How to Look at Minimizing
Our Impact on the Environment
In a Different Way
RE-PURPOSING – Can re-purposing become a habit? Here are some ways you may want to try:
- fabric softener sheets – use them to gently clean the lint from the dryer screen, remove pet hairs from upholstery & clothing, sew to fabric applique pieces and turn to hide all the raw edges, place in shoes or drawers if there is still a bit of scent left….
- greeting cards – too beautiful to throw away so cut them up for gifts tags or postcards
- old CD’s – glue two together, add a bit of felt to the bottom and you have coasters!
- bread or other small bags – don’t buy any more bags for cleaning up after your pet, theses bags are perfect
- wet wipe or other similar canisters – put your ball of string in the canister and thread the end through the top
- roll on deodorant – remove the ball and clean container thoroughly. Use for liquid paint and give to the kids to have a ball. Just remember to store upside down so they don’t dry out
- lipstick odds and ends – everyone has bits of lipstick at the end of the tube. Dig it out, melt it down and add to a jar of lip balm for a wonderful lipgloss in your favourite colour
- plastic bottles – cut off the top for a quick funnel. Use the rest of the bottle for a quick mini greenhouse. Need a scoop? Plastic bottle can be quickly converted into scoops of many sizes to use indoors or out. My favourite use is to cut off the threaded part of the bottle, thread a plastic bag, for example bags from frozen vegetables, through the opening, spread the plastic evenly around the opening and screw the lid back on. No more searching for something to close the bag with and it won’t slip off in the freezer!
REUSE – ITEMS THAT ARE NO LONGER BEING USED BUT STILL HAVE USEAGE
- give usable items away, sell them or take to a Reuse Shed if you have one
- check packaging and give preference to those that have recycled material
- check labels to find items such as coat hangers, organizers, patio furniture, playground equipment and toys that are made from recycled plastic
- for cars, consider re-refined oil, retread tires, rebuilt parts and used vehicles
- gardeners, check labels to find hoses, planters and mulch for those that use recycled goods
- clothing also offers options as some running shoes, hiking books and clothing are recyclable
- home items include, door matts, roofing, wall board, paint, insulation, gutters, siding & flooring
- reducing paper is one of the biggest single things we can do and very easily. Say NO to junk mail. Use the internet – you can receive and pay bills online, view many things such as newspapers and magazines. Print only the portions that you really need
- buy only what you need and use what you buy
- consider the packaging and choose that which is recyclable
- avoid single serving containers. Buy a large size of juice and use in smaller, washable containers
- reuse plastic bags, bring groceries home in your arms or a few bags, use cloth bags regularily and return plasitic bags to the store
- buy bulk if possible to avoid packaging
- use durable items such as razor, do away with disposable razors
- use furniture longer and consider selling or giving away instead of placing in a landfill
- grow a garden, even on a patio, and compost whatever you can. Join the BCWI Container Garden Competition
- Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees. Hard to imagine! Then imagine a four foot stack of newspapers recycled saves one 40 foot tree. Paper takes up as much as 50% of all our landfill space
- up to 90% of recycled glass can be reused to make new bottles & jars. Every glass bottle that is recycled saves enough energy to run a 100 watt light bulb for 4 hours and recycling an aluminum can, can save enough energy to run your TV for 3 hours
- thirty-six recycled plastic bottles will make a square yard of carpet and recycling one milk jug saves enough energy to run that light bulb for 11 hours
Does this make you think a little?
The above report was written by Fay Van Horn, who is the Canadian Industries Environment Provincial Convener from Glenwood Women’s Institute in the Bulkley Tweedsmuir District.
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