I think every year I have blogged I have meant to do a special Earth Day post and I botch it up every time. I went through most of today thinking it was Thursday and I therefore had another day to get my post together. Well, that wasn't right. So, here I am at one hour 'til midnight trying to get this posted in time. I'm such a goober sometimes. Sorry for the lack of photos too. Would have been nice considering the post material but my computer is in the shop for a few days so I am posting off Jack's laptop and it will not accept the card from my camera, so, photos later I'm afraid.
Anyway, I know there are tons of better blogs out there for information of recycling and reducing our impact on the earth but I just wanted to write a little about what I do. I'm sure most of it you've heard before but there might be a little new info and ideas in there. Plus, I usually write about building and creating but I advertise my blog as being 'green', so I thought I should write a little about my efforts there.
We all know the mantra of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse and of course, ya'll know I try to use salvaged and recycled building material whenever possible. I do also try to apply these principles to everyday activities too.
Mainly, my big goal lately has just been to Reduce my dependence on many things so that I don't have much to Recycle or Reuse. Reducing my dependence on store bought things also isolates me from problems when there are shortages in the stores or price hikes, like with gas. Being able to work at home has greatly reduced the amount of fuel I go through. My truck often sits for several days without being cranked. Of course, this saves me lots of money and I am fortunate that I am able to do this. I know most people cannot work at home but I think lots of us could find ways to reduce our gas usage and many people are finding ways to work closer to home.
I am also working on reducing as much of our garbage as I can, whether or not it can be recycled. As soon as I am able to produce a decent tomato harvest I hope to start canning my own sauces and salsas, etc. thereby reducing having to buy these items and discard or reuse the containers. We have recycling in our area but not much for glass, therefore, when I do have to buy a glass container I try to make it one that I know I would like to use for storage later. For example, I get jars that are a good size for storing broths and juices in the refrigerator, dried foods and herbs in the pantry or homemade dressings. I use small yogurt cups for potting seedlings and reuse all of the ones from buying plants. I wash and reuse all Ziploc baggies. I don't use as many as I used to because I'm not on a construction site anymore (we could not bring glass onto a site) but I still use some. This freaked Jack out at first but he has gotten used to it. It amazes me so many people will throw them away after just one use. They are throwing away money to me. We save some cans or jars for holding nails and screws and such. I use cloth napkins but I must admit, I have not succumbed to using cloth toilet paper. And I don't know that I ever will. I'm not convinced that the energy expended washing that much cloth is actually less than the energy expended to create a roll of toilet paper and you can get toilet paper made from recycled sources so no new trees are chopped. Also, I just don't buy stuff that comes in layers of packaging. Another good thing about buying a side of local beef; it comes only in freezer paper. None of those nasty Styrofoam trays. Any paper or cardboard that does come in packaging and mailings is recycled, used for firestarting (if not shiny) or composted if plain. Did you know you can also compost wine bottle corks?
Of course, anything I don't reuse I recycle. I have bins in the pantry and on a day when I am going to Birmingham anyway I drop off my recyclables. This is usually steel, #1 and #2 plastics and maybe some paper. Also, there is a small family in the area that collects scrap metal for their living and anytime I have any metal besides cans, like an old lawnmower or such, I take it to them. Let me tell you, they strip that thing down to nothing and sort all the different metals out, selling it for scrap. This helps me and them.
Besides reusing containers I also try to reuse clothing. If I don't want it anymore I either take it to Goodwill or maybe sell it in a yard sale. If it's not good enough for that I tear it up for rags. You can always use rags. It can be stuffing for a pet's bed too. You can make rugs out of Denim or sacks for storing supplies. Old pantyhose are great for tying plants up with, like tomatoes. Just cut them into strips. The pantyhose that is. Lots of crafty people make neat purses or backpacks out of old jeans.
Well, this post is getting long and I could go on and on but you get the idea. Mainly, I just try to think, 'do I need this or can I use this for something else?' before buying or throwing anything away. And ya'll know I'm a bit of a neat freak so I'm not the hoarder type that has a packed house of crap I never use. It gets used or it gets gone!
All these habits help me reduce my impact on the environment, although I know I could do much more (and am trying) but they also save me money!!
Do ya'll have any cool ideas for reusing everyday items that I did not mention?