You are right on topic! So much is cast aside as waste and really still has value.... just as you have described. Thanks!
My parents lived through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.. They conserved and recycled everything. There was not one piece of matter that passed through their hands that they didn't carefully use to the fullest possible extent.
Reuse potato chip bags as freezer bags (you wouldn't believe how much this helps preserve things in the freezer). Also potato chip bags preserve onion halves in the fridge for a long time...
A brown paper bag will keep a head of lettuce in the fridge for a long time too.
I guess that i'm off a little on this thread... I am trying to cause something to NOT become waste...
I thought to call the thread... RE-THINKING WASTE.... but then decided to go ahead with my choice. Reason... if we are about to throw something away as waste it might stop us to think... is this waste? I want to get past the casual mindset of what is waste... and get myself really being creative.... like Ronie described. Turning stuff over by using some lateral thinking. Some stuff will seem inconsequential... but who knows what thought it will trigger in someone else if have been looking at a certain challenge... and there it is!
marina phillips wrote:
The name of this thread made me remember this thought: Sometimes I think the mind-set change is helped along by a vocabulary change.
A new friend of mine brought up this point during our lecture/conversation about Humanure at the PDC in sahale.
If you call it "waste" (human "waste" seemed to be the preferred term for human poo during the conversation) that word helps perpetuate the mind-set of needing to "get rid of it" or that it's "icky."
She pointed out that if you're putting it to good use, there's no need to call it "waste" anymore! It's suddenly a valuable material for other things!
And I think this concept could be applied to the idea of this thread in general. If it's waste that isn't waste, why call it that?
So what's a better term? "reusables?" "repurposed goods?"
Good point. I learned that too.... but now use them indoors for seedlings where I don't want the water to spill.
And....along the lines of re-using EVERYTHING. I avoid putting plastic stuff outside in the sun around my place. UV rays eventually turn it into brittle shards that have no purpose other than to spend the rest of their long lived lives in my soil, releasing lord knows what nasties into their surroundings.
Direct sunlight is very destructive.... but what if used as a secondary reflector on an indoor wall for some reason. Plants indoors .... for instance ...... don't have the all over sunlight exposure as plants outdoors ... and this could increase it maybe? I know some who are using aquaponics indoors and are trying to solve this problem with reflection of light.
Deston Lee told me he reused his intern's soy-milk packages by opening them up and using the foil side as a reflection device for greenhouses or something (can't quite remember the purpose) but said that ended up being a bad idea as a year or so later they began to turn into little bits of foil and cardboard blowing around everywhere. I guess if you were on top of it you could get a year or so's worth of use out of them in that way.
Re-using what others would throw away as waste.... neat. I will re-use glass mayo bottles to carry my tea mix that I like to drink when travelling. Glass is not a health hazard like plastic... I used to use ordinary water bottles.... and just pour and cap. Also good storage for my moringa leaves when I dry them for winter use.
Food-wise, I personally make an effort to not purchase things in a one-time use package. I don't buy bottled beverages except for kombucha and beer (and making these at home is high on my list of priorities for this summer/fall). I'm that annoying lady who shows up the the grocery store with a million bags. I routinely scratch out the bar code on nice re-closable plastic bags so that I can re-use them again, use bread loaf bags for produce, orange sacks for onions and potatoes, yogurt containers as tupperware/dry goods storage, etc. I haven't purchased a plastic food bag/container in years.
I have made these mini-greenhouses too.... don't dry out the seeds so quickly.
The thing I can't get around sometimes are blister packages for non-food stuff. You know, the clear plastic case that has to come around the outside of almost everything, apparently because it's a theft deterrent? The larger ones can become awesome tiny green houses for starting seeds inside in early spring. The smaller ones with hinges are nice containers for nails, screws, other small hardware.
Can make the window hydroponics system in the thread "Farming in the Concrete Jungle". They joined the bottles together in threads... pretty neat. The sunlight is not as harsh as completely outdoors probably too so last a bit longer.
Plastic bottles can have the bottoms cut off and used as a poor-woman's cloche for baby plants in early spring gardens. But again something else needs to be done with them as they will eventually turn brittle. And at that point I can't think of any other action other than to send it "away" from my property - which is why I avoid bringing that sort of thing here in the first place.
I have heard of something similar done with bottles.... I know some dedicated beer drinkers! A wall was made.... can read some interesting stuff here....... You reminded me of it! I bet a really neat outdoor gazebo or something could be made with all that glass.....
A friend of friend of mine in Philadephia used a whole bunch of vitamin water bottles to create a giant (non-structural) wall/room divider in his warehouse apartment. It was beautiful, or so I heard (never saw it myself)!
puffergas wrote:It's a shame that we have been programmed into this consumerism mind-set.
That is one neat site! Going to take a while to cruise it all... I am downloading a book about building a passive solar heater right now. Thanks!
Hi Cyara ,
The rock-and-roll method only works with newspapers and grasses that have rotted or retted some. In other words kind of pulpy. It works with more natural feed stocks. Magazine paper and card board will not work. I bet horse manure would roll into balls but never had any to try.
Your cardboard tube idea sounds like just the ticket for cardboard.
I plan on doing a solar project with the ideas from the below link:
I use the meat trays as throw away paletttes for painting. I am a fine artist. Beyond that I only know to burn them.... fumes are not good... I know.
Brenda Groth wrote:
i do find that styrofoam is the most difficult item to have come into our home..not only is there very little real use for it..it can't be recycled in any of the recycle centers around here
ronie wrote:Some of the chemistry majors here might figure a way to add a solvent to the polystyrene and make a plastic that could be used for waterproofing roofing materials or walls of cobb structures.
Papier mache, a craft believed to have originated in Iran, is one of the most famous crafts of Kashmir and is known by its Iranian name of kari qalamdane (qalamdane means a pen case). Traditionally, the most famous product was the inkpots or kalamdar. Today, the product line includes a diverse range such as boxes for jewellery, flower vases, desktop accessories, trays, candle stands, photo albums, and decorative bowls. Objects made of papier mache are built of paper pulp, or layers of paper pulp. However, the craft of papier mache refers, in practice, here actually to the technique of surface decoration rather than the creation of the body of the object. Waste paper is soaked in water for about a week and then beaten with a big hammer. The paper is then mixed with starch made from the water of boiled rice and gum.
Banana Fiber Products: Kerala
The artistic skill and innovative ideas of rural women folks in a village called Sreekariyam, near Trivandrum, turn the waste into wealth and provide their livelihood. Banana tree, after harvesting banana, is cut and it becomes useless. From this waste material, the women folks, draw fiber without using any high-tech machinery or tools. The fiber drawn from the barks of banana tree is used for making dress materials, ornamental articles and other utility products like shopping bags, tablemats, wall hangings, purses, flower- pot holders etc. Banana Fiber Shirt is made out of banana fiber and cotton thread. Cotton thread is used for warp (lengthwise) and banana fiber is for woof (cross wise). Using both, the fabric is hand woven in handloom by women folks.
Economic pressure exists to find a more stable and profitable value-added product from poultry feathers. All feathers are composed of the natural biopolymer fiber keratin. Harvesting this fiber in a viable commercially useful form to make value-added products has proven successful at the pilot scale level. Prototype products formulations include: high flow, high surface air filters, light weight insulation mats, composites with natural and synthetic polymers, strong lightweight protein based construction materials, and biodegradable agricultural weed control films. Seedling flower pots made from feathers instead of peat moss can be purchased commercially. Product development research may be the pre-requisite to finding increasingly valuable uses for feathers that utilize a larger fraction of the quantity of the renewable feather fiber supply presently being generated. Two characteristics of feather fiber that make it unique are its molecular order and its morphological order. The fiber is both highly microcrystalline and very durable, i.e., resistant to both mechanical and thermal stress. The best processes that incorporate feathers into value-added products alter its micro-/macro-scopic morphology but preserve much of its desirable original molecular properties. Feather fiber adds surface area to filters, loft to insulation, modulus to polymer composites, decreased density to heavy particle boards, and in place recycling pathways for biodegradable weed control films.
Chicken feathers could help save trees by taking the place of wood pulp in air filters, paper products, and other uses, according to chemist Walter Schmidt of the U.S. Agricultural Research Service. Replacing half the wood-pulp content of composite paper with chicken feathers means only half as many trees...
[url=http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-1948135/New-uses-for-chicken-feathers.html] Found here......
[url=http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf2003/winan03d.pdf]Potential of Chicken Feather Fibre in Wood MDF Composites
[url=http://www.salon.com/technology/how_the_world_works/2006/09/21/feathers/print.html?blo09/21/feathers/index.html]More bang for your cluck Or as he says it... pluck or get plucked.
Ozark Lady wrote: 1 gallon jugs like milk, water or drinks come in, aren't old for a few years.
I use them to hold water, at first, to carry to the garden on cold days when I don't want to risk my garden hose. I use them as pouring spouts with just a bit of getting creative with an art knife, the handle is a great spout. I use them around early plants, just fill them with water and instand wall o'water to hold the heat by day and give it off at night.
Really neat! You use the product until it is really dead! Always needing id tags... have been using cheap plastic knives... but this is much better.
When I am tired of that way, or get an overload, I cut the bottoms off. The flat part is great under plants to catch drips. Sometimes I cut the pot in half and have a deep catcher to soak pots in to absorb water. And the top is a cloche for the garden. When it gets too brittle, after a few years, I get my scissors out, and cut into plant id tags, and then use a sharpie to write on them. Often I can save these and make them last a few years.
I also do this... but have been plaiting them and then turning and sewing together into mats to put one on top of another and make a raised round seat for the garden. Just cover with plastic leather. Like you idea of crocheting much more .... all done in one effort.... what size hook do you use?... must be enormous?
I take all plastic bags from everywhere, and I save them up, I sort them by color, and when I have enough, I cut them into long strips, which I crochet together into mats.
This is so cool!... My doormat is due for replacing. Going to crochet some up.
These mats are great in the sink, you can't break stuff by dropping it there, in the tub, no sliding, and even by the front door, wipe your feet on them! And when they get dirty, just take the hose to them, and back into service, they will last at least a year this way.
Can't crochet? Well can ya braid? I also braid some together and use them to: a. hold delicate plants that need to be tied to a stake. b. pad anything that could rub and get damaged, for instance moving furniture etc. c. If you braid them large enough, they are fun for kids to beat each other with, use as light sabers etc, and don't hurt!
I take used feed sacks and I fill them with twigs that I find, then I pack the bags away for winter, when all kindling for firestarting is: wet or under snow, or I just don't want to go get it. I use the bag to begin a tiny fire, then the kindling to feed it. It is much more efficient than the chemical soaked firestarter cubes.
Thanks Ozark Lady.... worthwhile post.
I save every glass jar that I get. These become glasses, with their own lids, and I also use these to store grains etc, in my pantry, they are bug resistant. And leftovers in the fridge, you can see what is in the container. In the shop, you can nail or screw the lids to a shelf, and when you want what is in it, just unscrew it, get what you want and then screw it back onto its lid.
Old clothes etc, are always disassembled and crocheted into rugs. Cuts the heating bill and saves wear on the floors.
This is so amazing!... I was just wondering how I could join some plastic as waterproofing alongside a building project.... to waterproof foundations.....I have strong thick plastic bags but didn't just want to lay them or they would leak between.... To buy the 300 micron plastic is expensive because they only sell it in huge rolls for the building industry.... but now I can use waste bags instead. Too cool!!! Thanks for the info Joel.
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
Plastic bags can be fused together, into something that vaguely resembles Tyvek but is more resistant to water, and less to tearing.
Use an iron on the "silk" setting, and keep a piece of paper (copy paper works) between the iron and the plastic to prevent it from sticking.
I learned this technique from Make Magazine, but I like this source better, for its more-thorough explanation.
The bags should also theoretically weld to strips of milk jug (since both are HDPE), if you want to add stiffening strips (I think tailors call these pieces "boning," and in several other contexts they're called "stays").
Do you have a pic, Brenda? Can't really imagine the seed paper. Sounds interesting.
Brenda Groth wrote:
Mary Janes Farm magazine this week had a great article in it on making paper impregnated with weeds or with seeds (the seeds if done right can be planted in the garden later)..
the papers they did were beautiful,