I’ve never been a big fan of the ‘no spend week/year/month’ (whatever time frame is given) because if I need a new pack of socks, I’m getting it. But I do have a goal this year of repurposing/reusing more. Thereby spending less and making less waste.
The one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s made me more aware of what I actually can repurpose/reuse. We’ve been big fans of reusing old crates from Mr. DNL’s work in the garden for years. And saving wood scraps from finished projects for other projects around the homestead.
Here’s how it’s going so far:
*The most surprising thing for me has been mending and patching of clothing. It’s been more fun and less drudgery than it used to be. Maybe because there’s a goal now? Plus my sewing skills have improved a lot with more practice.
*We decided to try using old feed bags in the garden. This summer we’re using them to grow sweet potatoes. So far the plants are growing great. We’ll see how they really did at harvest time. But I’m saving more bags for more planting.
*Another thing I’m trying is using shredded paper in the garden as mulch. We do get a lot of junk mail! So I weed out the glossy papers (they’re not good for the garden, but are fine in recycle), shred the papers and I have a bag I keep them in until it’s time to take to the garden. I also shred used note paper, invoices from shipped in packages, paper toilet paper wrappers, paper bags and paper packing material. It is a big messy when you’re first getting the paper into the garden (this works with traditional planting or in containers). But once you wet the papers, they stick together and stay down.
*I don’t buy ziplock baggies. But I have some that I’ve reused for years now. Plus I reuse bread bags and tortilla bags for freezing, storing, etc. But I’ve recently read an article about using cereal, cookie, cracker bags. Cleaned and washed, of course. I’m going to be adding those to my repertoire. I’ve also noticed that a lot of small clothing items (socks and underwear, for example) come in their own reclosable bags now. I’m using those as well…as long as they don’t have small holes. I currently have a reclosable bag that sock came in inside my freezer with veggie scraps for broth. My one rule about reusing these bags is if they’ve had meat in them, I don’t reuse them. I’m also going to wash and reuse pieces of aluminum foil that’s not torn.
*I’ve signed up for my local Nextdoor.com and with my closest Buy Nothing group on Facebook. I’ve been able to give a small child’s life jacket and child’s rubber boots to a neighbor through Nextdoor. com and I have a few things to put on the Buy Nothing group to see if someone can use them. I’ve also signed up for TerraCycle (it’s free) to find companies that are recycling things that aren’t being recycled on the local level…like deodorant containers or toothpaste containers.
I do other things for repurposing (reuse cat litter containers for planters, cut up old t-shirts for rags, etc.) but these listed are pretty new to me. I’ve been trying to look at everything we use through fresher eyes of, ‘can we reuse this somewhere?’ It’s not always a yes, but sometimes it’s ‘oh, I didn’t think of that before!’ Every little bit helps. And if a lot of us do our bit, it makes a lot of difference.