Are You a Square Peg in a Round Hole? Go Green and Think Outside the Box!

Who knew that green living could be so fun? Many people seem to think that eco-friendly tasks, products and lifestyles require citizens to squat around a campfire in pelts while gnawing on their roots and berries. Thankfully, that is not the case. In fact, using the same old products in new ways is not only smart, but fun. For example, rather than throw away an old plastic grocery bag, tape them onto projects that are being spray-painted. The bags keep the spray paint off the other areas, and they can be moved from place to place on the project as needed.

If that wasn’t a spectacular enough re-purposing, try this: make a summer-time dehydrator with nothing more than a cardboard box, foil and plastic wrap. Create the green living dehydrator by simply lining the inside of a plain cardboard box with foil. Punch a small hole in each side of the box for ventilation. Then, place a single layer of the foods to be dehydrated, such as apples, in the box and cover the opening with plastic wrap. Place in full sun in the hottest part of the summer, and see how quickly foods can dry!

Of course, no green eco-friendly home would be complete without appropriate décor made from the materials found in Nature. For example, large shells make fantastic bookends. Simply clean and dry well, then fill the inner shell area with Plaster of Paris, making sure to keep the plaster level and smooth. Once that is completely dry, cover with felt or material, and enjoy.

Repurposing items into crafts is not for everyone, and some people would simply prefer to conserve energy, enjoy green technology in their homes, or save money. As more people turn to simpler living, others are seeing how easy it can be. However, whether or not someone is a Michelangelo of the green movement and can build a cabin by hand with nothing more than a handsaw does not mean that everyone else can or should. Rather, consistent small steps often make the most difference.

For example, according to plasticbagrecycling.org, in 2010, the recycling centers in the United States reported an astonishing 50% increase in plastic bag recycling alone. This saved half a billion pounds of plastic from going into a landfill. Not only are plenty of people returning their plastic bags for recycling, they are now using eco-friendly reusable tote bags for their groceries instead.

The next time someone in the house wants to throw away cardboard, old fabric or even silverware, see if it can’t be used creatively instead. A good rule of thumb: if it hasn’t been used in the last year, it is time to let it go.

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