Find Your Repurpose: Green Crafts Projects

Trim your budget and your planetary impact by reusing "garbage."

| March/April 2009

  • Instead of buying new toys for your pet, sew a few scraps together and stuff with cotton.
    Photography By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Add panache to an old picture frame with leftover tiles.
  • Insulate drinks with a homemade cup cozy.
    Photography By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Gather old sweaters in complementary colors to create new throw pillows.
    Courtesy Sweater Surgery (Quarry Books, 2008)
  • Add an easy splash of color by turning felted wool into bright placemats.
    Courtesy Sweater Surgery (Quarry Books, 2008)
  • An old pair of jeans becomes a unique tote with a bit of cutting and sewing.
    Courtesy Jean Therapy (Quarry Books, 2008)
  • Attached to that old shirt? Transform it into a reusable shopping bag.
  • This over-the-door toiletry organizer requires two pillow cases and some ribbon.
  • A covered cereal box can be turned into a magazine holder.
  • Brighten worn work boots by planting flowers in them.

When it comes to the three Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle—reduce is the trump card, but reuse comes in a close second. Making something new from something used saves money and resources—and makes you feel good, too.

“The key is, whenever you have something you’re going to throw away, stop and think, ‘Is there some way I could make use of this?’” says Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility director for Green America (formerly Co-op America).  “It’s a habit we could all get into.”

Stumped? Let the kids figure out what to do with it, Larsen says. “They have the greatest imaginations—a kid will make a telescope or a toy out of it, or use it for a craft or something else they’re building. The most creative ideas come from them.”

Coming out of the closets

• Don’t ditch the shirt over a lost button. Remove the button you’re least likely to see and use it as the replacement. Or buy different buttons for a brand new look.

• Breathe new life into old footwear at the shoe repair shop; replace heels or soles, repair linings or just get them shined up.

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