Aug 292018

My normal collection of bags is not typical I believe.  I usually have one purse I am using…and no back up.  I may have a few backpacks for various activities (going to the pool, to take to the park, to go camping, etc.) but not much beyond that. I use what holds up, the rest are usually not worth my time to buy only to throw away after one season.

The majority of the bags I use were received from conventions or training seminars.  They tend to be canvas type material and have done well through all sorts of uses and weather.

One collection of bags I own, though, does not fit this stereotype at all – the dog food bag collection currently happening in my garage.  Yes, these large, bulky items which look like something could be done with them but which our local recycling does not accept.

This has not been a problem in the past as we did not have a dog.  Now we do.  A big one, about 90 lbs. He eats a fair amount of food. At this rate we will add two bags to the collection every month.  I foresee this getting out of hand rather quickly, yet did not want to add yet more ‘stuff’ to the time capsule called the landfill for my great-great-great grandkids to dig up and say “Look, I found what used to pass as food for dogs!!!”

What is one to do then?

A quick online search gave me a few answers:

  • Funky Recycled Pet Food Bag Purse/Tote – while I do not need another bag for the beach, these would make great bags for grocery shopping.  This would also be a unique gift idea.  You could either give them as a gift or to put a gift into.
  • Reuse at home – to gather leaf mulch, as a container to store other items, and other uses.
  • More uses at home – outdoor pillow covers, trash can liners, moisture barrier for your floors, and more ideas from commenters. I loved seeing how many others used these “what’s in my hand” items for solutions to problems they had around the home. (Holding rose bush trimmings, anyone?)
  • Messenger Bag – okay, confession time.  If I were to begin creating these, I think I would have a much, much larger collection of bags.  I LOVE messenger bags.  There is something about them which reminds me of coffee, creativity, sophistication,…coffee.  This design was one using chicken feed bags, but with a bit of creative thinking it could be used for pet food bags.

If reusing or crafting are not your thing and you really just want them gone…but not to the landfill, then consider TerraCycle.  They not only recycle dog food bags, but many other things as well.  At this time they are only accepting certain brands of dog food, so it will not work for everyone.  This is a recycling program worth checking out as they recycle the hard to recycle products, send you a shipping label which covers the cost of shipping, and even have a reward program.

Are there other ways you find to reuse or recycle your pet food bags?

Feb 152017
 This post contains affiliate links.  While they will not help support this blog, they will help my kids earn points towards magazine subscriptions.  I thought it only fair to let you know. 😉calendar coffee computer
As I drink my artificially flavored, because it had to be clarified on the bag in case I did not figure that out on my own, Chocolate Mocha Coffee this morning, I reminded myself to not throw the grounds in the trash, but instead to use them in the landscaping.  
As I sat down to the computer, I came across this article from Recyclebank concerning recycling coffee filters. How timely. (To read the article, you will need to sign-in apparently. Sorry for the confusion.)
From their website:
Whether you’re joining Recyclebank as an individual interested in learning more about waste diversion or you’re part of a community that offers our recycling rewards program, we’re all about helping you move down the path toward a waste-free future. From blog posts to quizzes to recycling resources, we’ve got all the tools you need to help keep even more materials from ending up in landfills.
Recyclebank is a site I began using … well, years ago.  We’ll leave the exact time frame alone.  Let’s focus on the fact that I keep going back to their site because it is fun, informative, and easy to use.  I have learned new things over the years, and been rewarded at various times.
Currently the rewards vary between magazine subscriptions, % off at certain websites, money off at restaurants, or even a free item from a particular website.  The rewards are always changing, which helps keep things exciting.
We do not currently use coffee filters, though if I got out our drip coffee maker I would.  However, I have started adding coffee to the front landscaping.  If you come to my front door, only to realize there is a fair coffee scent in the air, you have been warned.
Jun 252012

Natasha, at Mother of Seven, posted recently about a money saving tip they have started using in their garden.  Not only did it save them money, but it used something they already had on hand. This meant they didn’t have to pay for material.  Free is my favorite price.

I am thinking I can find the material either at church, friends, or Freecycle.  My plants are already in the ground, but I may be able to do this around several that are still on the small side.

With the lack of rain right now, this would be very useful in directing the water to where it would be most useful.  That is, to the plants’ roots.

I think this would also save time and allow children to help.  The watering area would have a more defined target and the amount of water used could be easily measured.

Recently I had to instruct my newest “helper” that plants drink water from their roots, not their leaves.  This meant that the water needed to go on the ground near the plants, not on the leaves and a foot away from the newly planted flowers.  Oh, the things I take for granted that everyone knows.  This tip would have really helped.

Jun 182012

Recycling has taken on different forms depending on where I live.

Currently the garbage collectors in the area we are do not care on way or the other if you recycle.  There is no penalty or incentive to do so.  Our trash collection is not limited to a certain number of bags, nor are we penalized for having recyclable items in the trash.

Yard waste is actually discouraged from being placed out with the trash (they won’t pick it up), except for twice a year during the Spring and Fall cleanup times. We could use a recycling bin that the would collect every week, but it costs extra.

The town we are in does have two large recycling “dumpsters” that are in very convenient locations, which is what I usually use.  There is a scrap metal place down the road a bit that I can resell my aluminum cans and random metal (cans, pieces of things that broke, items from an auction that I don’t want but which got added to my pile, etc.) to.

So, currently my recycling efforts look like this:

  1. A bag is in my entry way to place all of our old papers and junk mail in.
  2. A bag is in the basement to place all of our empty aluminum cans in.  We do not drink a lot of sodas, so it takes a while for one of these to fill up.
  3. Recently I placed a bag in the garage, just outside the kitchen door, to collect tin cans in.  In the past I have not tried this because I’m not sure if it is worth it.  The cost of the extra water to rinse them out versus what I may be paid for my efforts.
  4. The leaves in the fall, which have dropped off the trees, get mulched and either added directly to the nearest bed or placed in the compost pile.
  5. If I remember I also add leftover food to the compost pile.  Usually I do this when I have enough to warrent taking it out there.  If it is a little amount, I usually do not see it as worth the effort.  I know, not exactly the attitude I am supposed to have, but it is reality.
  6. I do not currently recycle plastics due to the amount of space they take up and not being sure where to store them till I can take them in to be recycled.

When the papers’ bag is full we either walk it down to the recycling “dumpster” or drop it off when we are out and about.  When the cans are full, or there are several bags of them, I will take them to be recycled the next time we are going past the scrap metal yard.  I don’t make a lot from these, but it gives me a bit of treat money that day.

Sometimes I do wish we lived in a place that made it easier to recycle.  Having someone collect a bin every week with the trash would encourage me to do so.  I have never lived in such a place, but definitely see the upside to it.  Not sure I would appreciate living in a place, though, where you would get penalized for having even one piece of recyclable trash in with your other trash.

So, what are some way to be encouraged to be greener when you are in an area like mine that doesn’t seem to encourage it?  Or perhaps you are in an area that does, but are looking for more ways to be rewarded for your efforts.  I have found Recyclebank to be a site that is easy and quick to use.  They encourage you to take steps to be greener, in a variety of ways.  Their layout makes it easy to navigate and find where you need to go and what you can do. This makes it even easier.

They also give you incentives for the steps you have chosen to take. I recently redeemed my points for a free magazine subscription.  It was easy to earn points and there are several rewards, most having nothing to do with recycling.  The magazine I got was about cooking, of all things.

They also have coupons, gift cards or the choice to donate your points.

If you are in an area that has this incentive in conjunction with your community recycling pick up, then by all means I encourage you to take part.  If not, and you are in an area like me, there are other ways to earn.

My most frequent choice of earning points is to learn more about what it is that I can do and how it affects the environment.

I find that having the reminder and incentives to be aware of what can be recycled, reduced or reused actually helps me reduce and reuse items.  I also find myself being more away of what could be recycled.  Sometimes it works and it gets recycled.  Sometimes I feel rushed, or lazy, and it doesn’t.  The point is that I am aware of my actions and do not do them mindlessly.  Actually, there is something on Recyclebank right now dealing with just this issue.  I’m going to go learn more and be encouraged to stop being lazy start doing what I know I can.

If you also are looking for some incentive to recycle or live a greener lifestyle, check out Recyclebank.  It is easy.  It is fun.  And it does not take a lot to earn an incentive.

Along the same lines of recycling are reusing what you have.  This is a scrap quilt I put together several years ago.  Most of it was done while on lunch breaks, or waiting for the carpool.  The back is an old sheet, which isn’t the best for a quilt but I was trying to use up what I had on hand at the time.  This is a great picnic quilt and is actually my favorite one to use in the winter while watching television.

I made a second one very similar (there were a lot of scrap materials in my collection), except I actually machine quilted it and gave it a proper backing.  The second one looked better as I think the tying distracts from all the colors.  I gave that quilt as a gift; I wonder how it is  holding up.

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