Tag Archives: reuse

Reduce, Reuse, and Then Recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle. You’ve heard these terms before, right? But I’ll bet that the one you do most is recycle.  It’s the easiest, after all. But think about it. While recycling is good, not having much to recycle in the first place is even better.

I first started seriously thinking about these things when I saw the documentary, No Impact Man. There’s a blog and a book, too, about how one  man in New York City chose to live for a year with as little impact on the earth as possible. This really got me thinking about the many products I buy and how I could personally reduce my own carbon “footprint” on the earth.

So what does this mean? And how do you do it? You don’t have to be as drastic as No Impact Man but you can do some small things which, over time, might inspire you to do even more. Start by looking at the things you use and buy frequently.  Another good suggestion is to actually look at your trash. It sounds awful but you’ll get an idea of what exactly you are throwing away. For me, at one time, it was tissue. So I decided to purchase handkerchiefs (from a vintage thrift shop) and now that’s all I use. Another example, my husband started making our own peanut butter using bulk peanuts. Don’t want to make your own? Bring an empty glass jar or other container to a store with a bulk section (think East End Food Co-op or Whole Foods around here) and buy it in bulk instead. This way, you’re re-using the container and not creating waste.

Another great example is coffee. Who doesn’t love that the Main Library has a café? Well, instead of using a throwaway cup each time you get your fix, why not buy a lovely washable container with a lid (not to mention the very cool Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh name and logo on it in this case) and re-use it each time you buy a drink? Again, less waste.

Author's photo

Finally, another great thing to do is just to make your own products; I make most of my own personal care and beauty products  (body lotion, conditioner, toner, face powder, lip balm, deodorant, etc.) using recipes from  library books including Natural Beauty at Home and Natural Beauty from the Garden, both by Janice Cox. I store them in reusable containers and the bonus is I know exactly what ingredients are in them.

There are many ways to reuse things. How about you? I’d love to hear your suggestions.



Filed under Uncategorized

Go Home Green!

Make your home Earth friendly every day.  Whether you are thinking of building, remodeling an existing home, or just need to clean up the one you have, the Library has resources that can help you green your home environment.

Build Green and Save Book CoverBuild Green and Save: Protecting the Earth and Your Bottom Line by Matt Belcher
Let this book show you how to select green building materials, make sure your construction activities are green, and explain the benefits of green building practices.

Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts book coverThe Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts: Over 100 Earth-Friendly Projects
Did you know you can fuse together plastic shopping bags and make your own reusable tote? Or that old blue jeans can be turned into at least 5 different crafts? These and other fun and easy projects are explained in this book, along with lots of pictures to guide you.

Home Enlightenment Made Easy: with Annie B. Bond
Watch easy to follow instructions on this DVD for making your own nontoxic formulas to clean your home, fabrics, and even your face!

Green This book coverGreen This!: Volume One, Greening Your Cleaning by Deirdre Imus
Room by room, this book deals with the dangers of commonly used household cleaning products and then gives greener, homemade cleaners as substitute options.

Practical Green Remodeling book coverPractical Green Remodeling: Down-to-Earth Solutions for Everyday Homes by Barry Katz
With useful information such as a simple explanation (and diagrams!) of how geothermal systems work and 10 ways to reduce your water usage, this book goes beyond the typical green building materials recommendations. But it has those too!

Easy Green Living book coverEasy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home by Renée Loux
Every room in your house can get clean the green way. Even the laundry gets a makeover. The author includes advice on shopping green, light bulbs, and better choices for personal hygiene that will protect you and the environment.

Big Green Purse: Using Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World by Diane MacEachern
Change the way you spend money and change the world! You’ll get background information about how certain products negatively impact the environment and people, along with alternative options you can purchase to combat these effects.  You have the power!

Green Living by Design book coverGreen Living by Design: The Practical Guide for Eco-Friendly Remodeling and Decorating by Jean Nayar
Organized by area of the house and materials utilized, this book guides you through making informed decisions about remodeling and furnishing your home in an earth-friendly way.

Real Simple book coverReal Simple: 869 New Uses for Old Things
Not sure what to do with those leftover name tags? Use them to label your casserole dish so it comes back home after the potluck. This encyclopedia lists most common household items and ways they can be re-purposed.  You won’t ever need to throw anything away again!

Simple Steps to a Greener Home DVD coverSimple Steps to a Greener Home: With Lifestyle Expert Danny Seo
This DVD gives many “smart and stylish” suggestions for remodeling in an eco-friendly way.  

Your family, your home, and your Earth will thank you.

-Melissa M.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Having a Rodeo of a Good Time

The Triple R Craft Wagon is pulling into town again. In case you missed the two previous wagons or Jude and Renée’s post, you have another chance. Craft curious? This Thursday we’ll try jar and glass etching. Turn your wonky glass jars to whimsical drinking glass. Bring your old and boring glass jars, vases or glasses and a pair of goggles. In the meantime, look for the library’s collection of craft books using recycled materials.

Re-Creative: 50 Projects for Turning Found Items into Contemporary Design, Steve Dodds – Turn yesterday’s trash into swanky items you can use today.

ReadyMade: How to Make (Almost) Everything: A Do-It-Yourself Primer, Shoshana Berger – Can’t get enough of ReadyMade? Practical projects with easy to follow instructions.

Alternacrafts, Jessica Vitkus – Convert an old t-shirt into a rug or newspaper into a flower bouquet. With minimal crafting experience and everyday household objects, discover new uses for discarded junk.

Jump on the craft wagon at 7:00 pm this Thursday, July 31.

– Lisa

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

RRR Craft Wagon: Jump On!

The RRR (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Craft Wagon is about reusing materials in fun and innovative craft projects. We had our first RRR Craft Wagon session on Thursday May 19th and it was a blast!

We taught people a great trick for cutting plastic shopping bags to make “yarn” first. People then knit, crocheted and wove with the yarn to make reusable bags or rugs!

Here’s the schedule for the next three sessions:

June 26, 2008 • Recycle this, craft that.

Make an envelope; mail a button.

July 31, 2008 • Craft Curious?

Jar and vase etching. Wonky to whimsical.

August 28, 2008 • BYOT – Bring Your Own T-shirt

Weave placemats, potholders and coasters.

To get into the swing of things, you should check out related books in our collection. We actually have a great selection of reuse and crafting books here at CLP, like Don’t Throw it Out! or this book featuring projects from ReadyMade magazine. I think you should make a pom-pom rug. That’s on my bucket list. Or a shag rug out of old t-shirts.

There are also some great websites with tips and projects for crafting with recycled materials.

Craft a Green World “features do-it-yourself projects that incorporate reused, recycled, and natural materials.”

Instructable.com calls itself “the world’s biggest show and tell” and includes instructions for projects from knitting a Princess Leia wig to turning old CDs into a CD rack.

Etsy Labs is the instructional blog of Etsy, an online marketplace of entirely handmade goods.

Do you have an avalanche of plastic bags stuffed under your kitchen sink? My Recycled Bags can help you craftily reincarnate them.

Day-lab DIY showcases “innovative and creative ideas that focus on smaller budgets, the reusing of found objects, restoration, preservation and the like.”

Craft is the “first project-based magazine dedicated to the renaissance that is occurring within the world of crafts.” Its website features projects, products and articles.

Craftster‘s motto is “no tea cozies without irony,” and their site has tons of great suggestions.

Hope to see you when the Craft Wagon rolls back into town!

-Jude and Renée


Filed under Uncategorized