Monday, 30 March 2015

REUSE and a great giveaway

We've all heard it.  The three 'R's.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Thank goodness this message is being touted by schools, community groups, governments and NGOs.  I won't bore you with the same message.  It can be found countless places if you want to know more.

It's a great message and I love the philosophy.  However I don't believe it is enough.  I have a favourite 'R' and believe we should reuse, reuse, reuse.  By reusing, we automatically reduce our rubbish and conserve energy.  Recycling is great in theory, and certainly better than throwing our rubbish away willy nilly, but items can't be one hundred percent recycled and they use a lot of energy in the process.

Let me give you a couple of examples of the reuse that happens in this house.  Last week I dealt with a pure wool top.  I received it second hand from a friend.  It was so badly moth eaten as to be unwearable.  Rather than throw it in the bin, I cut it into cloths to use for cleaning.  Today I cooked pumpkin soup and all my scraps were placed into the chook bucket for the chooks to pick over. Anything not eaten by them can decompose in situ rather than become land fill.  My chook bucket itself was gifted to me by a friend when she saw the jealous longing in my eyes as I gazed at her chook, compost and worm buckets on her bench.  Old yoghurt buckets of a good size with nifty little handles!
Beware!  Can you see what happens when you start taking reusing seriously.  You start to see everything in a new light and begin coveting the neighbour's rubbish!

I also needed to buy milk in containers last week.  Due to a test I needed I wasn't allowed to drink full cream milk.  Ouch!  This goat milker who hasn't needed throwaway milk containers for a couple of years!  The upside is, I will use these cartons for soap moulds.  Perfect!
Whenever I need to make a purchase there is much thought.  Often I do it well.  We buy secondhand as often as we can.  Always there is thought about whether the item is really needed.  If it needs to be bought new, thought goes into whether it's possible to buy it locally; can it be of varying quality and therefore should I buy better quality so will it last longer. Sometimes I do it badly.  Occasionally I'll be disorganised and suddenly realise one of the kids has no socks, pants or shoes.  If the op shop don't have anything to fit the bill I end up in a department store in desperation, carting around my heavy and guilty heart as I shop.  At least I can take the offending item home in a proper, reusable shopping bag I've brought with me.

Recently I've had cause to think about my shopping choices.  A win really.  Years ago I bought the children drink bottles.  The dilemma!  I was sick of throwing away plastic drink bottles which harboured so much bacteria that they were no longer usable.  This was back in the dark ages (pre homeschooling) when the kids were at school and the rule was, they were to have sipper bottles to avoid spillage.  Fair enough really because the rule allowed children to have their water on their desks.

After much searching, I decided on stainless steel bottles for them.  I was apprehensive about my decision because the production of stainless steel products has a greater negative effect on the environment so is only beneficial if you get years of use from them.
The lovely new bottle for the giveaway
I'm happy to report that three years later after many bottles of water we are still using two of them.   I'm not quite *ahem* sure where the third one is.  These were pretty clever drink bottles.  They have a silicon insert for the sipper part and a straw, and you can buy replacement parts.  After being shoved under car seats, being lost behind the couch for a week or two, being left in the bottom of a bag for days after a day trip, they were getting pretty manky!  At first they washed up well but over time they just weren't coming clean enough.  It was wonderful to be able to hop online and buy the parts that I needed from Biome.  The sipper part and the straw can both be purchased separately which is perfect.  
I bought parts for three bottles although one is missing because I am confident Buddy's bottle will resurface one day soon from in the cubby or under a bed.

I would love more people to find ways to reduce the rubbish they create and, guess what?!  Biome kindly agreed to supply a bottle for a giveaway.  The Funtainer drink bottle is 335ml and the replacement parts can be purchased online from them as well.  The winner will be randomly chosen.  I thought I'd number the comments and get the kids to pull one out of a hat rather than an online selector.
Belle's well used and perfectly functional drink bottle with a lovely clean sipper straw
The giveaway is open to those in Australia only, due to postage costs.  As the winner will be randomly drawn all you need to do is to leave a comment (but I would love it if you could share some ideas on how you reuse).  Let's draw it on Thursday the ninth to allow time for all our Easter busyness.

Good luck.  Happy reusing.

*I'm not receiving any kick back for this post.  I just think it's a great product and was delighted that Biome were happy to support a giveaway.  I am considering becoming an affiliate with them in the future.*


laurafpow said...

I reuse lots in the garden, egg cups and toilet rolls for starting seeds, save all my food scraps for my worm bin

Crunchie's Mum said...

Most food scraps here goes to either the dogs (meat, diary, some vege) chooks or the worm farm. I cut down plastic milk cartons and use them to raise seedlings. I cut the top and bottom off so I have a plastic sleeve. I put 9 in a seedling tray and fill them with potting mix. They are perfect for bean and pea seeds. When the plant is ready to go in the garden you dig the hole, place the seedling in in its sleeve and then slide the sleeve up. The roots are barely disturbed this way.


rabidlittlehippy said...

We follow the 4 R's when and wherever we can too. I like Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle, but I've since come across the 5th and problably most effective R of all. REFUSE! That's the hardest one butthemost effective vote. If we all refuse to buy $3 t-shirts of dubious quality from a cheap department store then said store will eventually get the picture and stop making them! (I've high hopes I know ;) ).
Thanks for the link for water bottles too. We've bought them in the past (other brands) and when the lid breaks we've been unable to buy replacement parts so I have about 6 or so lidless bottles that are of little use outside of a cup in a clean cup emergency or as a vase. :(

We send all our food scraps to a) meat, eggs and dairy to the cats, b) fruit scraps and oats to the goats, c) most everything else to the chooks, d) tea and coffee leaves, avocado and bench scrapings (you know the stuff that falls on the bench) to the worms and bones go to them too as they've usually been through the stock pot first and have precious little meat left on them. Worms adore them! And e) anything left (excess egg shells) to the compost.
Still too much non-food waste in our rubbish bin but a work in progress.

Crunchie's Mum, LOVE the bean/pea seed sleeve idea. Like toilet roll planters but larger and reusable. NICE!

Selina B said...

have eyeing off water flasks but never bought one cos of the prices
i save all my toilet rolls, have used them for seed starting but not too successful, will have another go one day, most usually are seeded straight into garden. don't drink milk. save all my old towels & clothes to re-purpose. my rubbish bin only goes out about every couple of months, living alone helps.
thanx for sharing

Jennathepiglady said...

We're lucky enough to have a dog, pigs, chooks and a worm waste that caters for all our "organic" waste, including scraps of fabric with natural fibres, or leather shoes that really are worn out. As you can imagine, I've managed to reuse LOADS of old nappies, and am loving making things like bags out of old jeans, sheets, and other fabric that no longer has a use in it's current form. I'm just trying to find a way to "reuse" the hazelnut shells, we have a fair few and it seems wasteful to put them in the worm waste. Surely they have another use left in them first! Oh, and now I might be able to make some ricotta from my whey :)

Lynn said...

I have a confession- if I get cranky at something and feel like losing my cool I throw paper in the bin instead of the recycling. (I know I'm bad). Then later I fix it!
We cut up old towels, I save brown paper for lining cake tins, I turn kids jeans into shorts when the knees are worn out.

Linda said...

I love these comments!

Thanks Laura. There's so much you can do in the garden.

Lynda, I love your seedling idea! Almost wish I had milk containers. ;-)

Rabidlittlehippy I share your hopes! Yes, refuse! I also used to share your frustration at broken bottle lids. These ones are sturdy and have lasted.

Wow Selina! Every couple of months! Well done! We can go three or four weeks.

Jenna you do so well! I can't think of a hazelnut shell reuse either. Hopefully someone clever can leave an idea here. Have fun with the whey. Do you know you can use it in cakes and soups too?

Lynn, you really amused me!! My family would be delighted if my tantrums saw me throwing paper in the wrong bin. Too funny! You are such a lovely person!

Farmer Liz said...

I reckon the first R should be "reduce". And definitely reuse after that! What don't I reuse? (hoard?). Just today I was walking past a skip bin used to clean out an office building, I couldn't help but have a peak inside, and I brought home a cup, two plates, and some perfectly good blank paper! There was plenty more good stuff just going to landfill, but I didn't take more than I needed. The op shop and tip shop are my two favourite shops.... so many useful things have come home from there. Anyway, the bottles look great, and I have been thinking we should stop using plastic (reusable) bottles as they do taint the water. Great giveaway, thanks Linda!

Caro said...

I like the idea of a new R- refuse! We certainly spend much of our life refusing to buy things. Mostly because we avoid shopping (at traditional shops) and ads (TV, mags etc). I find if I don't see things I don't want them. We grow and create as much food as we can, and buy the rest locally from farmers, through our bulk food group, or if required from small local shops. Non food items are only purchased if absolutely necessary- otherwise I'll spend months searching for something in local op shops, and we make most things from stuff we've scavenged or found at the op shop or local tip. And the money we save means we can work less and enjoy our life more. Win win.

Linda said...

Well the drink bottle goes to..... Laura! Congratulations!

And good on you Liz for your dumpster diving! Would love the courage to do it myself. Too much gets thrown out before it should be. And Caro, your efforts on a daily basis are inspiring. You've certainly helped us to make positive changes. :-)

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Great post Linda, I have a drink bottle from Biome that is a camel-back brand and it too has replaceable parts.