Earth Friendly, Green Living:
Compost, Recycle, Reuse and Donate
This Holiday season is approaching quickly as is the cold weather. Have you already heard the sleigh bells jingling, seen a partridge in a pear tree, hung the mistletoe and decorated the Christmas tree? Everyone always has a lot going on during the holiday rush, but I’m here to tell you not to forget to compost, recycle, reuse and donate what you are done using.
Even though most of us have experienced the first frost of winter you can still be using your compost pile in the garden or your back yard. It just needs a little more TLC when it gets chilly outside. You can build a shelter for your compost pile to keep the warmth in or dig a hole and place all your compost in their till spring, covering it with a piece of wood. The Great Vancouver Regional District has built a great shelter for their compost; you can get the detailed plan here.
Here are a few things that you can use for compost:
1) Food scraps
2) Fur from your furry friends or hair from your own brush
3) Bills, junk mail and newspapers
4) Paper products: towels, napkins, plates
5) Breads, pasta & rice
6) Used coffee grounds and tea bags
7) Lint from the dryer
8) From the yard: leaves, branches and yard waste
For all other things you can’t compost you can recycle, reuse or donate them. Entertaining is a staple during the busy holiday season and not everyone has time to wash and dry every dish so they use paper or plastic dishes and cutlery. Instead of throwing them away this holiday season look at the number on the bottom of the plastics and see if you are able to recycle it in your community.
Plastic numbers go from 1-7, they are located on the bottom of your plastic containers, a few you might find during the holidays:
#1 PET (drinks, bottled water)
#2 HDPE (Milk cartons, detergent, yogurt)
#3 PVC (Plastic Wrap, Vegetable oils)
#4 LDPE (Produce bags, bread bags, squeezable bottles)
#5 PP (Ketchup, medicine, straws)
#6 PS (CD Jackets, egg cartons, foam peanuts)
#7 Other (Tupperware, 3-5 gallon reusable water bottles)
For more information on what plastics you can recycle please visit Earth 911.
You can always choose to reuse products you have for something else. The most sustainable way to reuse something is to turn it into something else. A few ideas for the holidays are making ornaments, reusing scrap gift wrap and fabric to dress up a gift, create holiday boxes and tins, and an eco-friendly gift could be something you make yourself, for instance a reusable tote from a pillowcase you no longer use. Those are just a few ideas. There are so many unique ideas out there to make reusable gifts. You can reuse so many everyday items in your home to make something beautiful. When paper, plastic and other recyclables get picked up and recycled and turned into new things there is a number of times certain things can be reused.
Plastic- Often, only one time into the same thing, but depends on the plastic.
Aluminum- cans can be recycled infinitely.
Paper- 5-7 times into new paper.
Copper and Steel- Infinitely
Cardboard- Stronger than regular paper it can be used more often to make new things.
So do your part to recycle in your community and in your travels, but know there are so many creative things you can do at home to make something old into something new.
Now we all know we don’t have an endless number of hours to be crafting and making things into new to us items, and that’s when donating old, well taken care of, items is great. Donating your old household, kitchen, living, bedroom, and bath items as well as clothing, shoes and accessories to local and national organizations can make someone who is less fortunate or thrifty have a wonderful holiday season as well. Sometimes something we see as old or used can be considered vintage to another.
So let’s regroup. This holiday were all going to be proactive, not only with donating, reusing and recycling but also starting a winter compost pile that will then turn into a spring compost pile making great soil for planting May flowers.
Enjoy your holiday.
Keep it earth friendly and green!