Posts tagged ‘re-use’

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

the fixer

I was so encouraged by the spirit of this post about reusable bags, in part because it touched on my love of all things inherited.  Lucky for me, Tara[ “tar” (the road stuff) – “uh”], aka The Organic Sister, is way cool and allowed me to share her words with you.  Check out her story, I’m incredibly envious of her family’s up and coming adventure.

. . .

These canvas shopping bags are about 20 years old. They belonged to my mom; proof we’ve been living green before I even knew what it meant.

The average reusable bag has the lifespan of over seven hundred disposable plastic bags.

I love the fact they have lasted so long! Canvas shopping bags are the best; their durability is obvious. I’ve seen some reusable bags that were poorly made and had holes or broken handles within a year.

Repairing Vintage Grocery BagsThe red is even still bright!

Using canvas bags can save an average of 425 plastic bags per person, annually!

Our “vintage” bags (as the store clerk calls them) only recently broke a couple straps. We load them up pretty heavily and the stress started to show in two of the 8 bags’ handles.

Their canvas material makes them easy to repair: I just overlapped the two halfs of the broken handle by a few inches, and machine-sewed vertically and horizontally until it felt good and secure. Nothing fancy and it shortened the handles a bit but it extended their use at least another decade!

An estimated one million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting discarded plastic bags which block their digestive tracks.

Other than some day owning family heirloom bags, want some more interesting reasons to switch to reusable bags? Click here:

Go Reusable Bags!

. . .

Yeah, hey, hey
When somethings dark, let me shed a little light on it
When somethings cold, let me put a little fire on it
If somethings old, I wanna put a bit of shine on it
When somethings gone, I wanna fight to get it back again

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, fight to get it back again
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

When somethings broke, I wanna put a bit of fixin on it
When somethings bored, I wanna put a little exciting on it
If somethings low, I wanna put a little high on it
When somethings lost, I wanna fight to get it back again

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, fight to get it back again
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

When signals cross, I wanna put a little straight on it
If there’s no love, I wanna try to love again

I’ll say your prayers, I’ll take your side
I’ll find us a way to make light
I’ll dig your grave, we’ll dance and sing
What’s saved could be one last lifetime

Hey, hey, hey
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, fight to get it back again
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Fight to get it back again, yeah, yeah, yeah
Fight to get it back again, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

A new favorite song of mine, fitting no?

Monday, October 26, 2009

hang in there

I know I went AWOL.  This past week has shown me the true challenges of having small children.  It’s them or this.  I’m sorry, I chose them.  I don’t get on the computer when Toddler L is at home unless he’s sleeping.  When he sleeps I need Baby S to be cooperative and either sleep or sit comfortably so I can work.  That didn’t happen this week. 

Someday I’ll figure out how to work in my sleep.

On a completely unrelated note, check out this idea…


I have always really liked the look of an eclectic grouping of pictures.  Now that grouping can be useful as well as beautiful.

Grab some thrift-store frames, fiberboard and lovely paper.

Cabinet knobs and pushpins hold necklaces and bracelets. Earrings dangle from lengths of ribbon hung horizontally across a frame.  Brooches and pins slide easily into a corkboard backed frame.

I’m thinking yes. 

Now if only I could get my hands on that gorgeous bag too.

via DIYIdeas

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

the wheels are spinning

I just read this article and it made my day better.  Not in a personal way, in a “good things are happening” kind of way.


Magnum D’Or Resources Inc. just bought this whole waste tire dump site in Hudson, Colorado.  They now own one-third of all waste tires in the U.S. and possibly the largest dump site in the world.  The great news is that:

Magnum uses a proprietary “GREEN’ technology that “provides a unique solution to all of the challenges in the disposal of stockpiles of scrap tires and rubber scrap,” company officials say.


All of these tires are going to find a better home.  What a great way to start the day.

via Twilight Earth

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

tin can alley

A soup can is good for so many things.


A necklace.


A telephone.

can soap

A soap dispenser?

Artist Jack Bresnahan created these useful lids for the everyday soup can.  Granted a can can (I love that dance) be a flower vase or a toothbrush holder without any help but sometimes a little design creativity makes it just that much more appealing.  And a little less Compact.  But at least they’re green.  Bresnahan designed his toppers out of biodegradeable plastic, giving the recycled tin can yet another life.  Or nine lives – as a vase, a soap dispenser, a sugar pourer, a toothbrush holder, a bank, a desk caddy or tea and coffee canisters.

The designer was quoted as saying ‘anything that ends up in landfill is simply poor design’.  I couldn’t agree more.

What else can a can do?  How about two cans?  (sorry, couldn’t resist)

can tea

can flower

can money

can pens

can sugar

can toothpaste

can plain

via Dezeen

Monday, August 24, 2009

fashion basics


If you have, or love, a little girl you simply must try this project.  I am exempt as I have boys but I sure think it’s fabulous.  The ingenious Ashley, at Make It and Love It, shows all it takes to have the cutest, simplest little skirt and leggings.  Two old t-shirts (your own or from a favorite thrift store – how Compact) and what looks to be a very short amount of time.

What little girl wouldn’t love this for the new school year?  I know I would, but I don’t think the sleeves would fit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

refuse re-use

A little must share.  Okay, not so little but a definite must share.  ReadyMade Magazine (a great mag and site for all you DIYers) has a a great article about how to beat the summer heat.

dumpster pool

Pool Party!

If you have access to an industrial dumpster (or 3) and a really big trash bag this could be a fun weekend project.  Personally, I have nowhere to keep my dumpster so I’m keeping my eyes out for any installations by Macro-Sea that pop up in my neighborhood.  If you’re in Brooklyn be sure to check out the test site and grab your towel.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

how green are you willing to go?

Gabrielle, over at Design Mom, took the plunge and went green.

And it’s gorgeous.


An old family piano that was in need of expensive restoration or replacement, both of which were out of the family’s budget, became a signature piece with just a little time and paint.

Unless your piece is a valuable antique don’t be afraid to get creative.  For the cost of a quart of paint (or less if you go Compact in how you acquire paint), you can be green, blue or cherry red.  Why replace, when you can re-do?

What can you add a little color too?

*I recommend low VOC paint for your projects.  Even if you’re not going green you can still be environmental about it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

friday forum

Another week with nothing to throw away.  I have to admit, I feel like I’m doing something wrong.  I mean really, if Kristen at The Frugal Girl (she’s the reason I tell you this each week) has waste how can I not?

I must not be cooking properly.  Or it’s because I don’t use fresh herbs.  They intimidate me.

I have a 2″ square of tofu that will be up next week if I don’t think of something to do with it fast.  Maybe an egg and tofu scramble this weekend could save me on that one.

I was also saved of some previously claimed waste.  That’s right, I’m reclaiming my waste.


ignore the moldy bread, it's the freezer burned chicken in the bag

The chicken in this photo is no longer waste.  Thanks to the great recommendations by Jonathan Bloom’s readers over at Wasted Food I will be using it for some soup in the near future.  Check out his post about my near wasted food and you will see what else I won’t be throwing away.  If you have something in the fridge or cupboard that you just don’t know what to do with, tell Jonathan.  He’s sharing our sad stories on his blog to help end the wasted food franchise.

Maybe between Jonathan and Kristen we will have to find something else to talk about on Fridays.


Oh wait, I have something else to talk about.


I was recently directed to check out Zero Waste Alliance.  Their thinking behind waste may be considered inovative by some, nothing new by others, and quite genius by me.

Waste is a resource in disguise.  It represents a failure of our processes and products and a loss of money.  We recommend that the entire concept of waste should be eliminated from our thinking and the word resource be substituted.

If only we could teach everyone to think of the object they hold in their hand when they think they are done with a product as a resource ready to be turned into something else instead of something to be gotten rid of by the quickest means possible.  (I know some of you already think this way [okay maybe not the run-on sentence part, or the parenthesis inside parenthesis part], this is directed at the people who will probably never read this blog unless they come across it while doing a search on Eddie Vedder and Twitter.  Hey, it happens.)

Zero Waste Alliance is doing just that.  In fact,

  • Interface, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia has eliminated over $165M in waste.
  • Xerox Corp., Rochester, New York has had a Waste-Free Factory environmental performance goal since the early 1990’s. The criteria include reductions in solid and hazardous waste, emissions, energy consumption and increase recycling. This program resulted in a savings of $45M in 1998.
  • Hewlett Packard in Roseville, California reduced its waste by 95% and saved $870,564 in 1998.
  • Epson in Portland, Oregon has reduced its waste to zero and has saved $300,000.

How cool is that?


Another cool thing that’s really taking off.  Have you noticed all the press The Story of Stuff has been getting recently?  Not only did The Huffington Post and NPR each do pieces this month but it made the front page of the New York Times.  (Actually, the HP and NPR pieces followed the release of the NYT story, but press is press right?)  If you’re not one of the 6 million that have seen this 20 minute look at all the stuff in our lives, you really must check it out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

freecycle is a time killer


I have posted about Freecycle in the past.  In theory, it is a truly wonderful idea/organization/site/tool.  But it isn’t always friendly to the newbie.

I’m a newbie.

Or a voyeur.  Or a lurker.

Okay, those sound bad.  Let’s just say I’ve been reading the posts but haven’t ventured into the free water yet.  I always read what’s wanted in case I have it to give.  Never have.  I responded to a couple of items that were offered, but didn’t get them. Then I tried to do a wanted post, that didn’t go so well either.  Apparently my local Freecycle groups have rules that you must offer something before you can ask for something.

Who made these rules?

I guess I can agree with them in theory but it’s really put a damper on my free-swapping.  When I first started the Compact I was fine with the idea of getting things in a more nontraditional manner.  But when I have to “sell” something before I can “buy” something I have issues.

I don’t have a lot of stuff to get rid of.  Yes, that’s a boast.  Many Compactors have taken their pledge as an opportunity to clear clutter.  Good for them.  I hate clutter.  I cleared most of my clutter years ago.  I’ve spent the last 4 years clearing my husband’s clutter.  Clutter gives me hives.

I know your thinking I must have stuff to get rid of if I have also spent the last several years buying things.  And you’re right.  But until this year I was the thrift store’s best friend.  At least twice  a year I would drop off whatever I had collected that just wasn’t needed anymore.  Clothes, shoes, bags, books, whatever.

Now I’m hip to the Free world.  When we cleaned the closets last month and had more clothes than some large families we donated them to the local mission.  But as it was the closets there wasn’t a lot there besides clothes.  Clothes closets.  Get it?  But I do have a small bag of things that didn’t end up at the mission ready to be set free.  (Tired of the corny yet?)  I just haven’t had taken the time to write up numerous posts for random shit stuff on the off chance other people may want it.

And I have needs.  In true Compact fashion I got the parts to fix a clock we already owned.  Okay, it wasn’t entirely Compact as I bought the parts.  But since they were pretty specific parts I didn’t have much faith I would find them on Freecycle.  Plus, pay attention, I can’t ask until I give.  I’m behind on the giving, so I gave to Michael’s art store instead.  Let’s not lose focus, the point here is I was fixing something instead of replacing it.  (Helpful tip: don’t change the time on a clock by forcing the hands around the face.  Or don’t let someone not familiar with that tip near said clocks at Daylight Savings Time.)

Where is this all going, you ask?  Can I get to a point?  Any point?  Soon?

Okay, okay.  The point is, my newly acquired clock parts require painting.  With spray paint.  I don’t have any spray paint.  I asked a group of friends if they had any spray paint.  Not a one did.  Who knew black spray paint was so hard to come by.  And here’s the kicker, I need about 3 spurts of it.  Less than it would take to paint a 3 inch square.

So now I have time on my hands.  I want my clock back but I’m not willing to buy paint.  And I could probably find some on Freecycle but I’m not allowed to ask.

What’s an even bigger waste of time?  The fact that I could have written all the posts I needed to get rid of my stuff in the amount of time I have spent typing this.  But then what would you read?  And sometimes complaining is good for the soul.  Okay, not really.  But that’s what I tell myself because sometimes I feel the need to complain.

If you feel the need to complain go ahead.  About Freecycle.  About me.  About whatever.  Feel free.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

the same, only different


Just when things were getting fun I left you hanging with only a penguin cartoon to keep you warm.  Sorry about that.  The family took a trip to Toronto to visit Gramma.  As much as I can’t disconnect when I’m home, take me on the road and I pretty much forget what a computer is.  But it doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about you my dear friends.  Every day we did things, I would think, “how can I write about this”?  So I’ve got some things saved up to entertain you with.  (Just pretend you’re entertained okay?  I have a sensitive ego.)

I’ll start by letting everyone know thrift shops in Canada are pretty much the same as in the States.  In case you were wondering.  And if you’re saying “duh”, I know; but my dear, sweet, very intelligent husband was convinced they would be noticeably different.  I’ll skip over the part about him being so excited to get to Toronto and go shopping.  It was a surreal moment.

Goodwill - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Goodwill - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

There were two things that were new to me though.  And this may just show my limited thrift store experience.  You can tell me for sure.  One things was finding this Goodwill tucked into the shopping mall right there with the other typical retail shops.  That felt strange.  Maybe it was just me.

The other thing were the thrift store auctions.  A number of the stores we visited were doing weekly auctions.  We stumbled upon one on Saturday.  For the most part, the items seemed to be the same as other thrift store items but somehow would garner a higher price.  I guess a model sailing ship could be tagged at $15, but if sold at auction would fetch a stellar $65.  Who knew.  Are these things common in your area?  Am I just missing the boat here?

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