Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dead computer? Reuse it!

62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer: (And Other Discarded Electronics)If you aren't lucky enough to have a program for e-waste in your community (or even if you are) this book looks pretty awesome. 62 ways to reuse discarded electronics.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

waste-free mobile lunch

lunchtote05I was over at Craft Leftovers today and spotted this great lunch box post, in which Kristin reuses and re-purposes a ton of items. Go check it out!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Green Drinks tonight!

I'm still working on getting a calendar of events here, but wanted to let you know where I'll be tonight. Green Drinks, of course! See you there?

Please join us on Tuesday Feb 23rd at El Presidente in downtown Vancouver. Intros Will start at 6PM as usual. We will be in a private room on the north (left of the hostess stand) side of the restaurant. El Presidente has PLENTY of room and it should be quiet enough for our group. Here is their info; 312 East Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, WA‎ - (360) 750-7475‎

This month our 5 Minute Spiel will be a rep from the CEN-Community Exchange Network, check them out here

Our 2 min local business showcase will be Donna Baxter from Enyo. 360 448-9911 or

What's coming up?We are busily planning our 2 year anniversary party on April 27th. How exciting! We don't have all the details settled yet, but we have confirmed that our new mayor Tim Leavitt will be our speaker!!! We'll hear his thoughts on making our lovely city of Vancouver greener.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gleaning/Urban Harvest

While researching a presentation, I came across this article about gleaning food. I thought it was a great primer on gleaning and had some good links, so I'm sharing it here. I'm also working on a list of links pertaining to topics such as gleaning, swap sites, etc. and will be sharing that soon.

One link I want to mention that isn't in the article is Ample Harvest. This is a nationwide listing of local food banks that will take your excess food. So, the next time you find yourself swimming in tomatoes, potatoes or some other home-grown yummy, take a look at Ample Harvest and see if you can't find someone in your own community that could make use of that food.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The freezer pantry

I've been meaning to write a post that I suspect would have ended up sounding like plagiarism of this post. I, too, have found the joys of freezing left-overs and cooking in bulk. I'd also like to mention that heating up food is often less energy-intensive than firing up the stove. I still don't have this stuff all "down" and we still waste some food, but I'm definitely getting to a point where we waste less and eat take-out food less, which is wonderful.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One Year Anniversary-A Give-away!

Hello World! (If you're a "geek" you understand the significance of that.) That was my first post on March 11th of last year. The blog will be one year old a month from today. In celebration, I'm giving away something that I get asked for all the time. If you're at all a garbage geek like me, you'll love this:

Working in the industry I do, I get this kind of swag all the time, but I've been asked over the years if I have any of these little mini recycle bins, so the last time I was at a conference I picked up a special one to be given away to my readers.

So, how do you enter? I'm so glad you asked. There are three ways of entering the contest:

1. Leave a comment on this post. It can be anything! Just a "sign me up! " will do, but if you'd like to comment on anything else, you're welcome to.

2. For extra credit, you will get 2 entries into the giveaway if you comment on another post. (Please make the comment pertinent to the post.)

3. Or, if you're *really* an overachiever, you will get three entries for sharing a reuse story with me. If you use something in your home in an unexpected way, met your neighbor when you were setting something out on the curb for free or any fun reuse story you want to share with me, you'll get 3 contest entries for that. You can share your story in the comment section of this post or send me an email. (If you have pictures, I will give you extra credit for sharing those, too!)

Just be ready to have your story shared with my readers.

Good luck! I'll post the winner some time after the one year anniversary, March 11th, 2010.

Here it is in all it's desk-organizing glory (No, you can't have my titanium scissors, sorry! I'll throw in the ruler made from phone books, if you want it though.)

Swap and gleaning sites-extensive list

While doing research for a presentation, I found out there are a ton of swap and gleaning sites on the internet. Not being familiar with all of them myself (I've used 3 on the list) I thought the easiest thing to do was to just make a list and let you see for yourself. If you have any additions to the list or comments about anything I included, leave a comment or email me.

-The Reuser

Monday, February 8, 2010

Free computer classes

If you're fortunate enough to live in this area, check out the free computer classes offered by CREAM-Computer Reuse Education and Marketing.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Master Composter/Recycler training presentation

Earlier this evening, I gave a presentation to the newest class of Master Composters/Recyclers. Here are the slides from my* presentation on "Where Is "Away"?" and the closed loop of recycling.

*slides 3-30 were created by a colleague.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Reuser's Garden Part 2

Read Part 1

Once I finally had all the holes drilled, I basically put off doing anything else with the planters for a very long time. Honestly, I was dreading having to level out the ground and place each of the planters, so I just ignored the project for probably almost a year. Eventually, Dear BF could take my procrastination no longer and around July of last year, I finally decided to tackle the next step. Surprisingly, I had leveled the ground (albeit probably not very professionally) and placed the first planter in about half an hour. Spurred on by my success, I placed the second one before retiring for the afternoon.

The planters are seen here being leveled and placed.

The back three are already placed.

This photo shows what I did with the bottom half of the planters; used block foam (styrofoam) as a spacer, to take up room and make the planters lighter.

Next, I knew I'd need to bring in the big guns. Earlier in the year, I had met the sweetest high school senior, Stephen and knew that he was looking for extra work. I emailed him and he agreed to help me place and fill the planters. He even had a trailer that his family used for landscaping, so that was perfect for picking up the three-way soil mixture that the local landscaping supplier recommended. In two days, we had finished what I had put off for the better part of 2 years.

You can see the soaker hose in this photo and some of the plants that I actually kept alive for awhile.

That was in late August and quite frankly, I knew if I planted anything but didn't have a watering system set up, it would all die. Eventually, I want to put in a drip irrigation system, but for now, I have a soaker hose that I picked up at Goodwill (Canadian-made and brand new, still in packaging for ~$4) I did plant some items late last fall, but lost most of it to the cool weather. I was able to harvest some basil. (I think herbs are really my thing-I have a very successful herb garden in front of the house.) The only other thing that lived long enough for me to salvage last weekend was some parsley. (I brought it inside in a pot-we'll see if it lasts.) I turned over all the soil (and all the weeds) last weekend and laid down a few layers of newspaper to get it ready for spring. I'm excited to try again this season. Let's hope I can get better at planting things early enough that we'll actually get some home-grown grub this season.

"Mom, we wanna help!"

Our female, Zoe-Bear is a great helper. If by "great helper" you mean "gets in the way, but is cute, so we let her do what she wants."

See? Adorable.

The only other piece of the project that I'd like to do is to lay down newspaper or cardboard around all the planters and then lay chipped trees from an arborist on top of that, to control weeds growing around the planters.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Reuser's Garden Pt. 1

I've been working on a planter garden for a little over 2 years now. What that really means is that a little over 2 years ago, my brother helped me pick up some planters and it's taken me since then to actually get them drilled, placed, filled and planted. I had always meant to post about them, so here's Part 1.

Planters await the drilling of drainage holes

Ever since Dear BF sent me some information about square foot gardening, I've been intrigued by it. I also really wanted to reuse something for garden planters. My first thought (that I still think might work) was to reuse large pipes/tubes of some kind (culverts?) and cut them in half and set them up somehow so they'd make a half-pipe sort of garden. I was talking about this project with a County Solid Waste employee and he mentioned that there were some "concrete forms" on 2good2toss. I went over there and checked it out. What I saw was even better than what I had imagined.

Those suckers are water-tight! (Before drilling the holes, the boxes all filled with water and were too heavy to lift. Here, I am bailing water out of them.)

These concrete forms (which my brother thinks might have been used to top large concrete pillars) are about 4' square and 3' deep. They're made from fiberglass (which I asked the Master Gardeners about and they didn't seem to think I'd have any problems with chemicals leaching into our food.) Best of all, I would be reusing something that probably eventually would have become landfill and they were FREE! All I had to do was go pick them up. I enlisted the help of my oldest brother and his work truck and after a somewhat-scary trip out to Washougal and back, I had my planters.

"Whacha doin' mom?" Our male dog watches curiously as I remove
some plywood spacers and nails from the concrete forms.

Then, he decides that he'll come "help." Here, you can see him peeking from behind me.

I knew I'd need good drainage (it rains a LOT here) so I started to drill holes. Even the largest drill bit we had wasn't making much of a hole through the three layers of fiberglass and plywood, so I eventually had to buy a special drill bit to make sizable holes.

Cooling down my weapon of choice-notice the nice drainage holes in the planter behind me?

The drilling of the holes took me about 5 weekends to complete. (each hole took about 45 seconds to drill completely.) After the holes were drilled, the planters sat for about a year and half. I slowly picked up things along the way that I wanted-some large cardboard here (for killing weeds around the planters) some block foam there (for filling the bottom half of the planters) but mostly, I just ignored the project. (I've mentioned before that I'm notorious for starting but never finishing projects...)

Here, I've finished one side of drainage holes and am flipping the box to work on the next side.
These could be lifted with two people, but if you're moving them by yourself,
the easiest way was to roll them over on their sides.

A close-up of the drainage holes

Dear BF was patient, but eventually he wanted me to poop or get off the pot, as the saying goes...

Read Part 2.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Updating the ol' blog

I've been working harder on my blog content lately-have you noticed? I hope so! :D With my one year blogiversary coming up, I've been thinking about what this blog is, what I want it to be and how I can make it better for all.

I also have some recent improvements and some in the works:

1. I just added the "you also might like" feature. Do you love or hate? (I'm finding it looks a bit clunky with posts that are short and when it adds posts that don't have a photo-see below...)

2. I've always struggled with adding photos. I know lots of people add photos from Google Image searches, but there are some potential copyright issues with that. I also know that personally, my favorite blogs are the ones that have lots of wonderful photos taken with the author's camera. Unfortunately, I find I don't really have enough time to take a photo for each post and/or that because a lot of my posts are just links to others' blogs, I often don't have time to try out the tutorial and photograph it for the post. So...advice?

3. I will be working on adding labels (keywords) soon. I think that will help with #1 and possibly have the added benefit of increasing traffic.

4. Finally...anything you'd like to see here? Comments are open, as always.

P.S. I think for my one year anniversary, I'm going to hold a little giveaway of an item that I've been asked many times for. Stay tuned!
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