In today's age we all have a solid grasp on reducing, reusing, upcycling and recycling. A great starting point, of course, is to aim to reduce what we consume. Buy less and try to avoid unnecessary purchases. But with children, we are offered a plethora of products to package up their childhood and as parents we need to get creative to show them how much fun life is without all that stuff
. My girls and I take extra steps around home to reuse and upcycle wherever possible. Here are some ways we include “reduce, reuse, upcycle and recycle” in our home.
Yes, with three small girls artwork is a very common feature in our household. My girls, one in particular, LOVE doing artwork. I think my middle child is going to be an artist when she grows up and in the meantime she needs to practice… a LOT! When it comes to artwork, I have found that I have to think about and prepare what the girls will do, prior to them starting. This reduces overall waste and use of materials. I also encourage them to upcycle things that may alternatively be thrown out or recycled - like cutting out pictures from cereal boxes etc. And because we do so much artwork, I encourage the girls to use their final pieces as gifts for family and friends. We sometimes even use drawings as wrapping paper or cards.
Many years ago, I learnt from a friend the art of making little boxes out of paper. I once cleaned out my entire old scrapbooking draw and used all the papers to make little boxes. These boxes are super cute and can be made from old scrapbooking papers, newspaper, magazines or even kids' artwork. I still use my boxes today to store all sorts of things. My office draws are much tidier with everything in its special box. Recently, I decided to make some with my girls too. They thought it was a great little craft and now they can use their boxes to store their treasures in. This is a great way to upcycle any paper no longer needed in the home. My eldest really likes her new boxes, so she was extra happy with the idea - maybe she will be the organised one!
If you have kids like me, you've probably noticed that clothes don't really last long. Although if we spend the extra money and buy really good quality items, clothes do tend have a longer life span. Luckily I can then pass these items down from my eldest all the way down to my youngest. However, I don't know about everyone else, but with three girls, I certainly can't afford to purchase high quality clothes all the time. Instead, when their clothes get stained or somehow gain a hole or two, we upcycle these pieces into a new item. The girls love dressing their babies in their old clothes. Recently we sat down and cut up old pants and tops and have turned them into art/cooking aprons for the girls. Cutting up all the original pieces into squares and sewing them back together. This will hopefully have an extra advantage and reduce the stains on future clothes. Fingers crossed!
Brown Paper Bags
I order some of my weekly vegetables from an organic online supplier. They deliver it to my door in a big cardboard box (which is often used for storage) and some of the smaller vegetables come in brown paper bags. I love these brown paper bags because they can be used for so many things. Because my brown paper bags come with food, I can reuse these bags for food use. Alternatively we also use these bags for… yes you guessed it… artwork! They can also be used in the garden, as seed planters or plant pots to give as gifts. Finally when they can no longer be used we put them into our compost. Just remember though, if you can purchase vegetable without any bags, whether it be plastic or brown paper, it is best for the environment to avoid both.
These are just a few ways we reuse & upcycle. What sort of things do you do around your home? Kids are incredibly different in their interests. It would be great to hear about other areas where you have made recycling fun and personally, I would love more ideas!
http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/carrierbagsmaterialmatters0 http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/councils/kidsactivities.cfm http://www.origamiinstructions.com/origamibox.html