Sunday, April 19, 2015

Send less to our landfills-Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

The Merry Weather Garden Club met on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Strickland’s Store joining the Concord Garden Club for its 17th Annual Lunch and Learn.  Garden club members from numerous Redbud District clubs joined the Concord club as well as many local gardening enthusiasts.

The program for 2015 was Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse and after the convincing argument put forth by speaker Anne Evans, the audience left invigorated with news ideas of how to fill our landfills with less.

Evans pointed out that 74 percent of our garbage is recyclable. True trash is made up of those items that cannot be composted or recycled. One local example of reducing was that the city of Williamson partnered with Dependable Waste to pick up recyclables. Two cans-one for trash and one for recyclables-are now picked up. No sorting of recyclables is required, and the city also keeps dumpsters for recycling. Dependable Waste is saving taxpayers because there is less for them to pay that goes in a landfill.

Evans mentioned the sad fact that Pike County trash goes to Lamar County (Atlanta trash comes to Meriwether) and worse that 500 tons comes from household garbage yet only 100 tons from industrial sources.  Households definitely need to do more to recycle.

State garden clubs are initiating a “Ban the Bag” to be made into a state law. Plastic bags which are so convenient are a major hazard to our environment and are a rotten legacy for our children. Less than three percent of bags are recycled and Evans showed a number of ways to reuse them.  Most ingenious was a crocheted bag made of hundreds of ordinary plastic bags.  The sad fact about our plastic bags or “Urban Tumbleweed” whose use began in 1982 is that they really are not necessary, and they are harmful. Plastics affect birds and their egg production, and the BPAs in plastic affect learning in children. Sadly there are documented cases of plastics that get dumped in waterways choking turtles and drowning dolphins.

Statistics show a four person family can bring home up to 150 bags per month or 1800 a year. Changing our habits concerning plastic can happen: we don’t question the lack of bags when we shop at Sam’s. Ireland placed a five cent tax on plastic bags, and today no bags can be found.  Health food stores give shoppers a ten per cent credit if they bring their own bags. Retraining and reeducating ourselves is the key to getting rid of plastic bags.

The Concord club had a variety of cleverly recycled items on display: Sleeveless tee shirts sewn across the bottom and the sleeves cut off to make a lightweight colorful bag. Waterproof bags made from a heavyweight dog food sacks were charming. An apron made from blue jeans was practical, useful, and pretty.

Bleach bottles were another source of unlimited ideas: cutting off the top made a useful funnel. The bottom was used for a berry bowl with ribbon for a handle woven through holes punched around the rim. A common feed scoop for dog, cat, horse, and chicken food was made from a bleach bottle. Instead of buying plastic protectors, a bleach bottle bottom can be used to keep potted plants from seeping water onto rugs and floors.

            Instead of going to a landfill old flower pots are reused as were metal buckets to pot plants in a rustic arrangement. The prongs on a silver fork were bent to form a decorative easel to display pictures. The headboard of a twin bed instead of discarded became the backdrop of a planter. Drawers from old dressers were colorfully painted and stacked to hold items or become a planter. Instead of trashing a man’s worn suit, a seamstress sewed the pieces along with lace and beading into a decorative pin.

A two liter plastic soda bottle makes a wonderful bird feeder as well as carpenter bee trap.  Evans recommended saving anything of glass like wine bottles for rooting plants. A most effective centerpiece lining each dining table was a small plastic soda bottle inverted and anchored into a slice of wood that held on it securely wherever placed.  The top of the bottle was punched with holes to simulate a grid for plants to be positioned in an arrangement. The centerpieces were artfully filled with magnificent fiery orange blooming wild honeysuckle, snowballs, and hydrangeas with wisps of vinca periwinkle and boxwood adding to the greenery filler.