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Archive for January, 2011

Food Scraps = Compost

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

So last week found out how we could turn out food scraps into veggie broth, but the real solution here is composting, or vermicomposting if you like pets. I’ve been vermicomposting for about 3 years now and I will never stop. I have seen the light and will never return to the dark. Ignorance is not bliss! And so forth. Anyway, speaking from personal experience I know the idea of having a bunch of worms around sounds smelly, messy, inconvenient, and just plain gross, but the reality is they’re almost the opposite of those things. Once you get the kinks out there shouldn’t be a smell issue, it takes little time and effort to keep it up, and it’s incredibly rewarding. Just by starting our vermicompost we’ve cut our trash by at least half, not to mention the stink that comes from rotting food waste in your garbage.

So, how do you do it? Well here’s a good guide to starting things off, via The Herb Gardener:

http://theherbgardener.blogspot.com/2008/05/how-to-start-vermicomposting-bin.html

All you need is one or two plastic bins, a drill, some newspaper and, of course, some worms. Keep in mind that they are not the kind of worms you’ll find in your yard but ones you’ll either have to find at a bait shop, pet shop or maybe through your local cooperative extension office (http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/ – a great resource in general, BTW). The latter is how we got our last batch of worms, after having moved to Portland, Maine and passing on our first batch to neighbors.

As for follow-up questions, here’s a good FAQs page from Santa Cruz County:

http://www.compostsantacruzcounty.org/Home_Composting/Worm_Composting/worm_faq.htm

And, as always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

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Food Scraps = Veggie Broth

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m going to go out on a limb and say food scraps are a huge source of waste in almost every household, whether they’re going down the drain or in the garbage.  Regarding the former, Re-Nest had a post recently where they discussed the value of a garbage disposal after having decided not to install one in their new house.  I for one have always loved my various garbage disposals when I’ve been fortunate(?) enough to have one in my apartment, but I am now starting to realize how much of a crutch it can be. Now this article is starting to make me question whether I should be using it at all.  For one thing it makes composting optional (when the options are limited to throwing out food scraps and potentially stinking up your apartment and composting, composting becomes much more appealing), which really shouldn’t be the case.

What I’m trying to lead into here, as the title suggests, is an article via Wise Bread from Domestik Goddess on making veggie broth from your food scraps. I’ve always wondered what it would take to replace those little cubes and apparently the Goddess has an answer for me.

Re-Nest: Living Without A Garbage Disposal

Domestik Goddess: DIY Vegetable Broth from Scraps

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Creative Reuse: Cooking Fat = Oil Lamp

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Maybe I’m weird, but I’ve always wondered what I could do with my cooking fat.  Now that I live in a vegetarian household I don’t have that problem (benefit?), but for those of you looking at that can of bacon fat and wondering what to do with it when it tops up Atomic Shrimp is here (via Lifehacker), with a solution: an oil lamp!

DIY Oil Lamp from Recycled Cooking Fats [DIY]

Not exactly an easy project, but could be a cool project for a weekend.  There could very well be an easier way to do this, too.  Any thoughts?

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ReadyMade’s Top 20 Projects of 2010

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Etched Bulk Jar LabelsReuse-Friendly magazine/website ReadyMade has posted their top 20 projects of 2010.  Not the easiest projects, per se, but certainly motivational.

http://www.readymade.com/magazine/slideshow/top_20_projects_of_2010

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Reuse Resource: Freecycle

January 20, 2011 1 comment

One of our favorite resources for creative reuse is freecycle.org.  While not the prettiest or fanciest of websites, it is an indispensable resource for those looking to forgo buying something new when used will do 99% of the time – not to mention it’s cheaper.  In fact, as the name implies, everything on freecycle is…FREE!!!  How it works is you go to their website, look up your local freecycle chapter, and sign up for emails.  Next thing you know you’ll be getting emails with either WANTED, OFFER, or TAKEN in the subject, referring respectively to something someone wants, something being offered, or something that’s been taken (pretty straightforward, right?).  If you’re looking for, say, a vacuum just send off an email to the freecycle email address for your group with the correct format and wait and see if anyone out there has what you’re looking for.

Now, of course you can change your email preferences to whatever you can handle – for instance, if getting 10-20 additional emails a day doesn’t excite you you can subscribe to the “daily digest” or just not get any email, using the service just to post emails when you want something or want to offer something.

I’ve used the service in both Santa Monica and Portland, ME and have nothing but good things to say about it.  Sure, there will be the occasional flakey respondent who never shows up to pick something up, but that comes with the territory.  If you ask me, that’s a small price to pay for a free resource for everything from coat hangers to above ground pools and treadmills (no joke).

Any crazy freecycle finds out there?

http://www.freecycle.org/

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Creative Reuse: Junk Mail = Food Funnel

January 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Even if you have removed yourself from junk mail lists (you can do so here: http://www.directmail.com/directory/mail_preference/) and gone to paperless billing on your accounts, there’s no avoiding getting unwanted mail almost every day of the week.  Today we found this article, via Re-Nest, on one way to repurpose that mail:

Repurpose Your Junk Mail In The Kitchen

A lot of the commenters are pretty disgusted by the idea of using envelopes as a funnel but we say chill the f out, people, it’s just an envelope.  Personally, the most use I get out of my junk mail is for making quick to-do or grocery lists.  Why waste a clean sheet of paper when you’ve got a white, otherwise useless envelope sitting in today’s mail.

Anyone out there have other creative reuses for junk mail?

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Welcome!

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Welcome to Recyclopedia! Recyclopedia aims to be a resource for how to recycle – or, more appropriately, upcycle – anything and everything. More specifically, our focus will be on household items but we won’t define any limits.

Things will be a bit rough around the edges until we get into full gear, but please bear with us. In the meantime, please feel free to send any relevant links our way, and if you’re interested in seeing where we’re headed why not subscribe to our RSS feed?

See you soon!

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