Tag Archives: Landfill

Freecycling is the Coolest!

25 Oct

Friends,  please enjoy this article by Amy, the Queen of Freecycle and author of With Duck and Goose:

I was first introduced to Freecycle.org when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Norah (affectionately known as “Duck”.) I was flipping through the pages of a pregnancy magazine on my lunch break at work, and in one of the articles about going green, it mentioned Freecycle.

Freecycle is an international organization that is run completely by volunteers. The goal of Freecycle is to keep unwanted (but usable) items from being thrown in the landfills by offering them to someone else who may have a use for them. Alternately, if you are looking for an item, someone might be giving away what you want. All of this is, well, free, hence the name “FREEcycle.” By participating, not only are you helping out the environment by keeping things out of landfills, but you’re also decluttering your own life and possibly receiving items you need/want without spending a dime.

Almost every county/city/town in the United States has a local Freecycle chapter, and of course, membership is free.

Shortly after the first time I had heard about Freecycle, my pregnancy got a little complicated. I was put on bed rest and my employer fired me – and yes, that’s illegal, but I was in my 90-day probationary period, so there was nothing I could do about it. Duck was planned, but losing my job wasn’t. This, of course, wreaked financial havoc on my family. I was distracted by this and forgot about Freecycle for a while.

We went from a double income family to a single income family almost instantaneously – and while we had savings, they weren’t enough to get us through for very long. We were still newly weds at the time (4 months in) and we didn’t even have all the essentials we needed for us.

My bed rest restrictions were still in place, and my husband was still working very hard, but we just weren’t going to be able to afford things for our baby that we needed like clothing, toys, storage, bedding, and furniture.

Bearing this in mind, I said a whole bunch of prayers and my husband continued to look for a better paying job. As I was looking online one day for work-at-home jobs, I came across a familiar organization. Freecycle! There it was again. This time, I signed up.

Long story made short, we eventually got almost everything we needed for Duck. We got a changing table, toys, clothing, a bunch of storage containers, decorations, bedding, and more. In the process, we also gave away a bunch of things we no longer needed (no one needs 6 toasters!). And all of it was free. Without Freecycle, we probably wouldn’t have made it at that point in our lives.

Ultimately, my husband did find a better paying job (he’s still there, almost 3 years later), and although we’re doing just fine now – I’m still a highly active member of our local Freecycle group. I am so thankful to have found it; to be able to help others and receive things that we want and/or need.

Here are some of the cool things we’ve gotten on Freecycle over the years:
A huge bookshelf/toy storage unit:

coutresy of withduckandgoose.wordpress.com

A beautiful stand-alone fireplace:


courtesy of withduckandgoose.wordpress.com

A professional grade massage chair:

courtesy of withduckandgoose.wordpress.com

Our bed:

courtesy of withduckandgoose.wordpress.com

I highly recommend that you check out Freecycle.org and join your local chapter. I can almost guarantee you that you’ll be glad you joined!

Author of With Duck and Goose

thanks for the warm fuzzies, Amy!  })i({

Plarn Tutorial

22 Sep

Yes, Plarn.  As in “plastic yarn”.  As in “upcycled plastic grocery bags”.  As in “Good for the world Better than ending up in a landfill Cheaper than buying those reusable grocery bags that fall apart in 15 minutes anyway”.   Dig deep into your heart of hearts.  You know you want to make some!  Here’s how:

1. Lay out the grocery bag like this:

(Yes, mine’s from Staples.  It’s difficult to find second hand compressed air.  Plus, going to Staples is the best Date Night ever.  Just sayin’).

2. Fold the bag in half long ways, then in half again:

3. Cut off the head and the butt.

Don’t throw those pieces away!  How green would you be if you did all this work to upcycle your plastic bags if you just tossed the scraps into a landfill?  RECYCLE those bad boys!  There’s no rule that says you can only recycle an in-tact bag.  Save one of your bags to keep the scraps in.  Really.  Do it for me.  Do it for your grandchildren.  Do it for that cute little girl in the grape juice commercials.

4. Slice up the rest of the bag into 1/2 inch thick strips.

5. Unfold two loops and lay them out with one overlapping the other a bit, like this:

6. Flashback to elementary school & pretend you’re hooking your super trendy jelly bracelets together. (Pull the bottom loop over the top one & then back through itself).

7. Keep doing that over and over until you run out of loops.  One plastic bag makes a ball of plarn about this big:

This was enough to do 5 rows of 20 single crochets with a G hook.

Super cool and groovy, right?  You’re going to make some today, right?

Oh, and just so you know.  Once you get the hang of this, feel free to layer those bags and save yourself some time.  I’m able to do stacks of 6 bags quite easily.  Also, pay attention to the thickness of the plastic.  As a general rule, the thinner the plastic, the thicker you’ll want to cut your strips.  Once you crochet them (or macrame, or knit, or whatever you’re going to do) they’ll even out, so don’t worry if some of your strips are 1/2 inch thick and others are closer to an inch or more.  Enjoy!  })i({