Sunday, January 04, 2009

Resolving to reuse

I've never been one for New Year's Resolutions. Every year in public school, I remember having to write New Year's Resolutions in January and racking my brain to think of something worthwhile to write down. It seemed to me even then that if I needed to change something in my life I would just do it when needed. I didn't need the start of the year to tell me that.

And so it has gone since I was in public school. I can't remember any year in which I made a New Year's Resolution.

That all changes in 2009. I have one this time.

Just one.

It dawned on me as I read an article in the Ottawa Citizen in late December that Western culture has lost the practice of reusing. We're pretty good at recycling. We're getting better at reducing (although still need to work a lot harder in that department). We used to be good at reusing before recycling or reducing were given any thought.

The article I read was about the 1930s and how families, particularly women, dealt with the depression. Although it wasn't a main point of the article, what spoke to me most was how much better families were at reusing clothing, food, anything they had that could be used another day or for another purpose.

I often recycle tin foil that could easily be reused. I'm good at reusing plastic ziploc bags but not good about saran wrap. I have very neat piles of fabric that I could be using to make clothes for the girls. I have a set of curtains that will make two very cute sundresses. I throw out too many leftovers that would be great in soup or make a nice meal for the birds and squirrels. Too many craft materials are put in the recycling bin when I'm sure we could use them for another craft.

I'm really very poor at reusing water. I let the tap run to get the hot water going when I could be catching that water for use in the cappuccino maker or to water the plants or make the next pot of tea.

I'm sure there are ideas I haven't thought of yet and if you have some, I'd love to hear them.

And so, I resolve to work very hard this year to reuse. I'll do my best to keep track of my successes and failures here so I can review next December. Please feel free to throw your ideas or your successes and failures in reusing my way.


Julie said...

I can't wait to hear what your tries are for this so that I can try and be better myself. The water capture one I've always thought interesting. It will be how to convince Marty to play along that I think will be the most difficult. Great resolution K.

Shan said...

I am totally with you on this one Karen. I've been capturing water for a few months now and up to over 1000 litres saved. Because I'm a geek and I keep track of things like that. I also had a sweater in my hand to toss out because it had a hole in it. I thought twice about it and instead I am painstakingly unraveling it to rework it into a scarf and/or hat. I'm looking forward to reading about your experiences.

H Munro said...

Apparently you can re-use the captured water to flush the toilet. If you was your dishes in a dish pan you can even reuse that water.
I am not that good but I saw a show about it a few weeks ago.