Friday, October 8, 2010

Re-Purposing old Fabric

Like many people, I have fabric left over from old projects. As long as one has room to store it properly, there's no problem keeping such items for possible future use. In this case, I had downsized from a big 3 level duplex into a smaller apartment, but loved the material I had made into curtains.
Several months ago I realized my car ceiling was coming loose, and it soon was hanging in shreds. Some investigation revealed that it would cost at least $300 to replace the "headliner" (as it's called) in my wagon. Since the car is 12 years old, and I plan to keep it a while longer, I decided to do it myself. That way, I could use the beautiful fabric I had in my closet, rather than sticking to the boring beige that came with the car. It's not like I'd get much trade-in on such an old vehicle anyways!!
I got instructions over the internet, and took my time over Labor Day Weekend so I wouldn't be rushed. It was a lot of work, but I'm thrilled with the result. I still have to finish details, like reinstalling the light fixtures, but I have quite a feeling of accomplishment, and more room in my closet. It's so much better to put the cloth to good use than to have it sitting in a bag on a shelf!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Secret Life of Garbage

I've been watching a show called "Trash Inc.: The Secret Life of Garbage" on CNBC TV. Wow, what an eye opener. In spite of our growing awareness of the need to recycle, trash is still a huge problem around the world. Even though American companies are finding profitable ways to make carpet and cloth (polyester) out of plastic bottles, Americans only recycle about 20% of their bottles, so the companies have to import most of the plastic from other countries like Canada and Mexico.

The show gave examples of beaches in Pacific islands like Hawaii that are virtually made of plastic! It is several inches deep, some ground down to the size of sand. They showed a bit of "the Great Pacific Garb age Patch" which is bigger than the continental U.S. and is estimated to contain 31/2 million tons of plastic floating just under the surface. This plastic wasn't thrown off ships- it's washed down from roads and river beds of U.S. and Asia. Fish mistake it for food and try to eat it. (Reminded of another documentary that showed how sea birds' chicks are starving to death with their bellies full of plastic.)

Whoosh- and the land fills! We have made great strides in making them safer, but they are still so huge! China's are overflowing, the government can't keep up with the need.

All this makes me more resolute about recycling my own trash as much as possible, as well as helping others cut back on waste and unnecessary possessions. The more we can live simply, and without clutter, the less we will add to pollution of the land, water and air. I'm trying to cut back in little ways too, like using old toothbrushes as scrubbing tools in kitchen and bath, or finding out how long I can reuse a "disposable" razor! (It's turning out to be quite a lot!)

We could save so much more by not using so many throw away items. Bring your own cup to work, or use a metal bottle or canteen while hiking or biking. And of course- if you use anything plastic- recycle, recycle, recycle!