Our family has always been good about recycling. In fact we have shared trash service with neighbors, as we couldn’t fill one of those large bins that all of the local trash services want you to have. Big, bulky and ugly are the only way to describe them but they do make good rain barrels (but that is another blog.)
So as we continue to read more and more about the impact that trash is having on the environment it reminded me of some of the ways that we have been creative when it came to dealing with recyclables. My daughter used to take the cardboard outer wrappers from cereal or other colorful boxes along with our old computer paper and I would bind them at the office (the same way you might do your listing brochures) into note pads. She could make them in a variety of sizes and some of her friends were inspired to try it out. It is an easy project and instead of throwing the boxes in the trash they ended up with one more round of life before they headed to the recycling bin. My daughter now is into vermiculture (yes that is worms) and most of her food scraps go to the worms and of course the results into compost for her garden.
For a number of years I had a large glass kiln and my friends would bring me their wine bottles. I would melt them down into the flat cheese trays that were popular at the time. The extras were sold at local craft fairs along with my other glass projects. I even created a process that I named “urban debris glass” where I took all of the leftover glass from other projects and melted them together to form a new sheet of glass. They became the basis for new glass projects, tiles or jewelry. By the time I was done I had very few scraps left for the landfill. There are other glass arts out there who might also want some of your bottles. Next time you go to a crafts fair and see an artist selling the wine bottle cheese trays ask them if they would like your bottles too.
Now if I could figure out a less messy way to turn my shredded bills into homemade paper I’d be just about free of taking anything to the recycling bin! Otherwise I’m on the hunt for a papier mache artists who would like bags of shredded paper.
If you live in Fairfax County and not as crazy about your recycling as our family is, then you can take the items that the local trash companies won’t pick up to one of the county recycling centers. If you live in the Springfield area you may want to head over to Wakefield Park where you drop off your junk mail, newspapers, glass and plastic at one of the recycling bins by the recreation center. If you have kids it is a great way to get them involved in understanding the importance of recycling to our environment.
And if you are feeling a bit creative take another look at some of the items that are going into your recycling bin and see if there isn’t another way to put them to use. You might be surprised what you or someone in your family can create out of “trash.”