, too.

    I love your board book idea. So cute!


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