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Three New Year’s Resolutions to Help the Planet

Each year, many of us resolve to lose weight, exercise more and basically take better care of ourselves. This year, why not resolve to take better care of the planet with these tips for recycling and reuse.   1. Start a personal recycling program. Check with your local municipal government to find out if it […]

chalkboard Each year, many of us resolve to lose weight, exercise more and basically take better care of ourselves. This year, why not resolve to take better care of the planet with these tips for recycling and reuse.   1. Start a personal recycling program. Check with your local municipal government to find out if it offers free recycling. If not, inquire if your local waste management companies offer free or reduced price recycling. If push comes to shove, just about every community has a free recycling center where you can drop off recyclable bottles, cans and paper.   2. Reduce the amount of paper and plastic you consume. Start by making the switch from paper to electronic billing, payments and bank statements. Also register with directmail.com or dmachoice.com to remove your address from junk mail lists. You can also consider subscribing to the digital versions of your favorite magazines and newspapers. California has already banned plastic shopping bags, but you can enact your own personal ban on plastic by investing in a few durable, reusable (and washable) canvas shopping bags. Replace cases of bottled drinking water with a water filter for the faucet or filtered water pitcher and reusable water bottle or canteen.   3. Find more ways to reuse things around your house. For example, empty 2 liter soda bottles cut in half make great garden planters. Repurpose old jeans into oven mitts and last year's sweaters into this year's scarves, boot toppers and coffee cup cozies. Along with recycling and waste reduction, reuse decreases how much waste is sent to landfills. It also saves energy and conserves and incinerator natural resources, such as water, all while reducing pollution and limiting the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.

Last Minute Gift Ideas from Upcycled Materials

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and if you still haven’t finished your shopping, you’re probably shaking in your Santa boots. Never fear, we’ve collected a few last minute DIY gift ideas, and you won’t even have to leave your house. Check out the step-by-step instructions for each below. Coffee Cozy Teacup Candle […]

diy gifts banner

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and if you still haven't finished your shopping, you're probably shaking in your Santa boots. Never fear, we've collected a few last minute DIY gift ideas, and you won't even have to leave your house. Check out the step-by-step instructions for each below.

Coffee Cozy

Teacup Candle

Sock Monkey

Valet Tray

Music Mogul Will.I.Am Makes Upcycling Even Cooler

When you think of music mogul/songwriter/producer and leader of The Black Eyed Peas Will.I.Am, mega upcycler is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. But the fact is, the musician has been in the sustainability game for a while now. In 2013, he teamed up  with The Coca-Cola Company to create Ekocycle, an […]

william When you think of music mogul/songwriter/producer and leader of The Black Eyed Peas Will.I.Am, mega upcycler is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. But the fact is, the musician has been in the sustainability game for a while now. In 2013, he teamed up  with The Coca-Cola Company to create Ekocycle, an upcycle initiative to educate consumers about waste and recycling and to support a more sustainable environment by turning trash into cool and funky new treasures. The Ekocycle brand features a diverse line of products -- from electronics accessories to clothing. beats   Beats by Dre headphones made from 31 percent of upcycled waste plastic and aluminum         levis     Levi’s limited edition ‘501 waist-less jean’ contain an average of eight different recycled plastic bottles.       suit   New Zealand-based designers H Brothers introduced a new line of fashion-forward men’s suits made out of rPET, a fabric made using recycled plastic bottles.       printer   The Ekocycle 3D Printer uses recycled plastic cartridges from repurposed Coke bottles.

Wrap It Up With Reusable Materials

Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, which accounts 25 million tons of extra garbage. If every American family wrapped just three presents in reuseable materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. And if every family reused just two feet of ribbon, the amount of ribbon […]

Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's, which accounts 25 million tons of extra garbage. If every American family wrapped just three presents in reuseable materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. And if every family reused just two feet of ribbon, the amount of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. Check out these cool ideas for wrapping gifts with materials you already have lying around the house.  

Wrap a wine bottle in a dish towel

dishcloth Use old maps, comics or pages from a magazine to wrap gifts

maps Give your gift giving some pizzazz with buttons or even paint sample cards

paint chips Use fabric from old clothes or accessories to wrap gifts

cloth

Five Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Recycler

My sister lives in Oakland, CA, where plastic bags — the ones you get at the grocery store or shopping mall — have been banned and paper bags will cost you upwards of 25 cents each, which means residents have to become creative in finding ways to get their purchases from the store to their […]

My sister lives in Oakland, CA, where plastic bags -- the ones you get at the grocery store or shopping mall -- have been banned and paper bags will cost you upwards of 25 cents each, which means residents have to become creative in finding ways to get their purchases from the store to their homes. So this holiday season, I decided to gift her a set of super strong and machine washable canvas bags to make the task a little easier. I was even able to have it monogrammed. Check out these other cool gift ideas for the recycler in your life.   tote         Mint coral canvas bag from the Cute Kiwi             compost         Composting starter kit from Drip Irrigation                       bin         Step-n-Sort stainless steel recycle bin from Bed Bath & Beyond               straw         Glass drinking straws from EcoStraw               shopping cart       Grocery Cart Helper from Reuseit.com    

How To Turn Last Year’s Holiday Cards Into This Year’s Decorations

Every year you send and receive holiday greeting cards, and every year, you add to the collection. If you’re one of those people who can’t bear to part a single card, check out these creative ways to display last year’s greetings while decorating for this year’s holiday season. Use ribbon to create a waterfall of […]

Every year you send and receive holiday greeting cards, and every year, you add to the collection. If you're one of those people who can’t bear to part a single card, check out these creative ways to display last year's greetings while decorating for this year's holiday season.

Use ribbon to create a waterfall of cards

ribbon Use clothes pins to creatively display your cards in a wreath

IMG_8732 Playfully arrange your cards in the shape of a tree

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Or use the cards as ornaments on your tree card tree Consider this: The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

Use Wood Chips From Turnip Green to Make This DIY Dreidel

The traditional Chanukah dreidel (spinning top) is a throwback to the times when the Greek armies of King Antiochus controlled the Holy Land and passed a series of laws outlawing the study of the Torah. The Jews were compelled to take their Torah learning “underground.” Jewish children would secretly study their texts and then pull […]

The traditional Chanukah dreidel (spinning top) is a throwback to the times when the Greek armies of King Antiochus controlled the Holy Land and passed a series of laws outlawing the study of the Torah. The Jews were compelled to take their Torah learning “underground.” Jewish children would secretly study their texts and then pull out their spinning tops and pretend to be playing games when they saw someone coming.

Cute and Cozy Upcycled Pet Beds

Owning a pet can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be expensive. Cut some of the costs associated with pet ownership by upcycling old furniture and household items into cute and cozy pet beds. Turn an old hard cover suitcase or briefcase into a cool and cozy pet bed. Learn how here. Turn an […]

Owning a pet can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be expensive. Cut some of the costs associated with pet ownership by upcycling old furniture and household items into cute and cozy pet beds.

Turn an old hard cover suitcase or briefcase into a cool and cozy pet bed. Learn how here. Suitcase pet bed Turn an end table into a comfy resting place for your pooch. Learn how here. End table pet bed Watch and learn how to turn a spare tire into a bed for your favorite feline. Tire pet bed Save that outdated television from the landfill. Turn it into a pet bed instead. Learn how here. TV pet bed An old dresser can be upcycled into a number of things, including an awesome pet bed. Learn how here. Drawer pet bed

How to Upcycle Those Plastic Halloween Pumpkins

Of all the Halloween decorations, the plastic pumpkin is often the most quickly discarded. These dollar store decorations are great for collecting and dispensing candy, but after trick-or-treating is over, the pumpkins can easily end up in landfills where they take hundreds of years to degrade. Instead of tossing them, turn them into treasures with […]

Of all the Halloween decorations, the plastic pumpkin is often the most quickly discarded. These dollar store decorations are great for collecting and dispensing candy, but after trick-or-treating is over, the pumpkins can easily end up in landfills where they take hundreds of years to degrade. Instead of tossing them, turn them into treasures with a little paint and paper.

Use metallic spray paint to turn old plastic pumpkins into modern decorative pieces.

gold pumpkin

Wrapping paper decoupage gives pumpkins a festive look for the winter holidays.

christmas Cotton wrapped pumpkins make perfect snowmen.

snowmen Terra cotta colored paint turns plastic pumpkins into garden planters.

planter

Ghoulishly Cool Upcycled Costumes

Halloween is a great time to test your upcycling powers. Why pay good money for a store bought costume that will probably be worn only once before ending up in a trash bin? Instead – with a little creativity – you can turn used stuff you have around the house (or that you pick up […]

Halloween is a great time to test your upcycling powers. Why pay good money for a store bought costume that will probably be worn only once before ending up in a trash bin? Instead - with a little creativity - you can turn used stuff you have around the house (or that you pick up at Turnip Green Creative Reuse) into the coolest, candy-yielding costumes ever! Best part: these are projects you and your little ghouls can do together. Check out these examples. Turns out my family was  upcycling in our house before we even knew what upcycling was. When my then 10-year-old decided she wasn't too old to go trick or treating after all, we whipped up this last minute costume with paper plates, gift tissue paper and a trash bag.

skittles costume A painted box and old vinyl records turn your little darling into the neighborhood DJ.

DJ costume Keep those empty toilet paper rolls. Your Benjamin Franklin will need them for his wig.

They also make for a great Mac and Cheese costume when painted yellow.

ben franklin costume Here's a costume that mirrors real life: a laundry basket and old clothes

make a great costume for your dirt magnets.

laundry basket costume Martha has the right idea with this T-shirt-turned-skeleton costume.

skeleton costume
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