I imagine my dad as one of the first recyclers.
The fact is, he was composting leaves, picking up aluminum cans and throwing vegetable scraps on the compost pile long before the rest of the world caught up with him.
So when I repurpose old things I acquire at auctions and rummage sales, I figure Dad is guiding my hand.
There are plenty of easy things we can all do if we just think about it.
One of my favorites is buying nearly full cans of paint and stain at rummage sales. I can usually get them for a quarter and they can last through many projects. They are expensive to buy new and they are hazardous waste so my recycling is a bonus on many levels.
I also hate to go out and buy anything when I can dream up an alternative that I already own. When my WD-40 gummed up and refused to spray, I dug out a can of shoe oil that I got in a rummage box. Honestly, I don’t believe I have any shoes that need oiling but applying that oil with a vigorous application of steel wool cleaned up a lot of my rusty doo-dads.
The best repurposing, though, is when my sister Therese and I get together and figure out a way to make something cool out of junk. We did that this summer by taking the bottom of an old office chair, cutting off all the extra pieces and attaching it to a board on which we had decoupaged a map.
It sounds easy, but I was on standby to take Therese to the clinic as I watched her wield the Sawzall on that office chair. Let’s just say I won’t be using that tool anytime soon.
Instead, I handled the decoupage, something I’ve been doing for years. When I was finished with that map table, it was smooth as glass.
Not everybody can convert a chair and an old map into a table, but we can all compost our garden waste, use up our hazardous materials for their intended purpose, and try not to buy things in bulky packaging.
Or, you can hope I’ll attend your rummage sale and buy all your hazardous waste.