In common with many gardeners I am trying to do a little bit more each day to be more sustainable in my garden. My halo is definitely quite crooked and I still have a long way to go. But I am going.
The fact that I now reuse/recycle all of my toilet roll cores at home is now a cause of great pride for me. If you think that is a little pathetic, try holding on to all of yours for a month and see if they are a waste issue or not.
Then think of something to do with them that doesn’t involve them ending up in the waste or industrial recycling stream.
Lately I’ve been retaining as much as I can that looks like it might be re-purposed in some way from the rubbish and recycling bin. As I’ve mentioned before, our local council is pretty responsible when it comes to waste management. We have three separate bins supplied for rubbish, recycling and and green waste (with the rubbish bin being significantly smaller than the others).
I’ve also been fortunate to see what happens to some of the material that goes into the recycling bin (as a result of tagging along with one of my daughters school trips), so I can rest easy that it is recycled…not quitely deposited in landfill when no one is looking.
But it’s pretty common knowledge that industrial recycling takes energy and resources too, so anything kept out of the waste/recycling stream is a bonus.
Now, retaining ‘what looks like it might be useful’ brings me to my sore point.
It has highlighted for me that is still just too easy for me to throw things away without thinking. Holding on the waste confronts me with the very real issues of how to store it, what to do with it and how very much ‘stuff’ I have consumed without thinking. Did I mention how quickly it builds up?
Hopefully being confronted in a very real sense with this waste will encourage me to think a bit more about what I buy and reduce a lot of the surplus packaging and needless junk that we bring into the house.
The other part of the issue is that it’s all very well to hang on to something that ‘looks like it might be useful’, but I better find a real use for it damn quick or we are going to end up buried in the stuff…which might be quite fitting when you think about it.
So far the uses I have found for salvageable waste are as follows:
Kitchen vegetable scraps – ‘wormery’ and compost.
Toilet roll cores – plantable seed raising tubes and compost addition (thanks again to Barbara in Mannaheim Germany for this one – influence from the other side of the world!) If you are a bit grossed out by the idea of planting seeds in toilet roll tubes, throw them slightly crumpled in the compost, they break down quickly and help add pockets of air. Or get over being grossed out :p
Unpainted cardboard – compost additions, mulch underlay/weedmat.
Yogurt tubs – seedling planters…but I’m only going to ever need so may of these if I reuse them as much as I can. Many will end up in the recyling bin.
Clear plastic packaging trays (from biscuits, berries etc) – seed raising trays (thanks to Helen at Summerhouse Art Blog for this idea). But again I’m only ever going to need so many…
Cotton clothing – pass on for re-use via opp shop if in fit state, compost if not. Worms love cotton!
Newspapers – mulch underlay, compost.
The things I can’t find enough reuses for, or can’t recycle on site include…plastic bottles (dishwashing and clothes washing liquid ones along with milk and soft drink)
Colourful brochures and papers that sneak past the ‘no advertising material’ sign on the letterbox via inserts in the local paper still add up and end up in the recycling.
Colour printed cardboard boxes. Are the dyes used on these really so bad that I can’t throw them in my compost?
Plastic wrappers. OK, so these don’t even look useful for a second go at anything. Reduction is the key here and I need to confront my laziness in buying pre-packaged muesli bars for my daughter’s lunchbox.
So my challenge to you is to join in this gentle challenge with a serious purpose.
You can do this in three ways:
By offering a post with ideas of how you reuse or repurpose one or more household items that usually ends up in the waste stream or industrial recycling.
By offering a post with ideas for reducing the consumption that produces surplus waste. An example might be an easy recipe for me to use to make my own muesli bars or yougurt…saving on the mass produced packaging…which is petro-chemical in origin and worth pause for thought.
By offering a post where you set yourself a challenge to reduce repurpose or recycle at home one common waste item that you haven’t tackled to date.
My own challenge is to deal with the plastic bottles. The more I think about them the less I want so many of them in my life. I’ll update in a month to let you know where I’m at.
Although I had already started to draft this post before today, I offer it up with the fact it is World Enviroment Day tomorrow in mind. Reading the post ‘I Hate all of Us‘ by Benjamin at The Deep Middle moved me to finish it.
This is my way of reaching out to the blogosphere to say every last one of us can take a step today, whether it is our first, or one of many. Have hope and take action.
Link your post back here if you would like to (copy post link into reply for now) whenever you would like to. Pass on the challenge in your own way.