Friday, September 11, 2009

Adding a new "R" to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Going back to yesterday’s post about going green, which I certainly have a lot to learn I admit, I have added an “R” to the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra. It somewhat falls under the “Reuse” concept, but is definitively a different use of the word. I think, as consumers, we think of “reuse” as using the same object again i.e. a reusable razor vs. a disposable; but “reuse” can also mean “re-purpose”. Re-purposing means that before you throughout an item that has finished its usefulness look it over to see what other uses it or parts of it may have. (You will, by the way, find this to be a great way to save some money. Here are just a few of the repurposes that we have around our house:

Composting – I do not adhere to the perfect mix, but instead just pile the green (grass), brown (leaves), and organic material (kitchen waste – vegetable scraps, egg shells, fruit rinds). Even our indoor container for compost is repurposed from its former life as a coffee can. The compost becomes lovely black gold for the garden and I reduce the amount and therefore the cost of my garbage.

Decorating – Old sheets have become curtains with a little needlework. Old jeans are becoming a rag rug. Old wood became my shoe stand.

Landscaping – DH and DS this weekend created a wonderful new fire pit and spent not a penny. Rocks were reclaimed from elsewhere in the yard and even the sand came from a leftover sand pit that must have sat under the old owner’s swing set. We have also begun to plan next year’s garden and have decided to use raised beds. I pulled from the backyard and old door frame that had been dumped in the woods. I think it will be perfect for at least a portion of the garden (and my wood’s are cleaner too).

Going green is about using fewer resources AND making those resources that we have go as far as we can. I would love to hear what you have done to Re-purpose items in your house.

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself,than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
from the chapter "Economy" in Walden