Sometimes we’re done with an item before it’s worn out. Rather than just throwing it away, most green minded folk will pass it along – to friends, charity shops or through systems like freecycle. Keeping usable items in use reduces landfill, and consumption, saves money and is far greener.
However, what do you do with items that have worn out or broken and cannot be reused as they are?
This is where the inspiration and creativity come into play. See the item as a creative challenge, and try and find a good solution to re-using it. You might find that it can be broken down into component parts for recycling – e.g. an old mattress can be recycled if you cut the fabric off and separate it from the metal innards. It takes a bit of work, but that effort is service to the gods and the planet.
Broken wooden furniture can be burned on stoves, or kept for ritual fires.
Take apart old satellite dishes, and you’ll find a light weight metal bowl in the middle, which can be re-used as a fire-dish for ritual.
Many old containers can have holes cut in them and be re-used as plant pots – I have a an old beer barrel in the garden with strawberries growing in it. Saves on money for plant pots and makes it easier to grow your own food.
Un-useable clothing can be cut up for cleaning rags. It can also be used for making patchwork, toys, decorations, and other items of clothing. Scraps of fabric, dead underwear etc can be used to stuff cushions. Old pillows can be folded in half and made into cushions to good effect, with the cover made out of old clothes remnants. You can use old clothes to make dressing up gear for children as well, or let them loose with scissors and needle, experimenting and making their own things.
Inspiration feeds on opportunity. If all you do is watch television, then your creativity is never called into play. Un-useable household objects challenge us to be creative, and find ways of dealing with them that doesn’t result in them adding to the huge and hideous piles of landfill we already have. Innovative re-use is fun and inherently rewarding. It gives you unique objects and opportunities, which in their turn might save you money. It also gives you a wholly different relationship with the objects around you, making them less disposable, so that you think more about their whole life cycle rather than your short term use of them.
Mainstream media will tell you that everything in your house ought to look like it came from a shop and was made by a machine. Even though the quality of such things is frequently really low. Let your home be a playground, experiment, create, turn useless things into strange and interesting new things you can put to use. It’s fun, it saves money, is green, and gives you chance to invite inspiration into your life.