There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:
Last week we took a look at our trash bin and challenged ourselves to find alternate uses for the stuff we typically toss out. This is one of those activities which, in my opinion, needs to be revisited from time to time because it's very easy to throw things away ... easier than walking to the compost bin ... or sorting out recyclables ... or upcycling items into something new and usable. Even giving stuff away, something which we'd think is simple, can be a hassle. So while this challenge seemed easy enough, it turns out that it required thought and action.
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:
Welcome back to EcoGrrl ... it sounds like you had a great vacation. EcoGrrl shared this, " Hola! I'm back from holiday in Oz and happy to comment on this one! Ironically, when I was WWOOF'ing down under, my host asked me, as one of my projects, to separate out the treated vs untreated wood. Her idea was that we'd use the untreated for firewood, and scrap the rest. But I stopped her and said hey, can't we build some stuff out of the good pieces of treated wood? And she jumped at my ideas, one to build a small fence to keep her dogs out of an area of the garden (http://ecogrrl.net/2013/02/26/where-i-be-chillin-part-four/), and the other to paint pretty signs to welcome new WWOOFers to the garden (http://ecogrrl.net/2013/03/04/where-i-be-chillin-part-eight/). I love reusing stuff in my own garden at home as well, where I've build all of my wooden raised beds in my side yard out of scrap wood (https://ecogrrl.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/proceserv1.jpeg) - function over form, yeah baby!"
Argentum Vulgaris embraced this challenge. In Change the World Wednesday – 6th Mar you'll find out what he does with his trash. He also talks about the "blonde bimbo". Uh-Oh!
Valerie accepted the challenge and said that she's going to peruse Pinterest to get some ideas for upcycling cans and milk cartons. How'd that go, Valerie? Did you come up with any good ideas?
Alicia left us some wonderful tips and ideas in her comment: " This challenge has come at a good time since we have just been doing some "Spring Cleaning". Sometimes cleaning like this can be a real eye opener! We have several lamps that have just been taking up room not being used. Instead of donating them and buying new ones I am going to get some Eco Friendly non toxic paint and freshen them up. It will be like having new lamps with my own custom colors. I found some nice lightweight curtains that I don't plan on using so I am going to make reusable shopping bags out of them. I always like having extra bags so that I can share with other people. I also found some old wool sweaters which I was really excited about. I am going to be able to make lots of wool dryer balls with them. They eliminate the use of fabric softener and decrease drying time by at least 30%. I am embarrassed to say I found a whole lot of those magazines that you get at the health food stores and at Whole Foods. They have so much good information in them. I always have such good intentions of reading them but a lot of times that doesn't happen. I am going to take them to be recycled but have made the decision to see if they are available to look at on line and do that instead. We have quite a few plastic pots from flowers and herbs that we bought this past year to plant in our garden.We try real hard to only buy plants that are in peat pots. That way plant and pot can be planted. They will be taken to be recycled as well but We are going to plant some of our own seeds this year that way we can eliminate those kinds of pots. I took clothes to be donated and what do you know I found two "new" tops for myself while I was there. Win win situation there!! I could go on and on with this challenge as you might can tell. I love cleaning out things that we aren't using and getting organized is such a great feeling. Just put your imagination to work before you throw something away. It can be amazing what you might come up with!!"
Mrs. Green is a Zero-Waste Diva (she accumulated just one bin of waste in an entire year) ... so I thought that perhaps she'd pass on this challenge because she's already made it a part of her life. However ... in this POST she talks about why she's accepting it and how she'll hold herself accountable. Could you do what she's doing?
Some people recycle ... some reuse ... and then there are folks, like Lois, who get Creative (with a capital "C") and take upcycling to new heights. In Change The World Wednesday With A New Toy you'll see what she did with a plastic bottle, some pens, an egg carton and a furniture bolt. All I can say is "WOW". And by the way ... guess who brought Lois some of these materials? Nope ... I won't tell ... you'll have to go and find out!
CelloMom couldn't accept this challenge. Nope! Want to know why? She accepted last year's zero-waste challenge and is still working at it. WhooHoo! Here's what she had to say, " I do remember last year's Zero Waste challenge. Boy, do I remember it: I'm still in it. Not that we're at zero, far from it, but we're down to about 50% from before we started the challenge: about 10 gallons a week. Now I have a new conundrum: our kitchen trash can is too large! So I need to find a good home for it, and find a smaller one that is preferrably not new." Nicely done, CelloMom! I'd suggest checking Freecycle for both a new home for your bin and finding a smaller one. Anyone else have ideas?
Using a little ingenuity, a little glue and some determination, Randy shows us how he went about Conserving Happiness by Gluing The Tree. Be sure to read the last line in the post ... I loved it!
Charlie offers us some motivation ... not only for this challenge but for all of them. Check it out HERE.
Developing a plan and getting organized is definitely more work than simply tossing stuff out but Kristina shows us just how rewarding it can be. Take a look at Think Before You Trash. Her results are awesome!
If you analyzed your trash, what would you find? Cat took a look at hers and shared this, "As always it is food wrapping that gets tossed out most in our home, I just don't get around that it seems. Interestingly though, I have eaten my first dishes from dumpster dived food this week. A student friend made potato bread from potatoes they found." Wow ... I'd love to hear more about that Cat. Anyone else tried dumpster diving?
Ann takes reducing trash "on the road". She has volunteered, at a local festival, to teach people about waste. Check out Save our world: Rubbish at a Festival to find out how things have changed in the years that she's been volunteering.
kmogilevski stopped by and says, "Love all of the reviews of soaps! Now I know which ones to look for and which ones to avoid. I also use natural soap on my hair - no more issues with dandruff or dry hair."
Scarlet dropped in and shared this, " Thanks for the linkback & the great list of reviews! :) "
Our Twitter friends joined the conversation ... here's what they had to say:
- Recipes I use are still available online! ... Recipes to Make Your Own Soap, Lotion & More: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/2007-08-01/Recipes-to-Make-Your-Own-Soap-Lotion-and-More.aspx#axzz2MjPGE7tQ
- This is the latest I've tried... A Recipe for Handmade Vegan Bar Soap: http://frugallysustainable.com/2012/08/a-recipe-for-handmade-vegan-bar-soap/
- "Alone we can do so little/together we can do so much": http://ow.ly/i/1D0P9
- Step outside your comfort zone and serve a cause larger than yourself. Something to think about today
- Thrown freezer bag that had had salmon in. Can't be reused/recycled. But I could buy big salmon & cut it up saving money & packaging
- thrown away the snick from the lemon juice bottle and the plastic from the top of the soy sauce.
- Thrown away bag from packet of malteasers. To prevent this next time I will buy a big box of them as the cardboard can be recycled.
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:
My Final Thoughts:
How would you feel about building your home on top of a landfill? How about letting your kids play in a park which sits on top of waste? Would you plant a vegetable garden in soil which contained chemicals from a nearby trash site? It all sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But that fact is that our waste doesn't biodegrade ... that process requires air and sunlight which aren't a part of the anaerobic conditions in a landfill. With populations growing and the constant accumulation of "stuff", trash sites fill rapidly and then the search is on for new sites. The fact is that at some point we won't have any more room for them. It's quite possible that in the near future our homes and community areas will sit atop a pile of junk. Or, we can change the way we do things ... we can stop acquiring so much, reuse and recycle. Which will you choose?
Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.
This Week's Challenge:
Last August, CelloMom suggested that we find a way to eat local produce throughout the winter months (you can read that challenge HERE). Now that we're moving into spring, it's the perfect time to come up with a strategy to ensure that we'll have local fruits and veggies next winter. Here you go ...
This week develop a strategy which will ensure that you and your family enjoy local produce next winter. Need some suggestions? Plan a garden with preserving in mind. Consider freezing, drying, canning, etc. and start gathering the items/tools you'll need to accomplish it (don't forget to check thrift stores, Freecycle, etc. for things like canning jars, dehydrators, and other items you might need). Visit your farmer's market and learn about the items which they'll have available and when they will arrive for purchase. If you are a member of a CSA, talk to the farmer about your goals and see how he/she can help. This week is all about planning with the goal of having local produce on your plate next winter.
Will join me in this challenge?
Please join me in our mantra ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!