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Going green doesn’t have to cost the earth

Looking at some of my posts, it might be easy to think that going green means buying loads of new stuff. The truth is, you really don’t have to. In fact, more often than not, going green is about not buying stuff.

Two words. Reduce and Reuse!

Our Runner Beans needed a trellis, so we made one with leftover wood!

Our garden is coming on apace now. Our runner beans that we started off in our new growing house are now planted out:

Bean Trellis

I had to construct some sort of trellis for the beans to grow up and cling on to. Last year I had some thin poles strapped together with twine, this was not altogether very effective. So this year, I wanted a more permanent structure.

My lovely husband had a think, and came up with the idea of reusing left over wood that had been bought as a base for our growing house. All he needed to do was saw some wee bits to go in the middle, and screw it together. We can add some twine between the wood to give the plants more to hang on to if needed.

My Eldest really enjoyed helping daddy make this and was even allowed a go with putting in screws using daddy’s electric screwdriver! She told the nursery ladies about this and was very proud of it, even learning the word trellis as part of the activity.

I will post photos over the coming months to let you know how effective this structure is. Hopefully it’ll last us a few years! Fortunately it is moveable as it’s just anchored into the earth.

Use the local library for recipe books – save cash and resources!

My mother-in-law often uses the local library. This time, she came back with an armful of books about cooking healthily. Here’s one that I actually sat down and read from cover to cover! Loved it.

Recipe Book

I’ll admit that the library is not usually the place I’d look for recipe books. I’ve often believed that you have to own a recipe book, otherwise there was no point. But when I stop to think about it, I mostly trawl the internet to find new recipes, and then don’t tend to come back to them unless they’re particularly awesome and I save them to my favourites.

So what’s to stop me borrowing a book from the library and simply taking a photo of a recipe for the same purpose?

  • It means that I get the joy of using a real book,
  • I am utilising the library and hopefully helping save them from being lost forever through under-usage.
  • I save space in my kitchen by not buying a new book, but I still get the joy of a new recipe to use again and again!
  • Books themselves are usually made with plastic, either in the paper, cover, or binding. It’s not something that you would usually think about with books, but the sad truth is that nearly everything in life has plastic involved somewhere along the line. One of the problems with plastic is that it doesn’t go away. By borrowing a book, you are not contributing to extra plastic being used.

Homemade bags using leftover material

I wanted to make presents for some lovely friends who are having babies. We don’t have tons of money, so I decided that I’d probably have to make something.

I love bags, and life with children involves lots of bags. However, plastic bags are a no-no for me. So I decided to teach myself to use my sewing machine (a hand-on from my granny) and make some bags out of some leftover curtain material:

Homemade Bags

What do you think? I’ve really enjoyed the process of discovery of new skills and endless possibilities that come with them! I’m a complete beginner so I’m fairly chuffed with making anything at all presentable!

Do let me know of your best makes and ideas! I’m halfway through making some bunting for Eldest so I’ll post a picture when that’s done… and I’ve a secret project for a new baby that I’ll post later in the year.

Reusing plants? Don’t be afraid to ask for a cutting. Save money and time!

Ok so it’s not strictly a reduce and reuse item, but rhubarb is something that you should never have to buy. It’s super easy to grow, and because it grows so well, you should be able to have a cutting from a friend (or relative!) to plonk into your garden:

Rhubarb

I literally have not done anything to this rhubarb to help it grow. We’ve had it a couple of years and subjected it to many moves around the garden (you’re not meant to do this!) and every year it has produced very acceptable, fresh, free fruit!

Rhubarb’s a great thing to freeze and use in the winter either by itself with custard or to fill out other fruity dishes eg apple crumble (mmmmmmmm).

Reducing and reusing is an attitude, and the small changes add up

I don’t apologise for the slightly random nature of this post. The idea that I really wanted to convey is that whatever we are doing in life, whether it’s cooking, gardening, sewing or a plethora of other things, we have a choice to make.

We can either buy new stuff, or choose to conserve the earth’s resources (and save money) by reusing stuff. I suppose the principle is simply that whatever it is, think before you buy. Do you need it? Could you make/ borrow it instead?

This has been a fairly life-changing thought for us. I’ve always loved the idea of “make do and mend” and now we’re living this as a principle. It’s amazing how many new areas we’re finding (without really trying) to just make small changes, and they’re really starting to add up.

It’s challenging, yes, but so satisfying when you achieve your goal and get what you need or want, but don’t have to buy anything. We’re finding it quite fun as well! Knowing that the planet is that little bit more cared for, and you’ve done something rather than nothing, really does feel good.

 

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