We all know we should be doing more to protect the planet and dispose of waste responsibly. But if you’re like me, you might spend a lot of time wondering what’s recyclable and what’s not, and what sustainability really means. Here are three ways we at the library and in the city of Davenport are here to help you figure out the world of eco-friendly living.
READ: The Waste-Free World by Ron Gonen is a manifesto highlighting what companies can and should do to make recycling and reuse part of their normal daily processes in order to protect the earth and increase sustainability.
Can I Recycle This by Jennie Romer is a more practical guide to reducing plastic waste in your home.
WATCH: Going to green. Volume 1, Towards a more sustainable community is a series of documentary episodes discussing specific environmental and sustainability issues with helpful information for all ages.
PLAY: the Quad City Recycling Quest Game through the City of Davenport Public Works department website is a fun way to test and build your knowledge of waste disposal practices locally. The game allows you to pick whether a given item goes in recycling, compost, trash, a hazardous materials facility, or an electronics facility. It doesn’t take long to play and it will definitely teach you something!
Check out this LibGuide for more resources on how to make an eco-friendly home – and thanks for anything you do to make this world a greener, healthier place.
Guerilla Furniture Design is an innovative collection that features 35 simple, inexpensive projects that you can make from salvaged and upcycled materials — cardboard, metal, plastic, and wood.
The projects include tables, shelving units, chairs, lamps, and more, in a variety of styles. Many are stackable and easily portable, most can be made in a weekend, and all include instructions for disassembly and disposal when you’re ready to repurpose the materials.
If you’d rather make than buy, these low-budget, high-style designs are just what you’re looking for. (description from publisher)
One man’s junk…can still be that dude’s junk. But oh, it can be repurposed into something functional and amazing!
-As of June 2008, there have been more than 1 billion personal computers distributed worldwide.
-The average American goes through a cell phone every 12 to 18 months, leaving 700 million sitting in desk drawers for a rainy day.
Those are just the appliances you’ve used recently. How about your rotary phone, external modem, parallel port scanner, etc?
Enter the new book 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics) by Randy Sarafan and you can construct an iMac terrarium, RAM money clip, and a scanner compost bin among many useful inventions. I mean, what else were you planning to do with that stuff?
The eco-movement has reached the crafts department – although sewers, quilters and crafters have always been experts at recycling. Sewing Green by Betz White will help you take this tradition even further with patterns, tips and fresh ideas for making the most of found materials.
Not sure what to do with those mis-matched but still lovely sheets and pillowcases? White suggests making lounge pants or a cute summer top. Turn a vintage tablecloth into a charming wrap skirt or placemats into a practical tote bag. Old cashmere sweaters get new life as a luxurious – but simple – patchwork throw. Even empty Mylar juice pouches can be stitched into an auto sunshade!
White gives lots of tips on what to look for at flea markets and thrift stores – what can be fixed and what to avoid. She also profiles several “eco-innovators”, people who have embraced the green movement with style, creating organic and eco-friendly materials and products for the public.
There’s a good dash of fun and whimsy in all of the projects – a draft dodger shaped like a log, a tote bag made out of Tyvek envelopes – but they’re also practical and made with basic skills anyone can master. It’s repurposing made fun!
Ed Begley Jr has been an enviromentalist since it was cool the first time in the late 1960’s. His wife Rachelle knew this about him when she married him, but she also likes style. As the review on the back of the book says “His environmentalism and her design savvy combine to create a guide to going green that keeps the chic in eco-chic”.
In Living Like Ed, Begley discusses how to make your life more efficient and environmentally friendly. In your home this can range from just changing the furnace filters, to using the new energy efficient appliances, to installing state of the art air filtration and purification systems. Begley discusses his transportation hierarchy – walking, biking, public transportation, and electric or hybrid car. His recycling ideas were good reminders to me. Begley makes it a point not to buy products if the recycle number on the product is not accepted for recycling in his area. He also discusses home energy including solar panels and home wind turbines. The book ends with an examination of food and clothes, which was enlightening too.
This fun, accessible book will have you “living like Ed” (to one degree or another) in no time!