Monday, March 29, 2010


Wikipedia has an article on reuse. It gives a pretty good definition:
Reuse is to use an item more than once. This includes conventional reuse where the item is used again for the same function, and new-life reuse where it is used for a new function. In contrast, recycling is the breaking down of the used item into raw materials which are used to make new items...
It then goes on to economic effects, business reuse, and programs for reusing materials. This is all well and good on a global scale, but is not particularly useful for a personal or household level. For our purpose reuse will be discussed at that lower level. Reusing demolition leftovers, old yard stuff, and household items can save a lot of money, while keeping the garbage man a little less busy.

 Here are some smaller items I reused for my garden and landscape in 2009:

Can you find the reused items in these photos(some are hidden and not visible, but are still there):

Without going into detail, there is a lot of items in those photos that were onced used elsewhere. Items you can not see include the old wood from my swimming pool frame(that is now being used for the pond frame and other structural places), old PVC pipe, and homemade compost that was at one time paper plates, food, sawdust from board cuttings, and many other things(which is now in the soil and planters).

Here is a list of things I commonly "reuse":
  • ALL wood or anything made of wood
  • old tree and shrub branches(for firewood)
  • screws, nuts, bolts, and any hardware that is still in good shape
  • plastic containers(when I have too many, I will recycle them)
  • old garbage pales/cans/baskets and most containers
  • plastic bags(If not contaminated with food or chemicals)
  • styro-foam(For insulation or to lighten garden soil)
  • Anything else that might have a use
Basically, the only thing that end up in my garbage is unusable plastic, such as dirty plastic baggies.

For composting I use anything that was at one time part of a plant or tree. The only animal items I put into my compost are egg shells and hair(from myself or my dogs).

Here is a list of common items I use for compost:
  • ALL food scraps that are not meat or contain grease/fat
  • paper plates
  • yard trimmings(except branches, which I use for firewood)
  • dryer lint
  • newspapers(not too much, I recycle most of them)
  • cardboard and non-plastic packaging
Between my normal purchasing, reuse and recycle practices, I will have about one or two plastic shopping bags of trash, every three weeks. When I take my trash can out for pickup, there is usually only one bag in it. I know people who acquire that much trash in a day or two.


  1. Nice guide about how to make a pond. This blog is great and informative with nice pictures to go along with it. I was looking for pool contractors (Chicago-based) to make me a garden pond. But I guess I'll try doing it myself, after reading your blog. I wanted a pool on our backyard back then, coz pools (Chicago) are popular in our state before.

  2. I am happy that you could spend a day relaxing in the garden. Mosses are so beautiful on the tree. I'm so jealous! It 's so nice and a sure sign that fairies live in the garden! I love all the plump buds look very promising here, and primroses are a bit 'plant wonderfully satisfying.

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