Friday, February 15, 2008

Waste Less, More Create Or The Old Shoes Story. Part I

One thing about green lifestyle is that you need to be creative; you need to look at stuff from different angles. But before I explain that, let me tell you a short story that happened to me some years ago.

The Old Shoes Story
During my travel to South Africa I met a poor guy who had no shoes. I thought I had a spare pair (by this stage I had done a lot of travelling so the shoes were poor condition). I brought the shoes and gave it to him. He accepted the gift with the enthusiasm of a kid.

The next day I returned to meet the poor man, I asked him where he got the new pair of shoes he was wearing. He exclaimed they are the ones you gave me. He had cleaned them up and fixed them and they now looked brand new. Although I was please for him there was a part of me that wanted my shoes back

Reuse? Why reuse and how?
Since the earliest civilisations man has produced waste and disposal by landfill has been the main way of dealing with it. In modern times growing industrialisation and consumerism have transformed the types and quantity of waste we generate in our every day lives. As a result, the ways in which we manage this waste have had to change dramatically over a relatively short period of time.

It has been said many times on this occasion that we should reuse whatever is possible. Actually we can reuse almost anything we want. Below are some easy non-creative tips:

Old Electrical Equipment
Donate old electrical equipment to schools or community centres so that others can reuse them.

Old Clothes and Books
Other people can reuse your unwanted clothes and books when you donate them to charity shops.

Car-boot Sale
Have a car-boot sale and get rid of some unwanted items. Other people may find a use for them, plus it gives you the opportunity to earn some extra cash.

Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries can be reused many times before they need throwing away, opposed to regular batteries that create unnecessary waste.

Build a Compost Bin
You can reuse many waste items, such as eggshells and old tea bags, using a compost bin. This waste then degrades and turns into compost that can be used to help your garden grow.

Grass Cycling
After mowing your lawn, instead of throwing the grass cuttings away, leave them in your garden. The nutrients from the cuttings go back into the soil and act as a fertiliser.

Try to buy things that you can easily refill, like Aquaballs for laundry. Similarly you can refill ink cartridges for your home or office printer.

Use paper wisely
Recycling old newspapers is a good thing, but it’s still not the most efficient. You can use paper more creatively like using it to clean up after your pets, or bury it (layered newspaper, covered over with mulch, slowly converts a patch of earth into a bad of prime potting soil - perfect place to plant your geraniums).

Going green you not only save the planet, but also save your pocket.
In next part I will post some creative ideas how to reuse everyday objects. If you have any other good ideas, poste them as a comment.

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Michael said...

Has anyone on ecohip checked out yet? I just signed up-- seems like they have a load of resources for reducing your carbon footprint through metrics. Just wonderin' in y'all have been there...

gabrielle said...

Thanks for the tip Michael. I've just checked the OpenEco and it's great.

I definitely will spread a word about OpenEco, since it's worth of attention.


Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

There is another site called - its like a free Ebay. You can get some really fab items on there as well as the usual ikea stuff!