Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!
If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.
This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:
We completed our month of sharing resources, last week, by tackling textiles. When we moved to our new home, I thought it was a great opportunity to go through our closets and give away anything which wasn't being used. Donating them helped others and meant that we didn't have to move additional boxes. A win all around. This challenge, however, made me think about things like carpets. While living in an apartment, we noticed that each time a tenant moved out, the carpets were replaced. We asked the installers what happens to the old carpet and, unfortunately, learned that they were tossed out. Evidently, since most of the residents had pets, the carpets were extremely soiled. So, they were tossed. I realized that something as simple as keeping a carpet clean could mean the difference between reuse and waste. It's another example of how everything we do contributes to the whole.
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.
Andie is great at repurposing textiles. In Create a Drawstring Laundry Bag, she teaches readers how to reuse pillow cases. Brilliant idea! That's just one of the many ideas you'll find in this series of posts. She also left this comment for us: "This is what I live for! My blog features a number of posts with ideas for repurposing textiles, and I'll be tweeting out links with our wonderful #CTWW to spread the word. My favorite thing to repurpose is old top sheets and jeans—but any good fabric is fodder for my creations. I do donate quality items that are outgrown or no longer to our taste to our local senior center thrift store, but anything that is not up to snuff gets cannibalized for future projects: buttons are removed and saved (string them together with thread to keep the set), trim (lace, ribbons) is carefully removed with a seam ripper, ditto for salvageable zippers. The fabric is cut into useable pieces (bulky seams are cutaway), folded and stored or cut into rags. I also transform some items for a better use as costumes—it's amazing what can be created—or similar, more useful clothing. I have a tutorial on my site that shows how to make a sleeveless t-shirt from one with sleeves. Since I sew, of course I repair everything from split seams to lost buttons. I ever repair torn dog plushes! Textiles NEVER end up in a landfill from my house, that's fro certain!"
Vicality encourages their readers to Keep textiles out of the landfill.
Welcome back to Charlotte. I hope you enjoyed your trip!! She wrote Greener Gardening Tools, an excellent article where she shares information on garden gadgets. Ever hear of a solar irrigation system? She also shared Conscious Shopping which suggests that organizing our closets is a good way to keep textiles out of landfills. Charlotte lives in Sweden and the SSNC (Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) hosts a yearly clothes swap day. How great is that!!
This edition of the Shopping Charity mentioned CTWW and included one of your articles. Hop over to see if it was your post!
Alicia accepted the challenge and said, "I am a big advocate of shopping at thrift stores and donating to them as well. There is one store that if there is a spot ,tear or stain they put them into bags and donate them to an organization that gives them to people in need of clothing. Extra blankets and shoes as well as towels and coats can be given to rescue shelters. They are always in need of these things and are so very much appreciated! I also use old tee shirts and make reusable shopping bags from them. They are very sturdy and can be folded to fit in your purse easily without taking up much room at all."
Fixing a garment is a great way to extend it's life. The folks at WorldChanging.me created a quest for fixing stuff, including garments. Check it out HERE.
What about mattresses and shoes. Clare took on these items and shared this: "My textiles get reused - towels into face cloths, tops into shopping bags, hats, scarves and more. That's a pretty horrific statistic, that just 15% of discarded textiles get recycled in the US! Of course Reduce and Reuse come first, but if you get to the Recycle stage, it can be useful to know that mattresses are chock full of great recycleable materials, and they're easy for you to recycle too - http://www.ecofriendlylink.com/blog/5recyclingfacts/. And while you may not feel comfortable donating your old shoes, did you know that they may help a child go to school? It's a fascinating insight into schooling in less privileged countries - http://www.ecofriendlylink.com/blog/recycleshoes/. Thanks Small for another great CTWW challenge - as always I'm reviewing how I can improve."
Lois is big on repurposing and if you haven't discovered her talent yet, be sure to head over to her blog ... she's very creative!! She shared this with us: "We are so quick to toss out anything not perfect. Nothing gets tossed out in my home and I often blog about the items I have repurposed from old textiles. My current projects I need to finish are updating my winter denim coat with denim I saved from the trash in areas that are worn from age, converting an adult's dress into a child's dress with purse, and my son just dropped off a pair of pajama pants that are too worn in areas to be of use to him. I'll cut it up and make something to wear for the children out of the usable pieces. Any fabric not good enough to be used for its intended purpose and not large enough to be made into something else of use is cut down to be used for wash cloths, dish cloths (haven't bought a dish cloth in years) or for rags when all else fails."
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:
My Final Thoughts:
Can you think of a good reason why textiles couldn't be reused or recycled? I find it difficult to come up with even one. In most cases, textiles are usable. They might need some repair or cleaning, they might even need to be shredded and upcycled into something else. But they can be used. They are a preventable waste. The fact that they take up a huge percentage of landfill space leads me to believe that our society has become complacent and lazy. Why else would we toss perfectly good items into the trash bin? We can prevent this kind of waste and help others in the process. So let's do so!
Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.
This Week's Challenge:
March's theme is: Nutrition
|A pristine ocean - sounds perfect, right? |
It may not, however, be what it seems!
The ocean is a valuable source of food. Humans throughout the world enjoy seaweed, fish, shellfish, and even algae.
These low-fat foods are high in nutrients. For example, seaweed is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Riboflavin, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese. Fish and shellfish provide protein and a good amount of potassium.
Unfortunately, the ocean now contains huge amounts of plastic which have degraded into very small particles. These particles, and the harmful toxins they contain, have entered our food chain. Direct toxicity from plastics comes from lead, cadmium, and mercury.
Simply put, we are ingesting contaminated food.
Eliminating all plastic from our lives is probably impossible. But we can certainly eliminate some!
Here's your challenge ...
This week, dig deep and find ways to eliminate plastic from your life. While avoiding plastic shopping bags and bottled water are great methods to accomplish this (and I encourage you to adopt this practice), we're going to work a little harder this week and find new ways to avoid this toxic substance. Need a few ideas? Try these:
- If you need something which comes in only plastic (computer monitors, cat litter boxes, etc.) consider used items via Freecycle, Craigslist, or a second hand store.
- If you eat meat, bring your own container to the butcher department at the grocery store rather than buy it wrapped in plastic or butcher paper. Butcher paper, once coated with wax, is most commonly coated with polyethylene, a plastic.
- When ordering a pizza for delivery or take-out, ask them not to use the plastic package saver (that little plastic gadget which is placed in the center of the box to keep the lid off of the pizza).
- Do you really need a salad spinner? Avoid plastic by using a dish towel, cotton produce bag, or even a pillowcase to "spin" your lettuce. Get the kids involved and suggest they head outside to be human sprinklers ... spin, baby, spin!
- Use stainless steel pet bowls instead of plastic.
- Ever notice how restaurants automatically place plastic straws on the table with your drink? Ask the server not to leave them on the table and drink straight from the glass (the old-fashioned way).
- Here's a tough one ... ice cream containers typically contain a plastic lining so, don't buy it. If you want ice cream, opt for a cone or bring your own container to a quality ice creamery.
- Do you enjoy chewing gum? Here's a shocking fact ... it contains plastic. So, give it up!
- Avoid liquid dish and laundry detergent, hand soap, and shampoo ... all of which come in plastic. Instead use powdered detergents which come in boxes, bar soap, and bar shampoos.
Are you ready to protect our food? I know that you are!
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Until next time ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!