I am a keen recycler, up cycler, repurposer and refashioner.
I find it impossible to part with so many everyday ‘things’ that some households probably just toss.
Everything from toilet rolls to cans,
from wrapping paper to breadtags.
On and on it goes....
So far, I have a shed and the largest room in our home dedicated to ‘crap’.
Is it crap though?
It got me thinking about why I keep it all.
I figure that if I throw it out,
I may miss out on the opportunity for it to be turned into something even better than it once was.
if we need something that we don't have, then we can make it ourselves, without buying new.
Much more eco friendly, creative and cheap.
most of the items that I could toss,
would no doubt be easily recycled and not end up in landfill, e.g. jars, toilet rolls, etc
I don't want you thinking we don't have general trash.
We do have our fair share of garbage waste that ends up at the dreaded dump.
Admittedly, it's not a huge amount.
We can go for about a month before our garbage is kinda half full.
I still wonder how many kilos all that is over a year though.
I am concentrating on the positive aspects here.
These are some example of what I have turned the saved 'crap' into?
- bread tags - attaching them to electrical cords and write the name of what they are linked to
- cans - turning them into outdoor lanterns, by punching nail holes in them, adding a wire handle and hanging them in our trees
- cans again - drilling a couple of holes in the bottom, adding soil and a succulent, adding a wire handle and hanging from the trees
- toilet rolls - adding cotton wool at the bottom, a seed, and placing them in a tray to grow
- toilet rolls again - placing them in a small letterbox and using them as dividers to hold pens & pencils upright, instead of rifling around for the one I need, in a disorganised heap [ obv. the letterbox is on our desk, not outside ;) ]
- jars - storing our food goods in here, instead of nasty plastic containers
- jars again - using as water and paint containers for craft days
- jars again - filling them with water and placing a water plant in there
- worn out table runners, tablecloths, linen - hanging over curtains to create a boho style window dressing
- tired old linen - cutting into fabric strips, then crocheting them into whatever your heart desires e.g. a festival vest, nesting bowls, mats, etc
- plastic bags - cutting into strips, joining them into a plarn ball, then crocheting them into cushions, drink bottle holders, etc
The list above only touches on a few of the things we repurpose.
If I had to write a list of everything, I'd be here for days.
NOTE TO YOU:
If you save and reuse crappy item,
what do you use them for, or turn them into?
If you have some innovative ideas,
why not add them into the comments section?!
As many things I have seen on Pinterest, heard about from friends, come up with ourselves, I have not heard probably half of them.
So, please ADD some below!!!
the reason I was writing this post, was about the different terms associated with recycling.
Before internet was my main source of communication and knowledge, I didn't know the difference between upcycling and repurposing, or recycling and refashioning.
I pretty much thought they were all in the one basket.
If I didn't throw something out and reused it, then it must be upcycling.
Or, as I came to hear alternative terms used over the years, I would use them interchangeably, e.g. refashion and repurpose.
How far I have come...
I know many people today, even eco-conscious warriors, who do all these great things with 'stuff', but aren't confident in the lingo associated with what they are doing.
I am going to accurately define many of the terms that are linked with recycling.
Miriam defines REFASHION as -
'to remake or alter'.
E.G. Jeans into a cushion cover.
The word 'refashion' apparently originated in 1628.
However, it was not related to the way we regard the term today.
More along the lines of, I will refashion that outdated proposal into a contemporary one.
The British Dictionary defines 'refashion' as - to give a new form to something.
This particular dictionary, states the origin of the word arrived in 1788, but once again, was not in alignment with the definition I am using it for today.
Lastly, the Oxford Dictionary defines 'refashion' as - to fashion something again or differently.
Personally, I like this one.
There is a great opportunity where Aussew has partnered with the Red Cross temporarily, to promote refashioning.
If you love altering clothes and giving new life, head to this site.
So, why do we discard clothes, linen, blankets, etc ?
1] outgrown them
2] sick of them
3] outdated style
4] bad memories attached
5] old, holey, tired, pilled, etc
Why should you save at least some of your things to refashion ?
1] cheaper than buying new and make great, free gifts
2] it's fun to swap ideas with friends
3] you can get as creative with merging clothing pieces together
4] OOAK items - no one else will have what you are wearing
5] you will be reducing landfill
6] honing your creativity, spending less money, making your friends happy with homemade gifts
and looking after the earth, will all lead to an INCREASE in your self-esteem.
I also get that some of you just don't have the time etc to do all this creative stuff.
Here are some other ideas for you -
1] Donate clothes, linen, etc to a charity, opshop, Freecycle or under the Freebies tab on Gumtree
2] Make a few bucks and sell them on Ebay, Gumtree, or have a garage sale
3] Gather your mates and get them to bring their unwanted clothes, linen, etc to do a swap
4] Barter them for something you do want, maybe fresh eggs, plants, etc
INTERESTING REFASHION SITES -
2] 'Recycled Fashion'
3] This is a great site where you sign up and list your blog
One rule! You must refashion clothing or furniture.
REPURPOSE AND REUSE
Miriam defines REPURPOSE as -
'to change an item so that it can be used for a different purpose'.
Miriam also defines REUSE as -
'to use again in a different way, or after reclaiming or reprocessing something again'.
E.G. To turn a bike wheel into a pot rack.
This dictionary cites the origin of REPURPOSE dates back to 1984.
Not very long ago is it?
Ken Greenworld from the Word Wizard investigated where the word REPURPOSE had been used. He cites the following as the earliest entry -
1984 “Visage products will allow developers to ‘REPURPOSE’ video discs—that is, use one video disc to produce many different video programs without pressing a new disc.”—‘PR Newswire’ (Nexis), 28 March
I couldn’t find anything on the origin of the word 'reuse', in the newest sense of the word.
Therefore, we can pretty safely say that repurpose and reuse can be used interchangeably.
So, why do we toss out household goods?
1] they're broken or don't work
3] no longer fit with our decor
4] our lifestyle doesn't require them any longer
5] bad memories attached to them
Why should you try to repurpose/reuse household goods?
1] So Much Cheaper
E.G. Instead of paying $300 on a new storage unit in your shed,
why not turn your fridge into a cupboard
2] You Get to be Creative
E.G. Check out Pinterest for inspiration on what you can turn your unwanted goods into.
It gives you a great opportunity to get into that creative zone
3] Reduces Landfill
4} You will have a OOAK item that makes a great conversation piece
5] Fun is always a big one for me. Get your friends together and swap ideas, swap items and make
your stuff into new stuff
6] Once again, like refashioning, these reasons are great for boosting your self-esteem.
You get to socialise, play around with being creative instead of just working, you save money and
you know you are doing your bit to help with environmental awareness.
If, you don't have the time etc, to be able tor repurpose/reuse, then have a look at the options I listed under the REFASHION HEADER.
HERE ARE SOME GREAT DIY REPURPOSING SITES
I have published this post thus far, however, over the next couple of days, I will be finishing off with upcycling and recycling.