Thursday, May 31, 2007

Creative reuse of the day: The empty box as mask

My son is a natural born creative reuser. He found this beer box, put it on his head, and started walking carefully around the house. I suggested adding the eye holes as a safety feature, and there you have it--hours of fun.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Extreme cleaning

A recent Everest expedition by Japanese and Nepalese climbers had an atypical goal: collect the garbage and abandoned gear of past summit-seekers. The group apparently collected 1,000 pounds worth of cast-off junk on this trip, adding to the 8.8 metric tons collected on a previous series of clean-up climbs.

I'm always saddened by the volume of trash I encounter on a day at the beach or an afternoon hike, if not surprised. I've been around enough to realize that not all people are willing to carry a bottle around until they find a recycling bin, that some people aren't even willing to wait for a garbage can, and don't see a problem with tossing out their bottles, plastic bags, cans, candy wrappers, televisions, and mildewed couches wherever it is most convenient for them. And even if careless litterbugs didn't exist, stuff has a way of getting itself discarded. I've had a piece of paper or plastic pulled away from me by the wind. I've stupidly lost a pair of sunglasses to an ocean wave. I've generally tried to chase down (or dive after) my litter, but I've lost a flyaway bag or two on a day when my back hurt, or when my child was crying or running the other direction. Sometimes circumstances supercede a desire to tread lightly. Multiply my accidents by a few hundred or million and you have one massive Earth day clean-up job.

So although I hope that respect for nature is a prerequisite for a successful climb, it's not surprising that mounds of garbage would be left behind even by a few hundred responsible Everest climbers each faced with the individual challenges that accompany that impressive feat. Everest's tons of trash remind us that mere human presence always has consequences.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Products that make me sad: Designer trash bags

Check out these tastefully designed garbage bags, via Gizmodo. Sigh.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Worn Again

Interesting shoe and accessories line made from 99% creatively reused materials such as seatbelts and leather salvaged from old cars.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Our new garbage can

We've downsized our garbage can.

We were using a 5 gallon plastic container, but most of what we throw away is food that can't be composted. By the time the can is even half full the food is rotting.

So, we're using this little bathroom-sized can. Bonus feature: we can use surplus plastic bags as garbage bags, including large chip bags and other food bags that might not have another reuse because they are icky inside and hard to wash out.

I would guess we'll be using two or three bags per week. Stay tuned for photos of our ever-growing reusables collection.