Reuse Your Way to a Healthier Life

recycling bins
Flickr photo by net efekt

A few weeks ago, my daughter's preschool sent a note home asking us to bring in junk or recyclable items for an art project. So my daughter and I scoured and turned up lots of things: shiny metal bolts, pink pieces of yarn, seashells, blue twisty ties, random other assorted household things that to me were truly nothing but ... junk.

When I picked her up at school a few days later, the teacher had organized all the "junk" into little plastic trays by color. It was the most beautiful collection of items I had ever seen, something out of a Martha Stewart magazine. I really wished I'd taken a picture. Turns out, the kids used those items for an art project on paper, and when they were finished, the recycled items were pulled off the paper and went right back into the bins for next time!


It was a great lesson for my daughter, and an excellent reminder for me to be more mindful of reusing to minimize our impact on the earth. Sometimes, like the art project, the simplest things make the biggest impact, if not on the landfills alone, but on our sensibilities to make a change. And that makes me feel happier -- the best kind of healthy there is!

Here are some ways I'm reusing "junk" around our home:

1. Composting. Tossing apple peels, dryer lint, coffee grinds, and assorted other natural leftovers into the pile has reduced my curbside garbage by about half each week and feeds my vegetables and herbs for lots of benefits later.

2. Water. My kids are famous for not finishing their water at lunch and dinner. I'm constantly finding day-old half-filled water bottles around the house, especially during sports season. So the leftover goes right into the watering can for my plants to drink up.

3. Plastic containers, like for yogurt, sugar, and rice, make great collect-alls for my daughter's art supplies.

4. Scrap wood. As fixer-uppers, we have an endless supply. It's amazing how many fun kid things you can make with the help of a saw, hammer, and few tacking nails: railroad bridges, tracks for cars, blocks for tracing on paper.

There are probably many more that I'm not even thinking of, but now it's your turn to add to the list ...

How do you help to lessen the impact on the Earth, either by recycling, using less energy, or changing your actions?

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