Mar 242016

I am a big proponent of using what I have, sometimes so much so my husband has to remind me that I can actually spend money.

When it comes to wood pallets, I see so much potential in something most people throw away.  Here are a few of my favorite ideas.

This would be perfect for my narrow, East facing bed. It is under the overhang of my garden anyway.  For that matter, I might even make two for its South facing front. It would look gorgeous filled with flowers.

We have a bare side of our house, the exterior new garage wall. A few of these with cascading flowers would give a bit of height, be easy to mow around and not look so short along a tall wall. Maybe even mixed with some vertical planters above.

Even better, by our side door which is on a small brick pad. Oiy!  So many ideas, so little time!

Or this, with a board added as a bench. I could sit outside and watch the kids play.

Well, I think I have added 3 relatively good projects to my already long list of things to do.  Honestly, though, does your garden/yard list ever get completed? Yeah, mine neither.

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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