With the  start of a new year, and with a greener party now in  power, my thoughts have been on recycling and green topics.  I have never been much of a recycler I must admit.  I do use junk mail as fire starting material and I occasionally refill plastic water bottles with tap water.  Oh, and let’s not forget we compost in the unfrozen months.  Does that make me green?  What other things can I recycle that will not only benefit the environment, but also me? Homes for Heroes has a low carbon footprint.  Just ask the office staff.  They will pull down their scarves and tell you in foggy breath that they keep the office as cold as a refrigerator.  If that is not green, what is?

My wife will claim I am the greenest person on the planet because I do not throw anything away.  The valve cover seal that I just replaced, yup, sitting in the garage.  (One might need to make an emergency repair on some other seal on some other vehicle at some other time.)  Oh, the rusted bolts I pulled out of the swing set all those years ago, still have them in a jar in the basement.  (If I fished more often they would make great line anchors.)  My wife, I guess, is pretty green as well.  She has paint cans from 1980 and will not let me get rid of them because we may need to touch up something or another in the home.  And when I say throw out, I mean emptying the paint and using the can for a bucket to hold more bolts, broken pieces of glass, extra screws you get from mini blinds, bread bag ties, old empty lighters (the flint is still good!), dried out markers, empty ink pens (plastic tube will come in handy for emergency tracheotomy), old pieces of sandpaper, rusty nails, bent nails, old phone wire, bent thumb tacks (easily repaired someday),  casket nails (they came with the house and we didn’t dare ask), old wooden cheese boxes (great for holding all the baby food jars), old used inter-tubes (another sealing material or suspenders), old panty hose (works better than cheese cloth), old worn out light switches, burnt out bulbs (for when you’re in that crafty mood).  Well, you get the point.

In the past, I have made some pretty incredible things with all the stuff I collect.  I turned an old parking meter I found in Chicago (another story when the statute of limitations is up) into a timed reading lamp where a nickel gave you a half hour and a dime a whole hour of light.  The problem came when it was close to payday and I did not have enough change to keep the blasted thing lit.  Also, for a college student, I turned a lunch box, dolls arm, shrunken head, electric buzzers, motors and some old outlets into a desk lamp, noise maker, extension cord thingy.  Guaranteed to annoy and fascinate at the same time.  Old shower heads and duct tape have repaired watering cans that the wife was going to throw out.  Do you think I would go to the store and by a window well retainer?  Not with all that treated lumber piled up by the garage! And I wonder why my wife does not have more dinner parties here anymore. . .

Curious to see what others have done to be more environmentally conscientious in the modern world, I turned to Google.  Here’s what I found:

Do you have some old sewer pipe laying around?  Well how about turning them into a fancy-schmancy bed and breakfast.  When I was a kid, I always wanted a cement tube to live in.  Now I can, and you can too!  But I think I would stack them like you see at construction sites.  How cool is this?

Do you by chance have rooms that are stacked?

Do you by chance have rooms that are stacked?

You know we now have that saying that the newest gadget on the market is already 3 years old.  So what to do with an old out dated printer? We currently have four sitting down in the basement.  They all work, but as the new saying goes…   So what can we do with them? It is just a plastic box with some electronics inside.  Hey, hold on, did I just say box?  Yes, of course! Just rip out the old guts, line it with aluminum foil and voila!!  A nice looking and cheap bread box.

Strange, I could have sworn I put white bread in here, not dark?

Strange, I could have sworn I put white bread in here, not dark?

But what to do with all those guts from the printer?  Do you have any children, nieces and nephews?  Do you have a glue gun? Well, make those cute little munchkins something that will light up their lives.  Toys!  They are bound to have hours of fun and you will have a steady stream of supplies–that is–if you keep up with technology and have a sense of imagination.

I want one too Grandma!

I want one too, Grandma!

Another thing I forgot to mention that makes me a little greener is how we recycle wire clothes hangers.   Every time my wife catches me hanging a shirt up with one of them, she snatches it out of my hand, swats me on the bottom and says, “NO WIRE HANGERS!!!!!”  I think she got it from a movie or something.  But then she’ll laugh and put the hanger in a bucket.  When the bucket is full I take them back to the cleaners.  They always seem to appreciate that.  I must admit though, and don’t tell my wife, I keep a couple downstairs just in case….  But back to the point.  Look at the neat chandelier that can be made with some old pants-hangers.  Perfect for any bachelor or newlywed couples.

Honey, you can also hang stuff on it to dry, can't we keep it?

Honey, you can also hang stuff on it to dry, can’t we keep it?

What do you do with that old moped sitting in the garage?  The old thing sure does look nice but the motor is shot and I could use the motor for a boat anchor.  A little cut here, a bend there and we have another Christmas gift for some unsuspecting relative.

The horn works and every thing!!

The horn works and everything!!

After you see this next picture, you will immediately put all your CDs on to MP3 players and start collecting CDs.  I already have a good head start.  (They also make great reflectors and keep the wood peckers off the side of the house).  I am going to make one for the TV room.  I can’t wait to see my wifes face when she realizes where her Paul McCartney CD went.

I think this should go in the living room dear. What, why not?

I think this should go in the living room dear. What? Why not?

All-in-all, I think we can all do more to save our planet, and we can do it just by looking around the house!  You know about that saying the kids come home and repeat relentlessly, “Recycle, Reduce and Reuse. ” I at least have two out of three going for me.

Since we are on the topic of environmentalism, I would like to bring to you this next picture to support my theory that mother nature tolerates us, and in no way can we do her much harm.  If she doesn’t like where you put that park bench, she will just take care of it herself. (See below.)  That back yard fence in the way for her forest plans?  She won’t let that stop her. (See below.) It might stop a man but not Big Green Ma.  Some kid left the bike out and can’t remember where he put it.  Mother Earth has her own way of teaching him a lesson. (Once again, see below.)  I really don’t think that when we drive to the hardware store to get some more duct tape she minds all that much or is damaged in any way.  She just smirks and knows that any time she wants she can put things where ever she wants to.

Just think what she can do with sidewalks.

Just think what she can do with sidewalks.

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