Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day! A few simple ways an every day person like yourself can help to save the planet and your hard-earned $$

My hubs and I have had the motto of "repurpose, reuse, recycle" for a long time. It's just a way of life for us. And it's not difficult at all. Here are a couple of ideas that will not only help the planet, but will also help your pocketbook.

Reusable grocery sacks. You can purchase them at many stores these days. Or better yet, use leftover fabric and make your own! My mother made me 10 of these. They are huge. And bonus: because they are fabric, you can really load those babies down. They take a lot of abuse and won't split like paper or plastic.

Rain barrel. I have seen them for sale online and in gardening catalogs for $100+ and the cost of shipping. Nope, not for this girl. Hubs found a local ag/feed store that sells 55 gallon drums for next to nothing (though you might be able to find them on freecycle or craigslist). The spigot was purchased for next to nothing as well from Lowe's. The barrel was bright blue, so we painted it a color that was close to our brick color for camo purposes. And to dress it up even more, we put faux lattice around it and plated honeysuckle. Eventually, the honeysuckle vines will grow up and around the lattice. The result: looks pretty, smells good and more importantly, free water!

And how much free water can you get? He's some info from "For every inch of rain that falls on a catchment area of 1,000 square feet, you can expect to collect approximately 600 gallons of rainwater. Ten inches of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot catchment area will generate about 6,000 gallons of rainwater!" I can attest to this. After one rain, our barrel is full. It doesn't take long at all. And I've been watering my plants for FREE ever since.

Compost. It's so easy to recycle food and yard waste! You wouldn't believe how much healthier our outside plantings are since using our own compost. Why throw all of your yard and kitchen waste away when it can be used to keep your plants healthy? It also saves you money because you won't have to purchase this organic gold at the store.

You can find compost bins online, but like rain barrels, they are expensive. We built our own with leftover lumber from when we torn down our old fence (one less thing in the landfill!). It's on the side of the house near the garage. It's not fancy, but it works, and it was free. We cover it with a black trash bag, so in essence, it's "cooking" the compost, making it turn faster.

A healthy compost has one part green matter (i.e. fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, old flowers and garden prunings) to three parts brown matter (i.e. dry leaves, shredded brown paper, coffee grounds, egg shells and straw). I never really balance it out. I just throw whatever I have in there, and it works. However, never compost eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, mayonnaise or processed foods.

You can also just use coffee grounds in your garden as is. I pour Hub's used ground around my azalea bushes, and they've never been healthier. Compost can be used inside pots and holes dug for plants, but it can also be used as mulch.

Thrift stores. We must not forget thrifting! It's the ultimate in repurpose, reuse, recycle! I know most of you girls out there already know that. ;)

I hope everyone realizes how easy these few things are, and how much money you can save by doing so! It helps the planet, and it helps your wallet!


Sandy Toes said...

As I read your post....I thought for sure after the fabric bags...there would be fabric "sleeves"...hee hee!!!

I do love the idea about the rain bucket...I have never seen that before...what a great idea!

sandy toe

Susie from Bienvenue said...

What great ides! I need to try the bag one. I hate those wal mart bags. They break every time! Take care and have a great day my friend~

Candy Allen said...

Excellent, excellent post! Have you noticed the reusable totes at Kohl's?? They're huge and actually cute.

Love the rain bucket idea and like you said, I've seen those barrels on craigslist for super cheap. I can't believe I never thought to paint it the same color as the house!

Happy Earth Day to you and thank you for your wonderful ideas!

Lucky in Love said...

That rain bucket idea is genius! I have never even heard of that before. Great post!

Amber said...

AWESOME post!! I'm bookmarking it, and maybe even blog about it, if you don't mind. Let me know!

Shannon said...

Those are all great ideas! You have done an excellent job at covering your rain barrel. I love honeysuckle!

Ally0005 said...

I am just now getting grocery sacks. I even designed one on the Kroger website. Did you know about it, Check it out.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love your ideas...we have a compost and it is one of my favorite things. Pretty sad, huh???
Great blog!!!

Pleasant Drive said...

Thanks for the wonderful ideas of conservation!

Lindsey said...

Great post! I love thrifting!!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

So good! I have the reusable bags, and I totally admit that I love them because you can cram more groceries in there, which means fewer trips from the car! I keep meaning to start a compost bin. Maybe this year?

Chrissie Grace said...

What great ideas.
I really want to start some garden boxes and a compost. I think it's going to be one of my goals for 2010.
(Gosh, I really think ahead, don't I?)
Love your blog.

Miss(es) Canadian Pie said...

I feel like I could hug you for giving the great idea about a composter and rain barrel. I have wanted a rain barrel for quiet some time and like you, didn't want to pay that high price. I'm going to show my hubby your post so we can put one together. And again, I love your idea about the composter. We can purchase a really nice one from our city for $34 but just havn'et had the extra $ to buy one. But we do have scrap lumber in our backyard!! I'm so excited to do this. Thank you so much!! (And my mom made me my grocery bags too. They truly are so solid.)