Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RE-Cycle Challenge

Examples of my attempt to make use of all things - why recycle when I can repurpose (and then recycle later)?

Yesterday I brought my bike into work with me (in the car). My plan was to leave my car at work and bike home (and then to bike back the next morning). I had an extra day of clothing in the car, an extra lunch in the fridge, and plenty of clothing options for the ride home so that I could adapt to whatever Mother Nature decided to throw at me.

She decided to be kind. It was dry with temps in the high 40’s – very little wind, and daylight until 7:30 pm. Perfect! I ended up really enjoying the ride home. The construction on part of my route is finally complete, so there is now a nice bike lane and plenty of room for both me and the cars. Once I turned off the main roads, it got even better. The birds were chirping, the bullfrogs were singing and it really felt like spring. I even heard what I hope was a horse giving birth (at least, that's the story I'm going to believe)! The only detraction was the alarming amount of trash along the sides of the road. I know that there is always the occasional broken bungee cord, discarded paper cup or dropped glove…but this spring, the amount of trash seems unusually high. So…to do my own little part, I’m pledging to do a RE-Cycle. Every time I ride, I will pick up a piece of trash and either reuse it, repurpose it, recycle it or as a last resort, relocate it (to a trash can). I will try and opt for things that won’t break down (like plastic, metal or glass) and I will avoid food or paper that will probably decompose as fast where it lies than it would in my compost bin.

Last night, I picked up a plastic lid from some storage bin of some sort. It caught my eye because of the color, but I stopped because it was 1) so out of place, and 2) easily reachable by me. It has a nice lip on it, so my plan is to use it as a tray to hold seedling starting pots. I’ll do that this weekend and take a photo to share. In fact, my plan is to take photos of all the trash I repurpose…in case my ideas give someone else an idea.

This morning, on the ride back in (which was also enjoyable, if a bit slow), I picked up an empty Powerade bottle. I actually saw quite a bit of potentially useful trash, but most of it was on the other side of the ditch and today that ditch was full of fast-moving water. Perhaps once we dry out a bit, I’ll be able to safely pick up some of that other stuff. For now, this Powerade bottle will become either a codling moth trap (which I will explain in another post) or I’ll cut off the top (and recycle it) and use the bottom for seedling transplants in the greenhouse. At this point, I’ve used just about every single plastic container that I had saved already. Our greenhouse is fast filling up with future fresh food!


Laura said...

Excellent idea! Ricky and I do this on our bike rides too, although our item of choice is pop/water cans/bottles that we can return to the store for money. We get exercise and money, the dog gets exercise, and the earth gets cleaned. It's a win-win-win!

rachel from lefora said...

Love it!!

When my kid and I go for walks I always bring some old grocery bags and we make a game to see if we can fill them up and throw things out. I even carry a recycle bag and a garbage bag. The ids loves helping me and it makes walks go a little faster since we are "hunting". :) Hadn't thought of re-purposing but I will see what I find along the way!