Spring is just awesome - not only because it's time for warmer weather & blossoms but also because the impending arrival of summer means its time to up our recycling game again.
Before you close this page out of guilt because perhaps you haven't been as diligent in your recycling efforts as most, don't worry - we're not here to judge.
You don't have to be a champion who delivers kilos of glass to your local depot every week - it's in the little things & when you take it one step at a time, it's actually real easy & a lot of fun for the whole family.
In the beginning...
So let's look at the little things around the house: glass, plastic, cans, paper etc. Some suburbs are great & have recycling bins or even pick ups right from your house. I hear that on the Garden Route residents even have bins for each type of recyclable! This makes it super easy to recycle but what are the options for those of us who have a less-than-jacked metro?
Things like glass jars can be re-purposed into containers for home made sauces, pickles & jams, tea light holders, lanterns, ornate painted mini-vases, pet treat storage or even a great way to transport your sugar, tea & coffee when you go on a camping trip - your imagination is the limit! I've used old coffee tins to create hanging flower pots - just a lick of paint & an attractive succulent & you've got a conversation starter at your next braai. Our neighbour is currently creating beautiful flower boxes from reclaimed pallets & we're going to have those on sale in our online store soon. A super cool initiative we've become familiar with over the last few weeks is eco bricks. Basically if you take an empty 2 litre bottle, stuff it full of non-recyclables like cigarette butts & plastic shopping bags to the point where it can take your standing weight, that's an eco brick that can be used to build with! Read more about them & how making one can earn you a free pilates session here.
Aside from traditional recycling, there is another option which we favour in our household as it's a double whammy of helping the planet & helping communities. We keep all our plastic separate from the other rubbish & on collection day, we take it out for the guys that recycle from the rubbish bins. They also like cardboard so we keep any of these items separate & clean so that they don't have to rummage through the bins for their loot.
This is a tricky one because we don't always have control over the kinds of packaging that our consumables come in & often there is a price difference that most households have to consider. A small change we've made recently is to purchase fresh fruits & veg from a grocer instead of the supermarket, opting for loose items that don't come in packaging (think cabbages, cauliflowers & bunches of carrots). While not all the goods are sold loose like this, if we can reduce our packaging by just 50% this already makes a huge difference.
Our favourite reduction recycling comes in the form of reduced water usage. Having 7 000 litres of spare water on hand was neither excessively expensive nor hard work & once set up, it takes care of itself. We installed our two Jojo tanks a few years back when the going got really tough in Joburg & with a few simple tweaks to the guttering system, we can now collect up to 3000 litres in a 10 minute downpour. If you were one of the grey water collectors during the drought you can appreciate how much easier this is & how much more water you can collect for use around the house! Investing in water collection & storage like this is invaluable to any household & definitely worth the small investment.
I'd hoped to have a lovely picture of earthworms in compost here, but the free image library that I use for generic pics gave me the four gems above when I searched for earth worm.
I'm not sure if I should be offended or amused.... but I digress. Decomposition is not a bad thing when it happens in a positive context. Smelly rat in the ceiling - not so good... veggie clippings turning into a nice rich compost - fantastic!
Our little compost heap was a Builder's Warehouse number that you can just plop down in a corner of the garden & feed every day. There are also plenty of DIY options online that you can build from scratch, recycling even more of your unused garage bits & bobs. Veggie clippings, fruit peels, potato skins - anything (except meat - for the love of all things good, never put meat in it*) that decomposes can go into your heap. Chuck some earthworms in there to speed things up & keep it moist & warm for a speedier transition. Don't worry, they really don't stink but obviously placement is key here. We've got a nice quiet corner of the garden where it's super humid & out of direct sunlight.
What are your household hacks for recycling? We'd love to gain some more tips that we can apply here at Barking Wild.
Chantelle can be a strange cat at times. It's not unusual to find her with her ear to one of the Jojo's during a rain storm, shouting "I can hear it filling up!!!". Every. Single. Time.
Seriously though, don't put meat in your composte heap. A few years back one of our goldfish in the pond went on to fishy heaven & I figured it would make a nice addition to the compost heap. Needless to say, I was wrong on so many levels & thanks to my friend Megamalist who gave me a virtual shake through Whatsapp: (NO, dude, what are you doing?!?!?!)
I fished it out before things turned ugly.