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You know you are a "reuse everything" person when....

 
Posts: 243
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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Thomas Dean wrote:The dog food ones that are solid plastic I use to "shingle" chicken coops, etc.  I lay them out like shingles, with broad overlapping sections and use a staple gun to hold them down.  Not sure how they will hold up long-term exposed to the elements, but I have a set that have been out for almost a full year.  I've also tacked them up inside of the barn to make it more wind-tight.



I used to use them as quick-and-dirty rain gear. When I rode a bike I kept one rolled up under the seat, with holes precut for head and arms -- worked fine. I suppose one could cut and sew 'em into a replacement for the ol' plastic raincoat; some of those bags are extra thick. They're actually woven plastic fabric with a plastic coating, so they're pretty flexible, functionally waterproof, and very strong.

But as exterior roofing... I've done that, and they'll take about 3 months of strong sun (or about a year if you have some winter/overcast), then suddenly go friable and fall apart, and then you have a tangle of weak strings, and white powder that just disappears. I'm thinkin' it might be cellulose-based plastic.
 
Posts: 136
Location: Romania
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In childhood i used to go at the village garbage pit with my grandfather and we took home old and cracked plastic buckets.
We fixed them by sewing with copper wire and they were good to colect plums in them for wich we needed manny buckets.
At somme point a guy comes with his 14 yr old son to buy one of our homemade mills,he sees a cracked bucket sewed with copper wire and tells his son,,Son,look and learn,this is what powerty can do to man!,,.
After they leaved ,me and grandfather had a hard laugh ,soo hard that it was probably the best memory i have with him.
 
pollinator
Posts: 188
Location: NorCal
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When the barn, garage, and every shed, and cupboard is full to the rim of stuff you may need some day, or for parts to fix something else.
 
pollinator
Posts: 106
Location: WNC 6b
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Yes! I don't feel as crazy know...or at least there are many of us! =}
We have three buckets of food scraps, one for worms, one for chickens and one for the goats. Plus the dogs got stuff all the time.

All of our animal barns and sheds are made from other peoples old barns and sheds. We hammered out the rusty nails and built chicken coops and tractors. Now we are building a goat shed from someone's old porch wood. AND Now I know why reclaimed wood is expensive. haha We reclaim it ourselves.

Attempting to use everything before it gets buried, burnt in stove or composted...or thrown away. old feed bags make great trash bags.
Love this thread!
 
gardener
Posts: 914
Location: South of Capricorn
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What a great idea with the blinds, I often see them in the trash and I have some memory problems in the garden on a regular basis.....


You know you're an avid reuser when everyone's discussing the pending strike and likely fuel shortage and you say, ah, I happen to have a 20L heavy duty tank outside that the feed store lady saved for me because she knew I would want it.... I am among my people!!
 
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Hi, I once stopped to grab the sides of a crib on the side of the road and the homeowner came out and wanted to help me take the whole crib. I said I just needed the sides to make a A-frame for the melons to clime on.The look on his face when he realized that was a great idea was priceless and I asked if he wanted to keep the crib , he said no. I have several crib a-frames I use in the garden for vines and lettuce goes under it where it is cooler. I also use an upside down wire tomato cage  that has the ends tied closed for vines in a flower pot to clime up.
 
Posts: 43
Location: Georgia, USA
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My greenhouse is built out of recycled sliding doors, shower doors, windows, table top and windows removed fr9m a office building. Even the Little Rock’s mortared on the u0rights are rock dug out of the garden.

I have used those heavy dog food bags as pots for plants. Roll down the top, cut some holes in the bottom for drainage, fill with soil and little fruit trees etc.

www.steps2permaculture.com
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Posts: 229
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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Larry Pobiak wrote:.
5. Great garden plant labels.  I use a carpenters pencil to write on them.  The writing will not fade at all!  Even years later they are just as clear as the day I made them.



I suppose that would work once you settle on which varieties to stick with and grow every year.

Here's mine:
You know those plastic bags in the bulk foods aisle? Well, it really ticks me off that they only last two or three uses before they have holes too big to keep reusing. Now, if the store would allow for the weight correction of using a more durable container, that'd be fine, I'd skip the bags completely. But I see no reason to pay for the weight of my container every time.

Back before I consistently remembered to bring my reusable shopping bag every time, I never needed garbage bags. The few times I forgot my reusable bag gave me more plastic bags than I could keep up with reusing for garbage, considering I was also reducing my garbage. I was that guy -- in my house, there was a plastic bag full of other plastic bags. Why the hell do they think they have to double bag everything? One bag's worth of groceries, they put in two doubled bags, for a total of four plastic bags altogether. It was so aggravating, it became the motivation for me just to skip shopping completely if I happened to forget my reusable bag. More than once, I made a scene of repacking my groceries into fewer bags, right there at the counter, and leaving them to deal with the unwanted ones. Now, I remember my reusable bag every time.

One of the best reuse ideas, I saw in a movie: a wine glass made from the cut-off top of a plastic beverage bottle. The cap of the erstwhile bottle becomes the stem of the wine glass.
 
gardener
Posts: 1588
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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j flynn wrote:Hi, I once stopped to grab the sides of a crib on the side of the road and the homeowner came out and wanted to help me take the whole crib. I said I just needed the sides to make a A-frame for the melons to clime on.The look on his face when he realized that was a great idea was priceless and I asked if he wanted to keep the crib , he said no. I have several crib a-frames I use in the garden for vines and lettuce goes under it where it is cooler. I also use an upside down wire tomato cage  that has the ends tied closed for vines in a flower pot to clime up.


j flynn, have you considered taking the ends of the crib and when you've got four of them, you've got a compost bin, or a fall leaf bin? My sister uses an old metal head end of a bed to block off one side of her compost.
 
pollinator
Posts: 208
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
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I just have to say:

I love you guys!

Nobody around here - not even my kids - gets me.  You do!
I feel affirmed here.
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 3894
Location: SW Missouri
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Ruth Meyers wrote:I just have to say:

I love you guys!

Nobody around here - not even my kids - gets me.  You do!
I feel affirmed here.



Ruth Meyers: Welcome home! :D
 
pollinator
Posts: 219
Location: Central Texas
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Jason Hernandez wrote:
The few times I forgot my reusable bag gave me more plastic bags than I could keep up with reusing for garbage, considering I was also reducing my garbage. I was that guy -- in my house, there was a plastic bag full of other plastic bags. Why the hell do they think they have to double bag everything? One bag's worth of groceries, they put in two doubled bags, for a total of four plastic bags altogether. It was so aggravating, it became the motivation for me just to skip shopping completely if I happened to forget my reusable bag. More than once, I made a scene of repacking my groceries into fewer bags, right there at the counter, and leaving them to deal with the unwanted ones. Now, I remember my reusable bag every time.



I'll admit... I'm also "that guy" with bags full of plastic bags LOL
I also prefer to use the self checkout when possible. For one, I am able to bag my groceries by type/category (produce, coffee and creamer, condiments, etc. bagged together)& I fill the bags to the max. I don't know why so many cashiers think it's okay to put only 4 canned goods or a single gallon of milk in a double bag, when I can get double that in a single bag.
I've also been thinking about ordering some of the paper grocery bags like stores used to have years ago. They are sturdy enough to be used several times, and when they finally get to torn for groceries, I can think of a hundred ways to use them until they return to the earth as compost. Reusable bags are great, but I've often found myself forgetting to get them... Or even forgetting where I put them after the last trip.
 
Kc Simmons
pollinator
Posts: 219
Location: Central Texas
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Olivia Hall wrote:
All of this is a bit in conflict with my attempt to be more of a minimalist, so I think the solution is in creating less trash in the first place....



My family laughs when I claim to be a minimalist, but I do have a minimalism attitude... As I don't like a bunch of useless stuff in my space. The issue is that I have a lot of stuff that many would consider "useless," but I save it because I can reuse it (even if I don't know exactly how I'll reuse it yet ).

My problem is storage/organization. If I put it out of sight I'll end up forgetting about it, or forget where I put it when I do need it. So it ends up staying out where it can be seen; giving the impression of being cluttered.

So one of my goals for next year is to slowly start designating storage areas to things and group similar stuff together. I figure things like cardboard, paper, magazines, can be together. Then aluminum cans in a spot, plastic bottles/jugs, and so fourth, all being organized in an area out of sight of visitors, but somewhat close to my barn and work area.
Maybe line up some pallets and divide them into squares like people do for compost bins; then put each category of items in its own "bin" to access when needed...
 
Posts: 22
Location: Central Oklahoma
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I made a strawberry bed from the crib parts I was given. I originally planted 2 plants but it's full now. I'll try to attach a pic.
Strawberry-bed.jpg
Strawberry bed
Strawberry bed
 
Rez Zircon
Posts: 243
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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That's the fanciest literal "strawberry bed" I've seen - love it!

Old swingsets make good instant A-frame sheds or greenhouses.

I have a junk trailer that someone 60+ years ago cobbled together from the front end of a 1940s pickup truck and a metal bedframe, and a scary screw-on hitch (oddly, it uses standard modern truck rims). Ugliest thing you ever saw but I've used it with some mighty heavy loads, and despite looking like a hillbilly reject, it just keeps on working. Tho being it was sized however the bedframe dictated, it's kinda weird... just over 3 feet wide by not quite 7 feet long. Tows great (I pulled it all the way from SoCal to Montana at 70mph), but won't back up at all (have to unload it, unhook it, and back it by hand, otherwise you end up picking it out of your taillight). And how'd I get this trailer? Someone threw it away! :D

 
pollinator
Posts: 347
Location: Utah
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Judith Browning wrote:

Kc, any aluminum soda/beer can will do, they are 'soft'...we cut the cans open with tin snips, removing both ends and cutting up the side so that each can could lay flat as a 'shingle'.  The aluminum ones were pretty easy to cut, the steel not so easy but doable.

Then just nailed on as you would any shingle, overlapping.  I'm pretty sure the roof had a solid wood surface to nail them too and we might have used actual roofing nails for at least some of it.   The edges are sharp so be careful cutting and handling... once on the roof not a problem.

I don't have any photos...no camera back then or any other electronics so not so many pictures.


I imagine you wouldn't even have to flatten them. Just cut in half and nail them in opposite directions, one facing up and the other facing down with the edges inside. You'd want a layer of flats on the edges to make sure water drains at that point.
 
Sena Kassim
pollinator
Posts: 106
Location: WNC 6b
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Great strawberry bed Marie!
 
gardener
Posts: 912
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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Lauren Ritz wrote:
I imagine you wouldn't even have to flatten them. Just cut in half and nail them in opposite directions, one facing up and the other facing down with the edges inside. You'd want a layer of flats on the edges to make sure water drains at that point.


Most roofing is done this way here, with what are known as arabic tiles.  A double layer is used on the lower edges which kicks rain upwards away from the walls as, in general, the old houses here don't have guttering.  I love the idea of using cans like this.  
 
Posts: 1
Location: South Florida
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I save and shred all my mail including envelopes, inserts, junk mail, flyers, delivery menus left on my door, unwanted catalogues, etc. Some of it ended up in the compost but the last time I moved I saved bags and bags and BAGS (yes that much) of it for months before I moved and used it to pack my boxes. It took quite a lot of the shredded paper to compact and cushion the nooks and crannies in the packed boxes of my items but it was really effective and I had plenty to go around. You'd be surprised how much that accumulates, even if you get most of your bills electronically! I used it mainly when packing my kitchen items, including glassware, plates and collectibles and didnt have any issues. This not only saved me tons of money because all the packing material was free but was a good way to reuse what already would have been discarded. After I unpacked I simply recycled the shredded material which I would have done anyway. The slim padded envelopes that Amazon sends smaller-ish items in are also great for packing/storing glassware and other fragile items.

I love all these other ideas though, so great to read all these examples of conscious consumption! <3
Storage-container-using-shredded-mail-as-insulation-for-breakables.jpg
Storage container using shredded mail as insulation for breakables
Storage container using shredded mail as insulation for breakables
 
pollinator
Posts: 431
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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Being a builder i get my grubby hands on lots of windows, wood and tiles. I saved enough to make a tiny house.
People give me lots of stuff. I learned from another scrounger it's essential to always say yes if people ask you if you want something and collect it immediately. Even if you don't want it. The reason is that next time they will think of you first again. You MUST become person who they think of to contact if they want rid of something. Sometimes it is bad stuff they want to get rid off, but the next time it can be great. Anyway, what's nicer than a trip to the skid/tip? They got the best stuff there!
 
Posts: 78
Location: London, UK
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I often see broken umbrellas rammed into street bins (their frame broken by gusty winds no doubt).  I carry a razor blade with me and so cut the fabric free from its metal frame.  I use the rainproof material to line the inside of hanging baskets (keeping the soil in place).  Also it comes in handy at picnics as sitting bases;  they go underneath whatever cloth/blanket to sit on (handy when the ground is not that dry).

I'm always on the lookout for things people throw away that I can use e.g. of course recycling depots where people just dump all their other stuff and even on pavements e.g. elastic bands, nails/screws....I've accumulated small boxes of them without having to buy any!!
 
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We wash and reuse our zip lock bags. While we were doing dishes the other night, my wife brought it to my attention that the bag she was washing had the date on it of 2007. We had no idea that we were THAT bad.
 
Posts: 44
Location: Salt Spring Island BC (zone 8-ish, yes really!)
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Oh, I do wish I had some mini-blinds to cut up!  I've been hoarding all manner of plastic containers - the clear ones for planting seeds, and the white ones for cutting up for plant labels. I have about 400 perennial food plant starts in pots at the moment so I am going through a lot of labels. Big pop bottles are another thing on my wish list as I cut the top part off and poke holes in the bottom and use them as pots. I was keeping the cut off tops for a while but there were so many I would have had funnels to last multiple lifetimes, so having put a stack of them aside for use I am now taking the remainder to the recycling depot.

I have a derelict little boat in my yard that someone gave to my daughter's boyfriend, and he decided it was too beat up to fix up after all. It's on a trailer that I plan to use as a base for a moveable chicken house. Once the boat is off the trailer I figure I will either fill it with soil and use it as a planter, or expand my red wiggler population and use it as a worm composter. The house that we built for the geese (they don't use it) is built partly with the floor board from an old zodiac (inflatable rubber boat); I still have the rubber, the old boat doesn't hold air any more but the rubber should be good for something - maybe roofing a small building or even just smothering weeds.

I have a collection of interesting old sinks that one day will get turned into a water feature/sculpture in the yard.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 3894
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gary calery wrote:We wash and reuse our zip lock bags. While we were doing dishes the other night, my wife brought it to my attention that the bag she was washing had the date on it of 2007. We had no idea that we were THAT bad.


We wash ziplocks too, my sisters are horrified.... My mom is on a trip, I noticed her pajamas were packed in a ziplock labeled "sauteed mushrooms" which is a fun visual! We do puzzles, and to keep them under control, put the pieces into ziplocks. I sent some to the thrift store recently, wonder what other people will think of their puzzle being in a bag labeled "mangoes 2015"
 
Ruth Meyers
pollinator
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Pearl Sutton wrote:
We do puzzles, and to keep them under control, put the pieces into ziplocks. I sent some to the thrift store recently, wonder what other people will think of their puzzle being in a bag labeled "mangoes 2015"



Jigsaw puzzle pieces are notorious wanderers.  They like to hop off the table and explore under furniture.  Their box homes are sometimes flimsy or just beat up; but you can't replace it - you need the full picture.  My dad stored the pieces in a large ziplock, or just a plastic bag and a twist-tie, and tucked that back into the box.  When my children were small, we opened one of those boxes to start assembly, and they asked about the plastic bag.  My mate at the time was quick with the quip:  "To keep them crispy, of course."
 
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A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
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