Earth Day, coming up April 22, often comes with reminders to reduce the demands on landfills. Many items such as paper, cardboard, glass, and plastic can be reused or recycled. Recycling bins are located behind the archery building in Preston. Items can also be recycled in one’s own home.
When Terri Linden, Relief Society President in the Fairview 1st Ward, saw a kids’ show on television many years ago in which people recycled everything they could for one year. She was the Cub master at the time and thought that recycling would be a good project for the Scouts to do.
“So I taught a lesson on recycling, emphasizing it was one way to help save the earth by not taking up the land, plus it was economical to recycle and would also save money,” said Terri. “I grew up with the old saying ‘Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.’”
Terri has been recycling ever since, especially when she learned that the recycling bins, which used to take everything from plastic to paper, don’t take them all anymore. “Now they only take #1 and #2 plastics, newspaper, paper, metal and aluminum cans,” she said. “I have had to implement ways to do something with the rest of the items I have rather than put them in the trash can and fill up the landfill area.”
Following are some of her ideas for household recycling:
“My neighbors have chickens so I give the cardboard and the foam egg cartons to them as they can be used again and again,” said Terri. “Also, the cardboard egg cartons, they can be used to start seedlings in them.”
Terri instructs that when the seeds begin to sprout, the cartons can be cut apart and planted them in the ground, The carton creates mulch around the plant as it disintegrates.
Seeds grow well in yogurt cups as well. “They can be kept year after year,” she said. “If you buy flowers or plants, save the plastic pots and reuse them when starting seeds indoors.”
Two-liter pop bottles
A fun way for kids to learn about recycling is to cut plastic pop bottles in half to create a pot. For a hydroponic pot, run a wick through the hole where the lid was, put coconut coir and seeds on top of it and set the whole thing in the bottom half of the pop bottle, which is filled with water.
They are good for storing water, as well. Linden cleans the bottle with soap, rinses thoroughly, fills with water and adds one or two drops of unscented bleach for drinking water. The water can also be used to flush the toilet, wash dishes, or to bath in, said Linden.
Newspaper can be used for cleaning windows as it keeps them from streaking compared to using a rag. “Newspaper can also be used for compost or a weed barrier in-between plants. Use several for thickness and at the end of the growing season, just till the paper into the soil,” said Linden.
Cardboard boxes can be used for storage. “They also make great toys for kids and pets. Who hasn’t seen a child have more fun playing in the box that a toy came in (than the toy itself)? Kids can get creative with them and when you are done, take them to the recycling bin,” she said.
After the growing season has ended, harvest the seeds, Linden suggests. “My marigolds reseed every year and rather then buy more seeds, I collect them. You can do this with flowers and vegetable seeds. Then you have them when you are ready to plant them in an egg carton or yogurt cup the next year.” Recognize, however, that the resulting plants may vary from the plant it came from due to cross pollination.
Denim Jean Quilt
Worn-out or clothing that no longer fits can be repurposed rather than thrown away.
“I save my family’s old clothing and make quilts out of them. I cut any usable parts into three-inch squares and save them until I have enough to piece together. The kids like looking at the pieces and remembering the clothes that they used to wear. I do the same with old jeans but I use larger pieces of denim and piece them together,” said Linden. “I keep the completed denim quilts in our van so that I have them when we go on picnics, to the beach or watch fireworks. I can just throw them on the ground. They are great for those kinds of activities because you don’t have to use any matting for the quilt. They are durable and can be thrown in the washer when dirty.”
Linden encourages families to recycle.
“Each of us is responsible for the impact we have on our environment. Take some time to look around your home and see how you can help by reusing or recycling. It’s easier than you think!” she said.