Home & Garden
The folks over at ECO SALON have reminded us that Composting isn’t just for food. You’ll be surprised at all the strange, random junk you can toss in the compost bucket. Don’t draw the line at peach pits and coffee grounds – start chucking the following items into that bucket and watch your garbage bill go down while you create top-drawer dirt (and help the planet, of course).
- Bills – because somehow it’s a lot more satisfying shoving bills in with melon rinds and egg shells than the recycle bin. Trust me.
- Latex condoms – both latex and sheepskin condoms are biodegradable; note that sheepskin does not protect against STDs.
- Junk mail – if you’re like me not even the Do Not Mail list has managed to alleviate the jubilant deforestation companies are undertaking on your personal behalf.
- Catalogs and magazines – just shred them first.
- Old fish food and stale catnip
- Abandoned hide/bone dog chews
- Worn out rope and used masking tapeAny old leather – shoes, gloves, wallets, belts, “sexy” Halloween cat costume from college. Note: the leather should be fairly worn out, otherwise you’ll be dead before it degrades. Composting does not guarantee that your friends will stop calling you Cat Woman, however.
- White glue – yes, you can!
- ATM and gas station receipts
- Ticket stubs, post-its, stickers, labels, price tags
- Ratty wool or 100% cotton socks
- Old Halloween candy – when the chocolate tastes like Jelly Bellies, it’s time to part ways. Good times.
- Holey cotton underwear – come on!
- Dirt, crap and grime from your shoes or boots
- Cardboard cereal boxes – shred them up first.
- Vacuum cleaner bag/bin contents and dryer lint
- Skunked beer, ancient candy bars, expired protein bars
- Cotton tampons and cardboard applicators – really!
- Expired dairy and moldy cheese – but hold the meat.
- Used tissues and paper towels
- Aquarium plants and wilted flower bouquets
- Cat fur, dog hair, and nail clippings
- Your hair – you could even bring the clippings home from your hair dresser. If you want.
- Any old leather – shoes, gloves, wallets, belts, “sexy” Halloween cat costume from college. Note: the leather should be fairly worn out, otherwise you’ll be dead before it degrades. Composting does not guarantee that your friends will stop calling you Cat Woman, however.
- Wood chips from the BBQ
- Fireplace and campfire ashes
- That cute little brie cheese box
- Cardboard toilet paper and paper towel rolls
- Hamster/guinea pig/rat/bird cage cleanings
It may seem like weird science, but all of the above objects are fully compostable.
You can compost anything of organic origin: fruit peels and pits, sandwich crusts, gluey pasta, oatmeal that’s gone the way of cement, soggy cereal, stale pastries, nut shells, orange rinds, tea bags, coffee filters, onion skins, melon rinds, seeds, cores, old milk, stale potato chips…
Wait…you compost, right? Composting is free, easy, and one of the best things you can do for the environment, next to cutting down on fossil fuel consumption and minding your three R’s – reducing, reusing, recycling. Call me juvenile, but I also feel like I’m somehow getting away with something. Burying bills in the dirt? Great!
Even if you aren’t a gardener, your green thumb neighbors will be glad to reap the benefits of all your bizarre biodegrading – and you’ll cut down on your garbage pickup fees.
The folks over at SEQL (Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life)Have listed a neat little cheat sheet on 100 different ways you can help save the environment. The list is broken up into different sub-catagories like In Your Home Conserve Energy, In Your Home Reduce Toxicity, In Your Yard, In Your Office, Ways To Protect Our Air, Ways to Use Less Water, Ways to Protect Our Water & Create Less Trash
Some of Our Favorit ideas were:
13.Reverse your indoor ceiling fans for summer and winter operations as recommended.
23.Plant trees to shade your home.
48.Put leaves in a compost heap instead of burning them or throwing them away. Yard debris too large for your compost bin should be taken to a yard-debris recycler.
49.Copy and print on both sides of paper.
The list is full of ideas you probably all ready new about as well as some good new ideas. Overall it is a good refresher or reminder, if you will on how to reduce your own personal foot print.
See the list in its entirety at SEQL
Today is April 22 and we get to celebrate another Earth Day. For those of you that do not know, Earth Day is a day that was set aside to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Earth day was founded by a United States Senator as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. The first Earth day was celebrated in the United States in 1970 but by 1990 Earth Day was being celebrated in over 141 Nations World Wide. Numerous communities today celebrate what they call ‘Earth Week,’ an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.
At Dust Factory every day is earth day for us. We are thankful for our opportunity to be hands on in the recycling and re-purposing process of textiles and other common goods. It is estimated that over one million tons of textiles are thrown away every year in the United States alone. Because of this each month we attempt to save over 75k lbs of clothing from entering our landfills. This is only a small amount in comparison, but we understand that everything starts small. We are only able to do this through the help and support of those that we work with.
We have spent the past 15 years developing a green business as well as educating and supporting others who are interested in doing the same. It does not matter if you are professional mother or a student, each person can make a difference in their community or neighborhood.
The Following are five simple ways that you can make a difference this Earth Day with your clothing alone.
1. Hand-me-downs This may be easier for the younger readers, but you can give your unused clothes to your younger brother or sister. Moms call this Hand-Me-Downs. It is a very simple concept but very effective if used properly. If you don’t have a younger brother or sister, give your old clothes to a smaller neighbor or cousin. See…very simple.
2. Resale Shop If you are the thrifty shopper or if you think that your are a trendy diva that doesn’t really know that many people possibly due to living in a new location or having a sour attitude, then why not take your old clothing to the resale shop. Beware, there is a good chance that there might be a chubster(1) behind the counter at the resale shop waiting to dish you out a piece of humble pie. This could bring some back down to the reality possibly realizing that their washed up style might not be so unique after all. However, it is worth the chance to make some money on your old finds, and it shouldn’t stop you from moving on.
3. Donate Your Clothes After picking up whats left of your ego, and your entire collection of last seasons rags from the by counter at the resale shop, the chubster behind the counter will tell you that if you want you can donate your clothing to their clothing bin, and they will see that it gets to a charity. Of coarse you will want nothing to do with them,but they do bring up a good point, you could donate your clothing… maybe just not to them. If you don’t care either way leave your clothing at the resale donation bin, or if you want, there are plenty of other local charities that you can drop your old clothes at. Many of them will even pick them up from your front porch if you take the 1 minute out of your day to call them. They will see that your clothing is getting re-used. Just google local charities in your area.
4. Local Clothing Swap If your hurting for cash , and you still cant get over the fact that the re-sale shop didn’t want a single item out of your collection, you could try a clothing swap. Most cities have volunteers that organize clothing swaps. You can find them by Google..ing “Local Clothing Swap” or checking your local Craigs List listings. A clothing swap is a gathering where a bunch of like-minded people bring their old clothing and trade out their old garments for others. If no one in your area is hosting a clothing swap then why not put together one for yourself. It can be done with neighbors and friends, or a through a church or local charity.
5. Repurpose Your Clothing Ok I may have lied, I said that I had five simple ways to recycle fashion and this last one may or may not be that simple. This will depend on how creative you are, and how good you are with a sewing machine. If you don’t know how to sew, it is worth learning , if you do know how to sew then this will be simple. Any dress can be turned into a top or skirt. Any t-shirt can be turned into a bathing suit or t-shirt for a kid. Any pants can be turned into shorts. It is a simple concept, but so often over looked. Sometimes you don’t even have to know how to sew, you just need to be able to use a pair of scissors.
Now make it happen. Next time you go through your closet and clear out two pieces or five bag fulls of clothing think about these five options that you now have before putting them into the trash.
Most of us by now should be making our own soil by composting our left over scraps and papers. We know that compost can be beneficial to our gardens, but did you know it can also play a part in making more sustainably-designed furniture? That is exactly what Israel-based designer Adital Ela of S-Sense Design found out when creating Terra, a line of furniture that’s made entirely out of compost, which she actually cultivates and gathers near her studio.
Ela calls herself a “designer-gatherer” becasue she creates stools, cups, lampshades and other pieces of furniture by blending organic matter like vegetation, dirt and various fibers in a proportional recipe, and molded using compression, provided by her feet. According to Ela’s research, the foot-mixing technique for earth-based construction is quite old, being used in ancient times in places like Iran, Iraq and Palestine.
On FastCo.Design, Ela describes how she first got the idea for making these biodegradable works when sipping a cup of chai tea in a clay cup:
I was absolutely fascinated by the way those sun-dried clay cups were tossed to the ground and blended back to become earth again within minutes. Seeing this, I started asking myself, ‘How can products, like people, come from dust, and to dust return?’
This strikes a chord with us at Dust Factory because things are very much the same in the textile industry.
There are interesting implications in Ela’s project because not only are these materials available everywhere, the time-honoured technique is something that anyone can use to create their own low-impact and easily recyclable furniture. In developing her methods, Ela realized that her own grandmother built ovens in the past using similar techniques.
Find Out More at S-Sense Design
1. Buy less and buy smart: Check those labels. Search out brands and products that reflect your recycled lifestyle. There can be a huge difference in the contents of everyday items like laundry detergent, household cleaners and more. Don’t rush out to buy the next new thing you see on Good Mornig America of Dr. Phil. Garages and basements all over the world are filled with junk that we really didn’t need – the solution – don’t buy that crap in the first place. It’s important to support brands and products that reflect your values (stay out of that big box store). Don’t be a victim of fads and the mega-brand marketing machine. Look for items that perform more than one function so you can Do more with less.
2. Keep it local: Shop at your local vintage store instead at the mall. Buy veggies from local farms and farmers. Search out local craftsman for things like furniture and home decor – items that can often be made of reclaimed wood are usually of the highest quality. Keep small businesses alive.
3. Recycle and reuse more: Make sure you go the extra step in getting your refuse into your local recycling stream and out of the landfill. Also, forget using paper towels and small versions of things (like bottled water) that come in plastic containers. Start using simple things like reusable dish towels, reusable water and drink bottles and reusable grocery bags. Little things can make a big difference.
4. Try to live more sustainably: Install a new programmable thermostat in your house, it will help you save time and energy. Start a garden. If possible, grow your own fruits and veggies. Even apartment dwellers can start a container garden or kitchen herb garden. Gardening can help both your pocketbook and your waistline. Purchase vintage clothing and used products to save money and add some character and style to your home or wardrobe. If you’re at the beach or a park, pick up some trash to help the community – you can never have enough clean, natural space.
5. Drive less and drive ‘green’: Be aware of your driving patterns. Drivers can increase their gas mileage and reduce their emissions by driving sensibly. No quick starts and stops. Use that HOV lane and cruise control. If you have a short commute or your grocery store is nearby hit the streets on your bicycle and save on fuel and emissions. Make your next car a fuel efficient model.