Reuse and repurposing: Our goal- Throwing less into dumps · Ryder Family Farm- Southern Illinois
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Reuse and repurposing: Our goal- Throwing less into dumps

Reuse and repurposing: Our goal- Throwing less into dumps

There are many ways to recycle, reuse and conserve from day to day. You just have to look at things differently. As I become more and more earth friendly I discover new ways to reporpose, reuse and recycle.
For me, a focus on repourposing and reuse has been what we’ve continued to expand on. Can you believe this family of 4 only fills a regular treash can with dump-bound trash about every 2-3 weeks?
We’ve dramatically reduced the about of stuff that is dump-bound by:
  1. Composting kitchen scraps or giving it to our rabbits & chickens.
  2. Hauling our own recycling to a recycling center once a month.
  3. Basing our buying choices partly on product packaging.
  4. Buying less throwaway stuff, spending less money.
  5. Reusing things like mad.

Since it’s earth day, I’d like to share some of what we’ve got going on here at home where reuse is concerned and I’d love for you to share what you having going too. The more ideas we compile the “greener” we’ll all be right?

Here, we try to find ways to reuse virtually everything instead of just throwing it away. I keep things like milk jugs, grocery bags, cardboard boxes, plastic kitty litter bins, beer/ wine bottles, corks/ bottle caps, baby food jars, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls and  much more. These items can be reused or can be manipulated to serve other purposes depending on your needs.

  • Use plastic detergent or kitty litter bins for planting or composting or just for storing things. We have various types of animal feed in these bins right now, we also have put gardening tools and even kids toys in them for storage.
  • Use old wine corks to make your very own cork board. These can be cuite cute too.  You an repurpose bottle caps by making a fun retro belt or use any number of these creative bottle cap ideas.
  • Use milk jugs for plant watering and liquid storage, use the top portion of a milk jug as a funnel and the bottom portion to plant in or just buy milk that isn’t coming in plastic containers and recycle/ compost the cardboard.
  • Grocery bags and cardboard boxes can be reused for several times. Every package we send is sent in a reused box, even with reused packing materials. 
  • We pay our bills electronically and still get paper bills. We don’t toss out those return envelopes inclosed in the bill, we have a whole container full of them and we reuse them when we need an envelope.
  • Cardboard egg cartons, cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls can be used to start seeds in. Then you just plant the cardboard in the dirt where it will break down and compost while the plant grows.
  • Glass baby food jars can be used to store small items like thumbtacks, paperclips, nails/ screws, dried herbs, seeds and much more!
  • Ditch the paper product and reuse your old clothes. Here I’ve turned old cotton clothes/ receiving blankets to clean up spills (aka paper towel replacements) and even as *gasp* “snot rags” for the kiddos. I’ve even made swiffer clothes from old shirts. We just wash them and reuse them till they fall apart. Then they go to the compost.
  • All the paper we use in our office printer has already been printed on the backside. 
  • Most kitchen waste is great for composting and replenishing garden soil. Things like coffee grounds, tea bags, vegetables, fruits, egg shells, paper towels and egg cartons can be composted and later added to garden soil. I set aside one of my old plastic kitty litter bins (with a lid of course) for all my chosen compost items.
  • Old window frames are perfect to repurpose! With glass intact you can build a “coldframe” for your garden with them. Frames with the glass removed can be lined with chicken wire and used to make a chicken or rabbit run. You could even make trellises for the garden with theses.

Other ways to get rid of or score great things for repurposing:

If you have old clothes, appliances, or any other reusable items you can always donate them to charity, goodwill or just give them away! As a last resort you can even set the items out next to or near the trash can with a note that says “free”. Anything is better than throwing them away…

-Visit http://www.freecycle.org/ if you are looking for stuff or if you have stuff to give away. Here in my town all you have to do is post what you have to get rid of and all the members of freecycle in your area will get emailed. If someone is interested they will contact you, you can set up a meeting or you can simply have them come to pick up the stuff you are giving away. It is super easy, convenient and best of all FREE!!

-Also http://craigslist.org/ is a great resource for getting or giving away stuff.

The majority of everyday household items can be either be recycled, reused, composed or given away to cut down on wastes. Try it, you will be surprised how much you really can cut down on wastes. A small change can make a big difference! Our trash can is the proof.

Now tell me, in what ways are you repurposing, recycling or reusing to cut wastes?


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