SAGE BLOG

January 7, 2015   Posted by: sageadmin

Repurposing Household Items for Environmental Stewardship

Repurposing Household Items for Environmental Stewardship

by Stephanie Camba

Because the earth and creativity, I would like to share some tips about DIY projects, repurposing household items, and examples of how I have applied them in real life. This isn’t a how-to-do as much as it is a how-to-(re)think post. There are many resources you can google for most projects, but thinking outside the box for what our material haves/needs/wants and where to get them/how to make them is a way of life and an unlearning/mind shifting I hope we can promote and practice together.

Things to ask yourself or think about before reusing materials and creating DIY projects:

i. Do I really need to buy a new thing? Do I really need to throw this old thing out or is there a way I can repurpose, recreate this thing?

Observe the shape and sizes of items you may be getting rid of. From furniture, clothing, plastic and glass containers/bottles, cardboard, paper (flyers, pamphlets, etc.).

ii. Is this safe?

Consider whether what you are creating is stable and also healthy. For instance, reusing plastic containers for food have risks of leaking plasticides and chemicals into your food. Do your research, especially when working with plastic and anything that might not be made of sturdy material.

iii. Are there resources out there that can help me do this?

    There are countless blogs, websites, and how-to videos and instructions online.

iv. Do I have the proper tools and materials for this project?

This also includes thinking of ways to complete your project with the least spending. Perhaps you can be creative with the tools you use if the resources you find suggest using something you don’t have.

v. Enjoy the process

Creating can be a slower process than just buying, but it can be very rewarding and liberating when you don’t need to depend on spending and to see that you’ve created something new with things you already have instead of creating more waste and harm to the earth. You’re not only giving to yourself and those around you – you are finding ways to live a more just (if not, just crafty and creative) life. Go you!

Reimagining furniture: Dresser turned shelf, Updating tables
This is a broken dresser that I converted into a shelf just by stacking the drawers on top of each other. I painted the light brown edges a dark gray to for a subtle look. However, for furniture updates make sure they are safe and will not pose harm to people you live with or guests, particularly smaller, younger, cuter humans who are still developing fine motor skills :)

dresser

I found the coffee table below by the dumpsters.

I found this table at a thrift shop.

Then I had a heArt warming potluck and painting party with friends to bring good energy, warmth, and color into my home.

What you see is what we collectively created.

table2

And you can repurpose so many other items!

Glass bottles, oh the many uses! (all those pillows except for one was thrifted from Green Element, too :) cleaning supply holder water bottle to use on a daily basis (instead of buying plastic bottles) paint brush/water holder vase (you can paint it or put ribbons, too!)

Glass bottles, oh the many uses! (all those pillows except for one was thrifted from Green Element, too :)
cleaning supply holder
water bottle to use on a daily basis (instead of buying plastic bottles)
paint brush/water holder
vase (you can paint it or put ribbons, too!)

 

Old flyers/paper items/boxes Turn them into bookmarks. Here are some incense boxes, flyers, and cardboard (not shown) I’m turning into bookmarks. Sturdier material such as boxes can also be used for creating stencils that people of all ages can enjoy. You can also cut up flyers and glue paper on it to personalize a note for a friend as a gift or a reminder of the cool event/action/artist/imagery you both like. Old cardboard can also be repurposed to create stencils.

Old flyers/paper items/boxes
Turn them into bookmarks. Here are some incense boxes, flyers, and cardboard (not shown) I’m turning into bookmarks. Sturdier material such as boxes can also be used for creating stencils that people of all ages can enjoy. You can also cut up flyers and glue paper on it to personalize a note for a friend as a gift or a reminder of the cool event/action/artist/imagery you both like. Old cardboard can also be repurposed to create stencils.

 

Plastic containers If you happen to buy food at the store or order to-go, keep the plastic container for alternative uses. This is tricky because of plasticides and other chemicals, so I recommend limited use for food storage/re-storage and definitely not reheating the plastic container. Here’s a way to use store bought cupcake containers for mixing paint.

Plastic containers
If you happen to buy food at the store or order to-go, keep the plastic container for alternative uses. This is tricky because of plasticides and other chemicals, so I recommend limited use for food storage/re-storage and definitely not reheating the plastic container.
Here’s a way to use store bought cupcake containers for mixing paint.

 

Shirts Use the excess clothing as a handkerchief instead of using tissues or as rags for cleaning, removing make up, art projects, etc. You can also sew them into pillowcases.

Shirts
Use the excess clothing as a handkerchief instead of using tissues or as rags for cleaning, removing make up, art projects, etc. You can also sew them into pillowcases.

Now go, live, create and participate in the world as justly as you possibly can with what you have!

///

Stephanie “Soultree” Camba(nationofthangs) has been a lifelong poet coming out of family reunion and emergency room stages to rallies and community spaces. She has sought refuge and redemption in her rhymes and is now using her craft to also restore and rebuild inward as well as outward.

Soultree is…

human,
an independent artist driven by causes and community,
an organizer and performer with Elephant Rebellion, an artist collective that uses their skills to empower youth and community,
a member of the Escolta St. Snatcher’s Social Club, an artist collective that uses visual arts to reclaim, decolonize and restore Pilipino culture and herstory,
an organizer with the Immigrant Youth Justice League, a grassroots organization that does the most.com/immigrantrights/holisticjustice,
a lover of community constantly fighting for self-determination and respective liberations with pen, poem, music, and story as weapons of choice

Repping Chicago hard by way of Majuro, Marshall Islands, by way of Manila, Philippines, by way of stars that aligned in my mother’s womb and wishes and the journey continues. Join Soultree on this musical and artistic learning, living, loving experience.

 

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