4Rs Tips for 5.27.2022 – Fight Consumerism: Reuse What We Have to Save the Planet
First, A Moment of Reflection
After the horrific murders of innocent children and their teachers this week in Texas, I can only hope that somehow we can begin to listen more and learn how to live together. To live in harmony with all life around us, with each other and Mother Earth.
Reducing How Much We Use and Eliminating Waste is Critical
To reduce our impact on the planet we need to reduce consumption. I ran across an article this week addressing the question, Are clothes made from recycled materials really more sustainable? and a quote at the end stuck with me. It said,
“We’ve been trained to see ourselves primarily as consumers … that the way we solve these problems is by buying, which is the antithesis to the real solution.”
We’ve been so programmed to believe this our brains find pleasure in obtaining more stuff. So it’s easy to buy into the idea that consuming more will solve all our problems when there is nothing further from the truth. Our greatest weapon against this programming is to find pleasure in creating useful stuff with what we already have.
Personally, I find a lot more pleasure in creating new stuff out of old than I do from buying new. But that wasn’t always the case. It took time for me to change my mindset, and if I can do it anyone can.
Creative Ways to Reuse Everyday Items and Give Them New Life
I’ve run across some ingenious reuse ideas online and wanted to share some with you. From using bottles and containers to make an item you would normally buy, to ways to reduce impact in your own backyard.
For gardening and landscaping try these reuse ideas.
With humans using 1.2 million plastic bottles per minute, we’ve got to start using the heck out of these materials so they don’t keep piling up on our planet. Yes, we need to avoid buying them to slow down production, and buying beverages in cans will make a big difference, but so much has already been made and it’s not going away, so we have to reuse it. Gardens and landscapes are a great place to start.
- Drainage for your planters and canister gardening. Put any plastic container with the lid on at the bottom of your planter before adding dirt. This helps with drainage, and with moving your planters since plastics are so lightweight.
- Make landscaping bricks and designs out of plastics. Recycled plastics are so durable they are now being used in construction. Check out these tips on how to use single-use plastics and turn them into a beautiful part of your landscaping.
- I love these planter ideas: 15 Creative DIY Recycled Plastic Bottle Garden Ideas, or this 25 Plastic Bottle Vertical Garden Ideas | Soda Bottle Garden.
I mean, why would you ever go out and buy a planter when you likely have a lot of plastics in your home that could make one that uniquely expresses you.
- If you’re the creative type and want to be inspired by some great ideas, check out this video with 90 Beautiful Garden ideas Using Old Plastic Bottles.
- I love this idea – How to Build a Greenhouse Using Plastic Bottles.
- Here’s a DIY to make plastic bricks at home.
- If you’re really into it, here are 103 DIY Plastic Bottle Ideas for Garden & Home.
- And don’t miss out on these 10 Clever Hacks for Reusing Plastic Bottles in the Garden. There are some cool ideas on that page.
- Recycled yard and garden art are unique and fun, especially if you are reusing something that doesn’t work anymore.
- I love that there are over 900 recycled garden art ideas on Pinterest.
- Or, check out Crazy Cool Garden Art Ideas From Junk!
- And, if you really aren’t into making crafts, buy recycled art for your yard or garden instead of new. There are over 5,000 items for sale under recycled yard art on Etsy.
- Boost your food growing by reusing what you have around the house.
- Check out this brilliant video of great ideas: 17 Brilliant FREE Vegetable Gardening Hacks | More Food for Less Effort.
- Learn how to harvest new seeds for the next growing season at How to Save Seeds.
Clothing and other textiles are everywhere and have so many reuses.
If clothes are in good condition you might want to donate them or sell them, but if you usually wear them until they aren’t wearable anymore why not make use of that material another way.
- You can collect old t-shirts and make a braided rug with them.
- Cut old clothes up into rags for cleaning or check out this DIY way to make a duster.
- When the material is worn thin, cut it into pieces to make a strainer.
- Attach a small piece of material with a rubber band to a wide-mouth plastic bottle. Use a needle to poke holes in the cloth to make a watering can for your plants. Cut a hole in the neck or side of the bottle to make it easier to refill.
- Make a two-person game called Mancala with buttons off old shirts and an egg carton.
I found some really great ways to reuse and recycle many household items in this article by Green Child Magazine, and in this article 100 Ways to Repurpose and Reuse Broken Household Items.
We Need to Pressure Big Business to Do Their Part and Reduce Impact
It’s election time in many states in the US so I want to remind you to vote. But don’t just vote, do some research ahead of time to make sure you vote for people who love our planet. If we elect environmentally conscious politicians we will finally be able to force corporate polluters into doing their part to reduce and reuse, like with ERP laws that require them to take responsibility for packaging and what happens to it. It shouldn’t all be on us consumers to deal with the waste.
We have leverage over corporate polluters
with our dollars and our votes
Why It’s Important
Nothing is more important right now than working to reduce our impact on the planet. Humans have spent generations living in ways that go against nature. We didn’t know any better, but now we do.
Finding ways to reuse stuff generally means taking on a project, whether big or small, but it also means opportunities to make something with your kids, friends, or family. It means bonding time and developing connections. And isn’t that what we really need to build a world where mass shootings no longer happen?
I saw a great video the other day that I feel really sums up the situation we’re in. It’s called Three Seconds and was the Film4Climate short film winner in 2016. Give it a watch. It’s only 4 minutes long and well worth your time.
Ways You Can Make A Difference This Year
It’s not taboo to talk climate.
Find out how to have climate conversations. Learn the facts to weed through climate disinformation and help others learn. I recently learned about a fun way to do that with a game called Cranky Uncle. Check it out and start your knowledge journey about climate change.
Do you like surveys and quizzes? Try some of these EarthDay.org quizzes to test your Climate Change knowledge.
With Much Gratitude
That’s it for this week. If you like this post, please forward it to every earth-friendly human you know.
I hope, with your help, to make it to the Climate Reality Project leadership training in Las Vegas this June and learn more about how to fight for our planet. Please share this post and visit my GoFundMe page to help me get there.
Drop me a line anytime if you have questions or comments. I love hearing from you.
Thank you for reading these tips and subscribing. Pat yourself on the back for doing your part. Remember, every little bit helps.
You got this!