Friday, September 1, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Two



Welcome back! How did you go with Day One of Sustainable September... Reduce? Did you get to refuse something that you would have normally accepted then thrown out? It is amazing how much we almost unconciously accept into our homes and lives that ultimately goes to the trash.

Before i go on to tomorrows Kindness idea (I always do a day ahead to todays post is for tomorrow)... i wanted to share a catchy tune by Jack Johnson called "The Three R's". It should help get us in the mood.

It is a bit cute but it has some awesome ideas in it too. Which brings me to Day two's idea...

Sustainable September Day Two: Reuse.

Today I will cover some ideas for ‘reuse’. Mend shoes & clothes, reuse glass jars for storage, take a look at minimizing what you buy and “shop your closet” rather than go to the shopping center/Mall.

Reusing what we let into our lives is a wonderful way of helping the environment.

CONTAINERS – When I go food shopping one of the first things I look at is what is the thing I am buying packaged in. I tend to avoid it if it is soft plastics or unrecyclable materials. Instead I look for glass, fabric or compostable materials.

It means I buy glass bottles of water (if I can’t refill my own reusable water bottles), then I can reuse those bottles to store a range of things, depending on the “mouth” of the bottle what I can fit in them after they have been consumed. It means that I buy glass bottles of sauces for the house instead of buying plastic because I can make my own sauce and refill the glass containers later.

I buy rice for the family in fabric bags (5kgs) and reuse the bags in the laundry as bags for my delicates. That is until the zip on them breaks and then I make other things out of the bags. Or if they are really falling a part, because they are made of cotton, I throw the bag bits into the compost.

I buy some things that are wrapped in paper because it means that I can throw the paper into the compost once I am finished with it, thus it becomes food for worms.

Our family buys toilet paper that is wrapped in pretty paper that can be used for craft or art projects. Alternatively It can be used as wrapping paper too. The type of toilet paper we buy called “Who Gives a Crap” makes sure their toilet paper is in pretty paper so that it can be reused for a range of differnt things (it even comes with fun things to read on the paper wrapper).

REPAIR FOR REUSE – One of these things for my family recently was getting my mums sewing scissors sharpened. Someone had used the scissors on something other than fabric (heaven forbid) and they had been ruined because of it. Instead of going out and getting these scissors replaced, we got them repaired, or in this case… sharpened. The lady who did the job was a local and the scissors work like new now. If we had of just thrown them out then these scissors would have ended up in landfill. Now we have prevented one thing from ending up in landfill, by repairing it. Reuse can be as simple as that.

I have also gotten a few pairs of shoes re-soled. In one case I got some straps repaired on a pair of nude wedge shoes before I donated them to charity. If I hadn’t have they would have ended up in the rubbish bin, and eventually landfill when all they needed was 5 minutes and $10 worth of repairs. plus now someone else gets to enjoy these awesome shoes (kindness right there).

I recently took a few pairs of shoes (including my UGG boots) to the cobbler to see if I could get them repaired but I had left it too long, and now they can not be repaired or even have their soles be replaced. Bummer dude.

However, what I have done Is ‘repair’ them myself. It is amazing what a bit of Gaffa/Electrical tape and a sewing needle can achieve when it is something that is just for around the house in the first place. My UGG boots are still mostly together regardless of the fact that they are coming apart between the sole and the top of the shoe… so I will keep reusing them until they completely fall apart. Then I should be able to compost the top of the UGG boot (by then they will be separated anyway) because it is sheepskin, and then I will just have the synthetic sole to throw away or maybe repurpose.

Possibly my biggest 'repair' project is my Wingback Chair. Last year, I wrote about how i had found this chair by the side of the road. 

Someone was giving it away for free or it would have ended up in landfill. So i decided i wanted to re-upholster it. I watched a LOT of videos on how to do it, so i knew i had to be an expert! right? Wrong! I started dismantling the thing, only to realise I was in well over my head. I had to ask myself what kind of crazy thing i had gotten myself into. But i havent given up!!!

I now go to Traditional Upholstery classes to learn how to actually put furniture pieces, like my wing back chair, back together! So that these pieces of furniture last a really long time. My chair is slowly progressing.

I had to add more woodwork, but now I have webbing on the seat, 9 springs (last time it was only foam), string holding the springs on, I am currently attaching the strapping for the back of the chair... other than that it looks really naked! hehehe.

I am going to classes run at the local community centre. I am loving it. I have made friends with people from different age groups and back grounds. I am learning from each person in my class and teaching them about my interests too, all whilst putting my amazing chair back together. Some of the Wingback chairs that i could have bought, as is, in the shops cost from $250 (at IKEA) to $3500 (at a 'fancy' store). So even if i consider all the money its cost me for classes, wood work, springs and supplies im still under my costs for a chair like mine. When its finished that is! Plus I am learning new skills all the time and that, to me, is invaluable. AND it helps me learn how furniture was put together in older times, which i am sure will help me with my archaeology at some point in the future!

SLOW FASHION: In the coming month I will be talking about Slow vs Fast Fashion. Perhaps I am doing this out of order when it comes to discussing “Slow Fashion” first before talking about the problems with Fast Fashion but slow fashion fits under todays theme. So please bare with me.

Slow fashion is the deliberate use of quality clothing that will last for a long time, rather than buying into what is ‘hip’ and ‘with it’ now (& I know I am showing my age now with comments like that). It is choosing to use what you have already got in your closet in new and interesting ways instead of going to buy a new clothing item.

One idea I really love about slow fashion, is “shopping your closet”. This can mean choosing to wear something that you do not usually wear to see if it suit you and if you really don’t like it asking why it is in the closet in the first place, then donating it or giving it to a friend. It can be as simple as  using accessories to dress up or dress down an outfit. Using what you already have to reduce the amount of clothing going to landfill. And yes, a lot of clothing goes to landfill.

Reusing clothing could also mean turning some of it into ‘rags’ to replace paper towel or cleaning clothes. You could get very creative with how you use your old clothing. If it is made out of 100% wool, 100% Cotton, or 100% bamboo it can even end up in your compost bin when it is holy. So if you must buy, choose second hand first. Choose from op-shops, eBay or a huge range of second hand shops available around the world. And if really you must buy new, choose clothing that can possibly be reused and then composted at the end of its life.

FINALLY: There are a range of other ways tat you can ‘reuse’ too. You can reuse water in your garden from showers and washing machines. You can do this by adding a grey water system to your garden. For showers keep a bucket or two in the bottom of your shower for use on the garden. For washing your clothes what we used to do was have the washing machine drain the grey water into the trough next to the machine. Then we would manually fill up buckets from the trough and walk it out to water the garden with it. Just make sure you are aware of what kind of cleaners you use on your clothes and yourself and if those cleaners will hurt or help your plants.

You can reuse any manner of things. Upcycling is one way that this ‘reusing’ idea can work for you.

I really love upcycling stuff. Whether its turning old sheer curtains into produce bags (so you don’t need bring home plastic), or its creating furniture out of wooden pallets... there are so many possibilities and ideas. I have a huge range of Pinterest Boards on how you can reuse an item by giving it a new life and purpose.

For Upcycling ideas check out my Pinterest boards:

So check these out and when it comes to the last day of the month when I will be talking bout Op-Shopping and Upcycling, you might have the perfect project in mind for that day! 

If you have any specific project you are interested in or need help finding ideas for, let me know, I can always help with the research! I am a little addicted to Pinterest and love looking for things ideas.

ACTIVITY: Go through your rubbish bin and ask this one question: Is there anything in there that could be given a second life?

I hope this finds you well.

Love Daena x

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