Season's greetings and recycling resolutions

Merry Xmas and a Happy Recycling New Year

It has been a busy autumn and winter - sorry for not having posted much. I haven't been crafting as much as I'd like - between work, volunteering, the house move and childcare duties, it has been quite hectic. I also launched a new blog, which is following the (slow) renovation progress of our 1930s house. However, one 2011 resolution I kept is to recycle more. 

In January I posted about my Baglady's pledge and featured a few homemade items. I also reduced our spending by making use of old things. My daughter is very creative and we have been recycling paper for her artwork, using junk mail for collages, printouts on the white side, collecting scraps of paper that usually get thrown away for shopping lists, etc... In the garden, we have exchanged cuttings and seeds with other gardeners... And I found out from my father-in-law that old socks are very good for maturing tomatoes.

But before I sign off for this year, I'd like to introduce you to Recyclebank, an online platform that comes from the US and is getting quite popular in this country. Right now there is a good feature on having a Green Xmas, a subject I know only too well, having written about it in various guises (click here to download a pdf with lots of practical festive tips for parents). 

But back to Recyclebank, I got its press release in the autumn (apologies for the delay), so it features ideas aimed at parents of school children. I think most of these top tips are still viable now, or you can make a note and use them next year!

1.       Swap it out. Hold a clothing and school gear swap party with other families in the neighborhood. It's a great way for the kids to get “new” clothes and backpacks without hurting the planet, plus it saves money.

2.       Throw a closet-cleaning party. Clean out closets before going shopping to see what fits, what can be repurposed or what can be donated. Make it a fun activity for the whole family to do together—turn on some music, serve some snacks and have a fashion show!
3.       Put a new twist on something old. Pull out your sewing machine, material stockpile and accessories to re-invent hand-me-downs. It's a fun and creative activity for the family, saves money and encourages the kids to enjoy recycled clothing.
 4.       Extend the life of your crayons. Take crayons from the previous school year, melt them and pour them into molds to create different shaped crayons. Once cooled, you have cool “new” crayons.
 5.       Save on textbooks and conserve paper. Buy used text books from students who were previously in your kids’ grades. Students can buy a books from Amazon, then you can sell them back for gift cards to use towards next year’s books!
 6.       Plan a supply hunt. Organise a pen, pencil and notebook scavenger hunt around the house—you’d be amazed what you can find in drawers and bags. It’s a fun rainy day project for kids, and a great way to reuse the supplies you’ve already bought.
 7.       Give supplies a facelift. You can add some flair to old school supplies that are still useable. Fill an old binder with un-used pages from cast-off notebooks, recover them with sturdy fabric and then break open the craft drawer and let your kids go wild! Last year’s binder becomes a work of art.
 8.       Make it a game. Each morning, get out the stopwatch and have everyone race through the house to ensure all lights are off and appliances and electronics are unplugged. This helps save energy, and reduces your electricity bill and burns off excess energy!
 9.       Paint the classroom green. Encourage your child’s school administrators to have recycle bins in the schoolyard, classroom and hallways so kids develop the habit early. If your school doesn't have recycling, bring in your own bins and set up a collection schedule with other parents! If your town is a Recyclebank community, families can take turns collecting bins and share the coupons with the classroom. Many towns supply recycling bins to residents, but if yours doesn’t you can buy them
 10.   Form a club. If you have kids at school, ask your school if you can form a “Green Club.” Members can serve as green ambassadors in their respective classrooms, and help raise awareness and implement school-wide eco-friendly actions.
My last words: Make 2012 a greener year! It's good for the environment and your family finances!