Don’t Throw That Away!
The less we throw into the landfills, the more our earth thanks us. If your mission at home is to live as green a life as possible, you should be growing your own food, recycling, eating local organic foods, and buying items that have environmental responsibility attached to them. It also means you should actively reduce the amount of waste your family creates.
Now, we aren’t advocating that you turn your green family into a hoarding family. We believe in keeping a clean house, and we definitely advocate for big seasonal cleaning projects to spruce up the home. We also aren’t asking you to slow your recycling – it’s just that reusing is often GREENER than recycling.
So, as you begin to prepare your home for fall, winter, and big seasonal events, we want show you what you can keep OUT of the garbage can, complete with tips on the waste you can upcycle into green decorations and crafts.
1) Toilet Paper Rolls
Have you seen what kids can do with Toilet Paper rolls? They make kaleidoscopes, jewelry, submarines for their dolls, or tape them together to build amazing castles! Check in with your child’s school to see if any classrooms are collecting Toilet Paper Rolls for projects, and if you don’t have children, ask your friends who do.
2) Wine Bottles
Attention vino imbibers! We recommend pulling those empty wine bottles from the recycling bins (they better NOT have been in the trash can!), soaking them in hot soapy water to remove the label, and using them for water decanters. They make an attractive alternative to your boring and normal pitcher, as they’re great for parties, as they eliminate the need to purchase lots of small water bottles.
3) Fireplace Ash
Don’t toss your wood ash into the trash! The stuff is High in potassium, so use it in your garden to aid the soil. Just don’t toss it on anything. Since wood ash will raise the pH of your soil, only place it around the base of plants like rhododendrons, azaleas, parsley, potatoes and fruit trees.
4) Egg Cartons
Since your kids always need fun projects at home, have them fill used egg cartons with potting soil and plant seeds in them. Place them in a bright windowsill, and keep the soil moist until you see little seedlings appear. It’s best to use cardboard, so that when the seeds have sprouted, you can plant them into the soil in whole. The cardboard will breakdown, and dissolve into the Earth over time.
5) Vegetable and Fruit Scraps
One of the easiest ways to keep your waste levels low is by converting your vegetable and fruit scraps into what gardeners call black gold, courtesy of composting! Create a compost area in a secure part of your yard (or purchase a small compost bin, if you live in an apartment or just want to try composting). Layer your food scraps with other carbon waste, like pine needles, grass clippings, or dead leaves, and keep your compost pile moist. Be sure and turn it every few weeks, and over time, your food waste will turn into rich materials your garden will adore.
6) Jars for Pasta Sauce, Salsa, and Jam
Soak these glass jars in hot soapy water to remove their labels, and turn them into either vases or candle holders. As a fun project for both kids and adults alike, take colorful tissue paper, rip them into little pieces, and using a clear decoupage material like Modge Podge, lacquer the surface of the jar while adding those little bits of paper all over. You are basically making a collage on the jar. What results is a beautiful stained glass type effect, and when a candle is placed inside after drying, it illuminates the colors of the paper beautifully.
Do you have any suggestions for items you can re-purpose as green decorations or crafts – instead of just tossing it in the trash? Share with us in the comments!