Be creative and reduce waste

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Make things for yourself and for others and reduce the need to go an buy everything that you want (and need).

Upcycling_examples1There are many things that are considered waste and waste products by the majority and the powers-that-be that, in fact, can become the resources for making things we want and need ourselves, or as gifts for family and friends. And, with the right mindset, ideas and a little skill those can also and even become salable products.

Even, unfortunately, people who consider themselves “green” and “ecologically minded” do not seem to have the mindset that our ancestors have and cannot see items of waste as a resource, aside from being recyclables to be used by the recycling industry.

They will go out and buy a recycled steel pencil bin while, at the same time, throwing away a clean tin can into the recycling which can – for nothing – serve the same purpose and can make for a great conversation piece when placed on the desk.

Or they will go and throw some large glass jars into the recycling bin and then go out and spend lots of money of recycled glass storage jars where the produce jars would have been able to to the same job for zero costs and removing some glass jars from the waste stream.

Those are but two examples and I have seen this happening myself and the people were so programed to recycling that they could not see that they could have been using those “recyclables” instead of buying new products, even though made from recycled materials.

When I was a child drinking glasses in daily use where not proper, if you like, glasses but glass jars of different sizes and I strongly believe that the reason for the predominately working class term of “having a jar” of something means just that, namely that a jar was used as a drinking vessel. And why not?

I have not bought a notebook for ages. I make my own from single-sided printed press releases and other printed matter. The same goes for the index cards that I use which I make from card material from packaging and I also make my own business card from such materials.

When we look back at the way our ancestors made use of waste for their everyday needs (and wants), from backs of envelopes, over cigar boxes, glass jars and so much more we can, and in deed must, take a leaf out of their books to make our money go further and, at the same time, reduce the amount that we put into the waste stream.

Starve your recycling bins and not just the trash can, I say, and make use of as much of the waste materials that you can. There is so much that you can make from waste for your own use, as gifts and, even, for sale. Just use your mind and some of the ideas that can be found in books and all over the Internet. Especially, however, take a look at what our ancestors did and how the reused and recycled well before it was a fashionable thing. And I mean they did reuse, repurpose and upcycle out of necessity often and for us it may just be a way to save money and to reduce our impact on the Planet.

© 2014