This year I've been enjoying Cheri's Year of Kindness Challenges - weekly challenges to include kindness in our lives. Last week Cheri encouraged us to Recycle and this week she encourages us to Upcycle as a way to be kind to Mother Earth. I have to admit that no one is going to mistake me for a tree hugger or claim that I live a totally green lifestyle. However I do make an effort to be responsible. Here are a few examples of what I do to help conserve our natural resources (and the things I just haven't given up yet that a more environmentally conscious person might frown upon).
*I take reusable canvas shopping bags to the grocery store (& Target because they give a 5 cent discount).
*When I do bring home plastic shopping bags, I use those for trash bags rather than throwing them out & purchasing more bags to collect the trash.
*I recycle daily - it's very easy here because we have curbside recycling. All we do is throw all our recyclables (papers, plastics, glass, metals) into one large container that's emptied every other week.
*I turn the water off while I'm brushing my teeth, yet I still take a bath in my nice big jetted tub most evenings.
*I print out things that I want to read, even though I don't plan on keeping them, however I do print on both sides of the paper and then make sure the papers end up in the recycle bin.
*I don’t drive a fuel efficient car, but I do consolidate errands.
*I rarely buy second-hand clothes, but I do donate my used clothes to a local community outreach along with any other household items that someone else may be able to use.
*However, I don’t donate our T-shirts . . . because we typically wear them ‘til they're faded or stained. At that point, we use them for painting and work shirts until they become too worn to wear. Then I cut them up to use as rags.
*We have a compost pile, although we haven't used it in a few years.
*We use a mulching blade on the lawnmower and purchase special paper bags for any other yard waste (limbs, leaves). The city picks these bags up separately and turns it all into mulch, which is available to residents.
This week Cheri encouraged us to share a favorite upcycled project. A couple of years ago as I was going through some of Robbie's memorabilia boxes, I found his high school senior t-shirt. I still have my senior t-shirt, too, so I pulled them both out knowing that I wanted to find a way to display them together. I finally decided that turning them into pillows would be a good way to make them into something useful and be a FUN way to keep them out on display. Of course, there was a problem . . . I don't really sew and had no idea of exactly what to do. However, I knew someone who could help me! I called on my friend Ellyn who went shopping with me to pick out pillow forms and border material for one pillow . . . and then she took it all home and turned those t-shirts into these pillows!
Of course, I also do a good bit of upcycling in my crafting. And this past weekend during Jennifer's Refresh Your Craft & Soul event, I discovered this idea for turning an old book into a pen holder - I really want to try this, but think I'll fill my holder with a collection of bookmarks.
Please share in the comments any other ways you recycle or upcycle.