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How to Identify Upholstered Vintage & Antique Chairs
Chairs have been through numerous style changes over the years, decades and even centuries. Some chair designs are so classic or sought after that they’ve been reproduced, which may make it difficult to determine if that vintage or antique chair is an original or a more modern knockoff. Others feature upholstery fabric that pinpoints a particular era, such as olive green velvety fabric with large printed flowers from the 1960s through 1970s. Close inspection of the fabric or bottom of a chair typically reveals clues as to its age or origin. Antique chairs are those made more than 100 years ago, while vintage chairs span the time up to the 1970s.
The fabric or upholstery on a chair is often the giveaway as to its age. If the fabric is an old tattered hand-stitched floral and white print that looks like it’s nearly a century old, it likely is — fabric patterns tend to follow trends, even on furniture, so a print that seems completely foreign and unfamiliar, showing extreme wear and of unknown material, likely is actually old and not a reproduction. On the other hand, a barkcloth-style upholstery fabric that looks brand new, featuring an atomic boomerang or tiki pattern, may be from the 1950s, may have been reupholstered more recently, or may be a reproduction with a reproduction fabric. In this case, the fabric alone is not enough to determine the chair’s age.
An upholstered chair also has a substance behind the fabric to give the chair its softness and comfort. This filling, like the common fabrics of any era, has changed over time. Armchairs made after 1830 often have coiled springs, a filling using available substances such as feathers, and webbing or padding beneath the fabric. In the 20th century, synthetic foams replaced the more natural stuffing in many chairs.
The underside of the chair often offers the best clues as to its general age. Look for a tag with manufacturing information, including a name, model number or even a year for chairs made in the last 80 years or so. If the tag features a website address, that’s a huge clue that it is a modern reproduction. If there is no tag, look for a stamp or even handwritten information on the seat bottom, in case the chair was handmade. The Internet has information on many manufacturers and chair artisans, so you may be able to look this name up online.
The way the chair is assembled is a big clue to its age. If modern phillips-head screws are on the chair, holding legs or the seat assembly in place, it’s likely a modern chair. Slotted screws are somewhat older. Chair rails or the support assembly beneath the seat did not have screws at all on chairs made in the 18th century, whereas newer ones usually do, in the corner brackets. Some modern chairs made by artisans may not have screws either, but such chairs are likely marked with the maker’s name somewhere beneath the seat.
Recycle and Reuse Old Bicycles for Planters.
Recycled and reuse old items.
Train Car Guest Suites
Driving a 100 year-old steam car
Upcycled Bottles Into Lamps
Make your child’s baby crib into a bench for their room. Let it grow with them. Source: torispelling.com
Plastic Bottle Upcycle Decoupage to Makeup
Tire made into a seat.
50 Gallon Drum – Made into a porch seat.
Holiday Ornaments with Socks.
Recycle your old felt or pick up inexpensive felt at Michaels for your Felt Christmas Trees
Recycle Ideas – “Just Recycle it”
5 Recycling Tips for Kids
Teach your children about being eco-friendly
If your kids don’t know the basics of earth-friendly living, now is a perfect time to introduce them to the small concepts that can make a big difference.
“Whether it’s talking about what goes into the trash or learning how to make compost, teaching kids the principles of recycling starts with the parent’s own behavior,” says Tessa Hills, president of Kids for Saving Earth.
“If you start by doing things a certain way, children will follow your lead,” Tessa says. “Once they’re used to (environmentally-friendly) practices, they won’t know any other way to be.”
Kids for Saving Earth was created in 1989 by Tessa and her husband William, after their 11-year-old son Clint died from cancer. They thought Clint, who started a club for Earth-saving actions in his elementary school, would approve of their non-profit organization.
Tessa is here with us today with five fun ways to teach your kids about recycling:
1. Swap everything.
We all like to hang onto things that we love, but if we want new things, we usually have to let go of the old. So go through your stuff and pick out what you don’t need anymore. Just make sure it’s still in good, usable shape. Then have a swap party with your friends and swap everything. You’ll get something new and be able to share something you once loved with a friend.
2. Reuse a napkin week.
Instead of using paper napkins, pick out a different colored washcloth for every member of your family. For one week, keep the washcloths in a drawer in the kitchen, and take them out for use at each meal. Wash when needed. Who knows? After a week, you may get your family to stop buying disposable paper products altogether.
3. Create less trash.
Ask your mom or dad to buy reusable sandwich boxes that can be washed — instead of disposable plastic bags — in which to pack your lunch. Tell them to skip the bottled water and buy stainless steel drinking bottles that can be reused.
4. Throw a green birthday party.
Plan your birthday party (or any party) with eco-actions. E-mail your invitations, serve organic food and use washable plates instead of disposable ones. Suggest your friends bike, walk or carpool with their parents to the party and that gifts be wrapped with recycled paper or reusable bags.
5. Conserve resources.
Keep extra cups in your car, so that when your parents drive through your favorite fast food place, you can order just one large drink and split it up in the extra cups. It’ll save money that just might end up in your allowance the following week.
Carver Recycle Day 2016
Reuse Fabric Softener Sheets to make Flowers.
How to Dispose of Paint
Recycled Crafts – Silver Coffee Set
How do you recycle paper?
Kids recycling learning video.
A Brief History Of Recycling
Recycling is nothing new. People have been doing it for thousands of years. And not just people: Nature has been recycling plants, trees, insects, and creatures for as long as there has been nature. So, recycling is as old and as natural as the earth itself.
Why recycle? Mostly because it’s the wise thing to do. Even the earliest humans understood that throwing things away was wasteful and created health problems.
Today we recycle for a variety of reasons. We understand that recycling helps conserve limited resources. Recycling also saves energy, creates jobs, and helps build a strong economy. And it reduces problems associated with litter and trash.
So, recycling is still the wise thing to do. Here is a brief history of recycling, showing how it has developed – and how it has become a way of life for millions of people.
65 million years ago
As dinosaurs die off and become extinct, they are recycled into oil and gas. The process takes place as the decaying remains of dinosaurs – along with other sea animals and plants – settle on the seabed. Over time, the animals, plants, mud, and sediment will gradually compress into sedimentary rock and change into gas and oil through heat and pressure. Millions of years later they will be mined and refined into petroleum, plastics, and thousands of other products.
Nomadic tribes begin to settle. Now that they no longer travel from place to place, leaving their garbage behind, they must learn how to dispose of their trash. The challenge of what to do with waste begins.
Religious, utilitarian, and social conventions play a major role in establishing sanitary practices in the ancient world. For example, the Jewish code of sanitary laws obligates individuals to be responsible for removal of their own waste.
Athens organizes the first municipal dumps in the western world. Local laws dictate that waste must be disposed of at least one mile from the city walls.
Japan begins the first recorded use of waste paper for making new paper. All documents and paper are recycled and repulsed into new paper sold in paper shops.
The Black Death epidemic reaches Europe from Asia, spawned in part by garbage tossed onto unpaved streets and vacant spaces. The trash becomes a fertile environment for diseases carried by rat fleas. Infected humans typically died within 2 to 10 days. Before it is over, Black Death will kill hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children.
The recycled paper manufacturing process is introduced. The Rittenhouse Mill near Philadelphia will make paper from fiber derived from recycled cotton and linen rags.
As America declares its independence form England, rebels turn to recycling to provide material to fight the War of Independence. Silversmith Paul Revere advertises for scrap metal of all kinds. General George Washington urges the reuse of old worn chain from frigates. And publisher Benjamin Franklin uses reconstituted scrap paper in his early printing. Patriots contribute metal, paper, cloth, and other used items to the American Revolution. Among other things, iron kettles and pots are melted down for armaments. Meanwhile, paper use grows dramatically in the new states. The Massachusetts House of Representatives passes a decree requiring that all towns appoint an individual to receive rags for the mills.
The first mill to produce paper from material other than cotton and linen rags is built in England. Matthias Koops receives the first patent for “extracting printing and writing ink from printed and written paper, and converting the paper from which the ink is extracted into pulp, and making thereof paper fit for writing, printing, and other purposes.” Two years later, the Koops mill declared bankruptcy and closed.
Peter Durand is granted a patent by King George III of England for his idea of preserving food in “vessels of glass, pottery, tin, or other metals or fit materials” launching the commercially processed food industry.
The peddler trade, among America’s earliest entrepreneurships, begins when men with backpacks and horse drawn carts collect and recycle anything that has resale value. These merchants, usually impoverished immigrants in the New World, are direct ancestors of some of today’s successful scrap-recycling business families.
The California Gold Rush and the Civil War create an urgent need for food that could be preserved for long periods of time and transported over great distances. Travelers heading westward to open new settlements took with them foods packed in metal cans by canners in the East. The U.S. canning business will boom from an output of five million cans in 1849 to thirty million five years later.
The Salvation Army is founded in London, England, and begins collecting, sorting, and recycling unwanted goods. The organization’s “Household Salvage Brigades” employ the unskilled poor to recover discarded materials. The Salvation Army and its resource recovery activities migrate to the United States in the 1890’s.
Curbside recycling begins in Baltimore, Maryland. Meanwhile in Nottingham, England, a new device called “the destructor” provides the first systematic incineration of municipal waste.
The Sierra Club is founded in San Francisco by renowned conservationist John Muir. It is the first environmental organization.
New York City appoints Colonel George E. Waring as street-cleaning commissioner. Known as the “Apostle of Cleanliness,” Waring administers the first practical, comprehensive system of refuse management in the United States. The system requires households to sort organic wastes, paper, ashes, and street sweepings into separate containers for collection. Waring outfits the proud sweepers and drivers in smart-looking white uniforms. He even helps New York profit from source separation by reselling recovered materials.
New York City creates a materials recovery facility where trash is sorted at “picking yards” and separated into various grades of paper, metals, and carpet. Burlap bags, twine, rubber, and even horse hair are also sorted for recycling and reuse.
The nations first aluminum can recycling plants open in Chicago and Cleveland.
An article in Cosmopolitan magazine, “The Chemical House That Jack Built,” extols the manner in which “every possible substance we use and throw away comes back as new and different material – a wonderful cycle of transformation created by scientists’ skill.”
Recyclers and reuse programs adopt the phrase “Waste As Wealth” to describe the profits to be made from sorting and reselling items found in household trash.
The Chicago city jail initiates a unique recycling experiment as it puts prisoners to work collecting and sorting waste materials.
1916 – 1918
Due to shortages of raw materials during World War I, the federal government creates the Waste Reclamation Service with the motto “Don’t Waste Waste – Save It.” The agency advertises extensively to encourage the public to save old rags and wastepaper. The service also advocates scientific management of the nation’s water, timber, land, and minerals – early steps in the evolution of progressive programs to protect resources for future generations.
Used paper becomes a valuable commodity and, for the first time in America, thousands of tons of old books, newspapers, and business papers are recycled by paper mills. Meanwhile, Ms. Othemon Stevens initiates an ambitious tin foil collection program in Los Angeles and becomes the sole representative of the Red Cross Salvage Bureau.
Landfilling – reclaiming wetlands with layers of garbage, ash, and dirt – is introduced and becomes a popular disposal method.
The Municipal Garbage Department of Sacramento, California, increases its annual revenue by selling the city’s wastepaper to an independent paper company. The new revenue allows the department to increase garbage collectors wages by 25 cents a day.
The first aluminum can for beverages is manufactured by a brewer in Newark, New Jersey. The can weighs three ounces. Sixty years later, a process called “light weighting” will reduce aluminum beverage cans weight to just one-half ounce.
1939 – 1945
Thousands of tons of material are recycled to support U.S. and Allied troops during World War II. The war Production Board’s Salvage Division is responsible for promoting nationwide recycling. More than 20,000 salvage committees, 400,000 volunteers, and millions of citizens pledge to “Get in the Scrap” to help the war effort. The salvage of tin, rubber, aluminum, and other materials is taken very seriously. Citizens contribute everything from doorknobs to girdles to help build the military machine. The rhetoric is strong: “If you have even a few pounds of scrap metal in your home you are aiding the Axis,” asserts one wartime magazine ad. It is said that salvaging metal straps from corsets alone saved enough metal to build two warships.
The Boston General Salvage Committee helps the war effort with scrap drives – advertising the campaign on streetcars and billboards, and with informational circulars to homes. “Special Salvage Days,” a children’s scrap metal contest involving schools, exhibits in grocery stores, and a volunteer women’s group known as the “Salvage Commandos” are also used to enlist support for the program.
In a productive public-private partnership to help the government’s war effort, the International Harvester Company coordinates an effort using its 10,000 dealerships nationwide to collect much of the estimated three million tons of ferrous scrap metal lying idle on American farms. In Chicago, the Herald & American newspaper enlists the aid of its 3,000 carrier boys known as the “Junior Salvage Commandos” to make personal house-to-house calls in search of scrap iron.
Market acceptance of frozen orange concentrate leads to the expansion of the frozen foods industry, with associated increases in packaging.
The August 1 issue of Life magazine offers a two-page article on “Throwaway Living.” With a photo of a family cheerfully tossing dozens of disposables into the air, it celebrated these products’ ability to “cut down on household chores.” Consumers are increasingly sold on the idea that single-use items are necessities of a modern lifestyle. Ease and convenience become the two most desirable qualities in product marketing. A negative side-effect: parks, forests, and highways are littered with trash.
The American Society of Civil Engineers publishes a guide to landfilling, calling for compacting trash and covering it daily with a layer of soil to guard against rodents and odors. Later standards will call for new landfills to have a liner on the bottom and liquid collection systems that pump out water for treatment, and to collect methane gas, which is produced as waste decomposes.
The all-aluminum can is introduced. Recognizing the value of used aluminum cans as a raw material for making new cans, the aluminum industry will soon begin creating a massive system for recycling and redeeming used beverage containers. U.S. collection will grow from 1.2 billion cans in 1972 to more than 62 billion cans in 1995 through curbside recycling programs and more than 10,000 recycling centers.
The Solid Waste Disposal Act is passed by Congress, the first significant recognition of trash as a national issue. The primary thrust of the act is to “initiate and accelerate” a national research and development program and to assist state and local governments with their disposal programs.
The first national Earth Day is held on April 22. The brainchild of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, it is inspired by “teach-ins” held to educate citizens about the Vietnam War. An estimated 20 million Americans celebrate at festivals and fairs throughout the U.S. One focus is recycling, which begins to evolve into a mainstream movement, as recycling and litter clean-up programs spring up throughout the country. Schools, religious institutions, environmental organizations, and youth groups take the lead in these efforts.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is created as a government response to the public’s growing environmental concerns, and its Office of Solid Waste begins examining the problems caused by generating and disposing waste. Meanwhile, Congress passes the Resource Recovery Act to shift the emphasis of federal involvement from disposal to recycling, resource recovery, and the conversion os waste into energy.
Oregon passes the first “bottle bill” in the U.S., requiring consumers to pay a deposit on bottles and cans, to be redeemed when the container is recycled.
Meanwhile, aluminum industry efforts lead to a record 53 million pounds of aluminum being recycled this year. Twenty-five years later, Americans will exceed that amount every week, with some 119,282 cans recycled every minute nationwide.
The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottle is patented by chemist Nathaniel Wyeth, brother of distinguished American painter Andrew Wyeth. The bottles will soon begin replacing glass bottles for some uses. Recycling will begin in 1977, though it will be years before a significant number of recycling facilities accept PET bottles. Recycling efforts will get a boost in 1991, when Coca-Cola introduces the first recycled-PET soda bottle. PET recycling will grow from 8 million pounds in 1979 to 622 million in 1995.
Direct-mail advertising begins to take off, with more than $5 billion spent to promote credit cards, magazines, and hundreds of other products. Within 20 years, the industry will grow to more than $100 billion, with more than 70 billion pieces of mail delivered annually, about one in seven of which will be recovered for recycling.
The Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is passed. Among other things, it mandates that landfills become more closely monitored. The law emphasizes recycling and conserving energy and other resources, and launches the nation’s hazardous waste management program.
“Choices for Conservation,” a report of the Federal Resource Conservation Committee, warns: “We have no cause for complacency about the rate at which we consume our natural endowment. Our materials-use practices affect environmental policy, energy consumption, waste generation, the balance of trade, and other important concerns. Individuals, private companies, local government, and the federal government all make choices every day which affect our use and conservation of resources.”
California enacts the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, placing a deposit on aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles. The program pushes the state’s overall beverage container recycling rate to 80% by the mid 1990s, with more than 10 billion cans and bottles recycled annually. Meanwhile, Rhode Island becomes the first state to pass a mandatory recycling law for aluminum and steel (“tin”) cans, glass, plastic (PET and HDPE) bottles, and newspapers. Residents and businesses must now separate these recyclables from their trash.
The Mobro, a barge carrying garbage from New York, tries unsuccessfully to get rid of its load in six states and three other countries. The barge travels 6,000 miles for six months before it is finally allowed to dump its load, consisting primarily of paper, back in New York. The event is widely published and brings new interest in recycling as an alternative to landfilling. In an unrelated incident a year later, hypodermic needles and other medical waste wash up on East Coast beaches. Lake Michigan????? The media begins referring to the situations collectively as a “solid waste crisis.”
Government purchasing policies and technological breakthroughs advance paper recycling. California state government allows a price preference for paper with at least 50% recycled and 10% postconsumer content. By the early ‘90s, all 50 states adopt legislation or executive orders favoring recycled paper. In 1993 President Clinton orders federal agencies to buy paper with at least 20% postconsumer content.
Arizona archeologist William Rathje begins the Garbage Project in which he leads students in “mining” local landfills to learn about modern civilization. Among the findings: Trash doesn’t break down in landfills. Students unearth decades-old newspapers that are intact, and bananas that are still yellow.
The 20th anniversary of Earth Day marks a pinnacle of the modern environmental movement as millions of citizens worldwide participate in environmental events. Public opinion polls sow environmental protection as a top concern. 50 Things You Can Do to Save the Earth, The Green Consumer, and other bestsellers join with network TV specials and magazine cover stories to bring a renewed focus on recycling and other conservation efforts.
Collection of recyclables is so prolific that the challenge becomes finding markets for the materials being collected. A new emphasis is placed on “closing the loop” – buying products made from recycled material.
California state government mandates municipalities to reduce their waste stream by 25% by the year 1995 and 50% by the year 2000. The California Integrated Waste Management Board is established (by Assembly Bill 939 in 1989) to administer the program.
The Environmental Defense Fund, National Recycling Coalition, Environmental Media Association, and other prominent environmental organizations, along with state government agencies in California, Washington, and elsewhere, begin promoting buying recycled-content products as key to the continued success of recycling in the U.S.
The National Football League teams up with the California Department of Conservation, the city of Pasadena, and the Rose Bowl to implement the first comprehensive recycling program at Super Bowl XXVII.
California observes its first Recycle Week in mid-April. Meanwhile, California Governor George Deukmejian introduces a litter prevention campaign targeting the youthful litterbug. The ad line “Learn to hold it until you get to the can. Don’t litter.”
Americans recycle a record 47.6 billion soft drink containers, an increase of 500 million over the previous year. Aluminum cans are recycled at a rate of 63% in the U.S. and 80% in California. There are more than 10,000 recycling centers nationwide and at least 4,000 curbside collection programs. There are more than 400 papers in all grades.
Evidence grows that recycling helps create jobs. For example, the city of San Jose estimates it could cerate 775 jobs by recycling 624,000 tons of material. A study by the California Integrated Waste Management Board calculates that diverting 50% of the state’s waste stream from landfills could create 40,000 new jobs by the year 2000. The California department of Conservation publishes Good, Green Jobs, documenting how companies are creating economic growth through recycling and other environmental initiatives.
Californians achieve a milestone diverting 25% of their waste, meeting the requirements of state law. The California Integrated Waste Management Board intensifies its efforts to help communities, businesses, and families to reduce, reuse, and recycle even more in order to reach the historic 50% reduction by 2000.
Scrap Metal Corner
Aluminum Recycling Facts
A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!
Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.
Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.
More aluminum goes into beverage cans than any other product.
Because so many of them are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1% of the total U.S. waste stream, according to EPA estimates.
An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now!
There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can be recycled.
We use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year.
At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold!
A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel. In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes!
How To Create and Maintain a Home Recycling Center
Recycling Pallets and making indoor garden.
Sandra wrote to me asking if she could contribute a guest post to the site.
Based in Manchester, Sandra is 27 and has been a concerned environmentalist since as far as she can remember. She tries to purchase items that are made locally, are organic and aren’t tested on animals as well as recycling as much as she can.
Sandra has a strong passion to inspire others in doing good for the world while saving money at the same time! In her post today, Sandra tells us what she thinks will happen if we don’t recycle. She runs her own site called “hooked on recycling“.
Wondering where’s the harm if we don’t recycle? Eventually, we will run out. Run out of what? I was hoping you would ask that question.
We will eventually run out of natural resources. Look at these aerial photos of forests from twenty years ago and you should see plenty of growth in the wrong direction. We are losing our forests. The problem is that, while products we make with natural resources can, for the most part compost and become part of the natural cycle again, it is taking much longer than we are taking to use it up. We are operating at a net loss.
We are also going to run out space to hide all our trash. Ever notice how cities make sure that their trash is dumped outside their city limits? They don’t want to see it anymore than you do. Trash dumps smell bad, can be dangerous for children, and might be toxic. We can make Mount Trashmores all we want but I’m still wondering how safe is that thing? Considering what people throw out, I’m not sure I’d want to walk around on top of it. What about living on top of it?
Products made with limited natural resources will eventually cost more. Imagine being in the movie “Waterworld” and wanting a smoke. It will be that bad. Okay, you don’t have to want to smoke to be in that movie and still cry.
We’ll have more pollution. We need to be careful about how we recycle to make sure we don’t use wasteful practices to recycle. It stands to reason that if we have a product closer to what we want (i.e. used paper, glass, or plastic), that it should take less energy and pollution to clean up for reuse.
If you don’t recycle, you won’t notice how much you’re saving from the trash dump and how much you are throwing away everyday. This helps you build an awareness of trash in general and what you’re throwing out. Just noticing packaging helps you to be a more informed consumer. You might decide to buy or advocate for products with less packaging. You may decide to buy products that are eco-packaged to cut down on waste.
We are going to destroy more habitats that in turn can affect wildlife. Maybe you will not miss a particular bird or moth but think of the big picture. What trend are we following? One that protects more and more animals on earth or one where we are continuing to use up every thing in our path?
Landfill with Scott Green
Source: Scott Green
Make going outside in the rain a breeze by keeping foul-weather gear organized by the door. Assign each member of the family a steel bucket to hold hats, gloves and umbrellas. Now, there’s no more hunting for lost mittens.
Low-cost solar device converts sunlight to steam in dusty environment
A novel, low-cost solar thermal energy conversion system has been developed that can easily generate steam from sunlight. The solar conversion system can help make technologies that rely on steam, like seawater desalination, wastewater treatment, residential water heating, medical tool sterilization and power generation, more efficient and affordable.
The new device floats on water, converting 20% of incoming solar energy into steam at 100 degrees Celsius without expensive optical concentration devices and is made of cheap, commercially available materials, including bubble wrap and a polystyrene (plastic) foam.
“This project is an excellent demonstration of how international collaboration and use-inspired research can yield cutting-edge scientific findings that have direct application to the sectors that are at the core of the UAE’s continued evolution toward an innovation and knowledge-based economy,” said Dr. Steve Griffiths, Vice President for Research and Associate Provost, Masdar Institute.
“The system we have developed enables us to generate steam with solar energy without having to rely on direct sunlight,” said Dr. TieJun Zhang, Masdar Institute Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. “”The technology is particularly suited for the UAE’s dusty climate, as it fully uses the entire spectrum of sunlight for thermal applications rather than just the direct portion, which can be hindered by the aerosols,” he added.
Dr. Zhang, MIT’s Mechanical Engineering Department Head Dr. Gang Chen, PhD student Hongxia Li and Postdoc Weilin Yang at Masdar Institute, published a paper on their new floating solar receiver last week in the journal Nature Energy, along with George Ni, an MIT graduate student and the paper’s leading author, and two other researchers at MIT.
The receiver’s design is relatively simple: A floating, sponge-like device made of a spectrally-selective absorber allows visible light energy from the sun in, while restricting the amount of heat that radiates back out into the atmosphere. This heat-trapping effect significantly improves the device’s sunlight-to-steam efficiency.
The absorber is sandwiched between a top bubble-wrap layer, which allows for sunlight absorption while reducing the amount of heat lost to the air through convection, and a bottom insulating foam layer, which floats the entire structure on a body of water and reduces the thermal loss of the generated heat to the water below. The floating receiver acts like a sponge, constantly soaking up water and evaporating it, producing a continuous stream of steam.
The solar receiver was validated at MIT, where it demonstrated the ability to rapidly reach 100°C and generate steam during periods of low direct sunlight, such as during non-summer months and heavy cloud coverage.
“The technology we have demonstrated is particularly attractive for hot-arid region such as Abu Dhabi for potential applications in waste water treatment, sea water desalination, and even power generation,” Dr. Chen said.
Old Chairs repainted & new cushions
Recycling in Art
Recycling in art is not a new concept, but practitioners working with textiles seem to be discovering evermore innovative means of harnessing this abundant source of raw materials. The range of textile art being created from recycled or reclaimed goods is testament to the versatility offered by making use of stuff that has had a life already; a life that is often purely functional and as far removed from ‘art’ as you can imagine.
Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away!
- Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
- Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year.
- Over 1,600 businesses are involved in recycling post-consumer plastics.
- PET plastic can be recycled into: clothing, fiberfill for sleeping bags, toys, stuffed animals, rulers and more.
- Only around 27% of plastic bottles are recycled.
- Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures a year! Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s twice the size of Texas and is floating somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. It’s also 80 percent plastic, and weighs in at 3.5 million tons.
- When the small particles from photodegraded plastic bags get into the water, they are ingested by filter feeding marine animals. Biotoxins like PCBs that are in the particles are then passed up the food chain, including up to humans.
- It has been estimated that recycling, re-use, and composting create six to ten times as many jobs as waste incineration and landfills.
- Recycling saves 3 to 5 times the energy generated by waste-to-energy plants, even without counting the wasted energy in the burned materials.
- 13.3% of plastic packaging was recycled in 2008.
- The recycling rate of 32.5 percent in 2006 saved the carbon emission equivalent of taking 39.4 million cars off the road, and the energy equivalent of 6.8 million households’ annual energy consumption, or 222.1 million barrels of oil.
- At least 90 percent of the price of a bottle of water is for things other than the water itself, like bottling, packaging, shipping and marketing.
- 827,000 to 1.3 million tons of plastic PET water bottles were produced in the U.S. in 2006, requiring the energy equivalent of 50 million barrels of oil. 76.5 percent of these bottles ended up in landfills.
- Because plastic water bottles are shielded from sunlight in landfills, they will not decompose for thousands of years.
- Recycling one ton of plastic saves the equivalent of 1,000–2,000 gallons of gasoline.
- 66% of energy is saved when producing new plastic products from recycled materials instead of raw (virgin) materials.
- For every 1 ton of plastic that is recycled we save the equivalent of 2 people’s energy use for 1 year, the amount of water used by 1 person in 2 month’s time and almost 2000 pounds of oil.
- A survey was done and 9 out of 10 people surveyed said they would recycle more if it was easier. Odd as it seems there are many people who do not realize that plastic bottles our water comes in is made out of oil. This is the same oil that is used to make gasoline. It’s the same oil that is in such high demand and is not an unlimited resource.
The waste management hierarchy–reduce, reuse, recycle–actually expresses the order of importance of these ideas:
- Reduce needless consumption and the generation of waste.
- Reuse any item that can be reused or give it to a person or charity that can reuse it.
- Recycle whatever discards remain if you can and only dispose what you must.
Please keep in mind that recycling is your least preferred option. Reducing the generation of waste so there is no waste left to recycle would be the ideal. Make it your goal. Also keep in mind the concept of “cycle” in the term “recycle”. For there to be a complete cycle, the things you send to be recycled must come back to you. So, look for recycled content products whenever you buy, otherwise you are not truly recycling.
Reducing tire waste by using completely degradable, synthetic rubber
American Chemical Society
Scrap tires have been on environmentalists’ blacklist for decades. They pile up in landfills, have fed enormous toxic fires, harbor pests and get burned for fuel. Scientists trying to rid us of this scourge have developed a new way to make synthetic rubber. And once this material is discarded, it can be easily degraded back to its chemical building blocks and reused in new tires and other products.
The researchers will present their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
“The basic idea behind this project was to take a byproduct of the petrochemical industry and turn some of it into recyclable value-added chemicals for use in tires and other applications,” says Robert Tuba, Ph.D., one of the lead researchers on the project. “We want to make something that is good for the community and the environment.”
According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, nearly 270 million tires were discarded in the U.S. in 2013 — more than one tire per adult living in the country. Thousands get stockpiled in landfills. And because tires are non-degradable, they could potentially stick around indefinitely. More than half go on to become tire-derived fuel — shredded scrap tires that get mixed with coal and other materials to help power cement kilns, pulp and paper mills and other plants. But environmentalists are concerned that the emissions from this practice could be adding harmful pollutants to the air.
One possible solution to the nation’s scrap-tire glut would be to make new tires with degradable materials. Since 2012, the research team led by Hassan S. Bazzi, Ph.D., at the Texas A&M University campus in Qatar (TAMU-Qatar) has been working on this option. They started with a basic molecule called cyclopentene. Cyclopentene and its precursor cyclopentadiene are low-value major components of the abundant waste from petrochemical refining, in particular its steam-cracking operation C5 fraction, which contains hydrocarbons with five carbon atoms. With colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, they have been experimenting with catalysts to string cyclopentene molecules together to make polypentenamers, which are similar to natural rubber.
Currently, synthetic-rubber makers use butadiene as their base material, but its cost has recently gone up, opening the door to competition. So Tuba turned to cyclopentene as a potential alternative. Calculations showed that polymerizing cyclopentene and degrading it under relatively mild reaction conditions — and thus requiring minimal energy and expense — should be possible.
“We did theoretical studies to predict the feasibility of the synthesis and recyclability of polypentenamer-based tire additives using equilibrium ring opening metathesis polymerization,” explains Antisar Hlil, also at TAMU-Qatar. “Then we did experimental studies and found that the concept works very well.”
Using ruthenium, a transition-metal catalyst, the researchers polymerized cyclopentene at 0 degrees Celsius and decomposed the resulting material at 40 to 50 degrees. For industry, these are low temperatures that do not require a lot of energy. Additionally, in the lab, they could recover 100 percent of their starting material from several polypentenamer-based tire additives they developed.
In progress are new studies that mix the synthetic rubber with other tire materials, which include metals and fillers. The researchers are also scaling up their lab experiments to see whether the tire industry could realistically use their processes.
“If the fundamental studies are very promising — which at this point, we believe they are — then our industry partner will come in to continue this project and bring the material to market,” Tuba says.
Recycling Facts & Tips
In a lifetime the average American will throw away 600 times the amount of his or her adult weight in garbage. For example, a 150 pound adult will leave a trash legacy of 90,000 pounds.
We’re Running Out of Landfill Space
By the year 2003, 200 California landfills will close. The County of Ventura has traditionally relied on one local landfill for waste disposal.
Recycling Makes Sense
Unlike landfills (which simply stockpile trash) recycling removes waste completely, then turns it back to useful products. Recycling saves money, and in turn reduces the amount of trash going to the landfills.
Recycling one ton of aluminum:
Saves 14,000 kWh of energy
Saves 39.6 barrels (1,663 gallons) of oil
Saves 237.6 million Btu’s of energy
Saves 10 cubic yards of landfill space
Aluminum Recycling Tips
- Prepare aluminum cans for recycling by either crushing the cans to save space or leaving them uncrushed.
- Cans that are rinsed out will have little or no odor and are less likely to attract bugs.
Did You Know?
- Recycling aluminum takes 95% less energy than making aluminum from raw materials.
- Two out of three aluminum cans were recycled in the United States in 1995.
- The industry is also helping to conserve aluminum resources through a process called lightweighting. Fewer materials are used in the aluminum can so fewer resources are extracted. In 1992, the aluminum can weighed 24% less than a can designed in 1972. Where it once took 22 cans to make a pound, it now takes 30 cans to make a pound.
Recycling one ton of cardboard:
Saves 390 kWh of energy
Saves 1.1 barrels (46 gallons) of oil
Saves 6.6 million Btu’s of energy
Cardboard Recycling Tips
- Prepare cardboard for recycling by removing all other materials in the box such as plastic wrap, polystyrene peanuts and other packing materials.
- Break down cardboard boxes to save storage space.
- Try to keep cardboard dry and free from food waste. Cardboard can get wet and still be recycled, but is more difficult to carry due to the added weight of the water.
Did You Know?
- Recycling one ton of cardboard saves over 9 cubic yards of landfill space.
- Recycled cardboard saves 24% of the total energy needed for virgin cardboard.
Recycling one ton of glass:
Saves 42 kWh of energy
Saves 0.12 barrels (5 gallons) of oil
Saves 714,286 Btu’s of energy
Saves 2 cubic yards of landfill space
Saves 7.5 pounds of air pollutants from being released
Glass Recycling Tips
- Prepare glass containers for recycling by rinsing out with water.
- Labels on glass containers do not have to be removed because they are removed during the crushing process and/or burned off during the melting process.
- Avoid breaking the glass and mixing broken colors together as this may make the glass unacceptable for recycling.
- Waste Management-Recycle America offers a service known as Container Recycling Alliance (CRA) which is a national recycling organization for recovering glass containers, including clear, brown and green bottles and jars. The CRA features state-of-the-art fully automated ceramic detection and color sorting equipment, as well as full bottle destruction and decasing capabilities.
Did You Know?
- Recycling glass saves 30% of the energy required when producing glass from raw materials (soda, ash, sand and limestone). Crushed glass, called cullet, melts at a lower temperature than the raw materials, which saves energy.
- The United States throws away enough glass bottles and jars to fill a 1,350 square foot building every week.
- Refillable glass bottles use 19,000 Btu’s of energy as compared to 58,000 Btu’s used by throwaway glass bottles.
Life Electronics Recycling Volume
Industry Trends and Growth Drivers
Expected doubling of US End of Life electornics recycling volume by 2017 to reach 7.2 million tons.
Enviornmental regulation is increasing recycling rate (~25% in 2009 vs. 75% expected by ERI in 2019) and this recycling volumes.
-Waste Volume & Exponential Growth
The annual global volume of E-waste generates is expected to reach 93.5 million tons by 2016, according to a new report from Research and Markets.
This estimate is more than double the 41.5 million tons generated in 2011.
Also, the revenue generated from the sale and processing of end-of-life electronics is projected to double from its current $9.15 billion per year to over $20 billion over the next five years. To read more goto: http://electronicrecyclers.com/sustainability/recycling-trends
Spent some time today researching topics for recycle and ran across this website. Thought this was good information. To Read More at this website goto: http://eartheasy.com/live_recycling.htm
Recycling basics for the home
paper & cardboard
– newspapers should be saved in its own bin, as this material goes directly back into newsprint recycling. Recycling a four-foot stack of newspapers saves the equivalent of one 40-foot fir tree.
– magazines, glossy printed flyers or newspaper inserts, phone books, envelopes, computer paper, old letters, and paper packaging can be saved together in one bin.
– Staples in paper are acceptable, but remove rubber bands or plastic wrap.
– Do not include the following in your paper recycling: carbon paper, stickers, cardboard, laminated paper, laminated cardboard.
– plastic-lined paper drink cartons are recyclable. Most recycling centers now accept these items; ask locally.
– Discard fast food wrappers made from plastic, dirty or food-stained paper tissues or napkins.
– corrugated cardboard is a highly valued recyclable. Most curbside collectors ask you to bale the cardboard together and tie it with string. Check to see if there are size and weight limits to how much you are allowed to bale together. The most important thing to remember is to keep it dry. Plastic or waxy coated, and wet or greasy cardboard, such as pizza boxes, cannot be recycled because it clogs sorting machines.
Plastic does not break down in landfills, and since It can be recycled to make many diverse products, effort should be made to recycle all plastic waste. To make best use of plastics, consumers should choose the types of plastics which lend themselves most to reuse and recycling options. To learn about the recycling options for different types of plastic, read our article Plastics by the Numbers.
Recycling centers vary in the types of plastic they accept. Check with your local recycling center, and take care to buy plastic goods which are recyclable.
– plastic goods are assigned different numbers to grade them for recycling:
#1 (PET) and #2 (HDPE) for containers, #4 (LDPE) for bags, #7 for mixed plastics such as polycarbonates that are not recyclable. Almost all recycling centers accept plastics #1 and 2.
– plastic bottles are usually made of #1 PET plastic, a valuable recyclable material. Among many other items, this plastic can be “spun’ into fleece fabric. Tops should be removed before recycling, and put in with your general plastic items. Polycarbonate baby bottles (#7 plastic) are not recycleable.
– because it is difficult to clean PET plastic without releasing harmful chemicals, bottles made of PET should not be reused.
– plastic grocery bags – most grocery bags are made of high density polyethylene, a Type 2 recyclable plastic. Most grocery stores have bins outside so customers can drop off used plastic bags for recycling.
– polystyrene (#6) (cups, food trays, egg cartons, etc) does not biodegrade. Ask if your recycling center accepts polystyrene for recycling; many now accept this material. Try to reduce your use of this material.
Get Kids Recycling at School: Create a School Recycling Program
From – Plastic Make It Possible
Have a School Recycle Club
When school is in session, if your student is not already overwhelmed with sports, clubs, and music programs, then starting or helping with a school recycling program would be a terrific extra-curricular, educational activity.
Recycling teaches kids important lessons about the environmental impact of everyday life. Incorporating recycling into school life helps kids think about their role in creating a sustainable environment for future generations.
Getting kids recycling is easier than they may think. Here are some steps to start a school recycling program or to support existing recycling.
School Recycling Starts at Administration
Starting a school recycling program is much easier with the support of the administration, so that’s usually the first stop. Getting kids recycling provides a valuable scientific and environmental learning experience for everyone involved, something any administration could get behind.
Assess the Need for Recycling at School
A good early step in creating a school recycling program is an audit to identify the quantity and types of waste in each part of the school—classrooms, offices, cafeterias, libraries, and so on. This assessment eventually will help identify where the school’s recyclables are generated.
Get Kids Recycling the Right Materials
When creating a school recycling program, it’s important to determine which materials are accepted for recycling in the area. Earth911 is a great resource to find local recycling facilities. The city or county Recycling Coordinator (usually listed under solid waste, environmental protection or public works on a community website) and the local recycling hauler should be able to identify what materials are accepted for recycling. They also may provide suggestions on how to run the school recycling program and may even help with equipment for collecting recyclables.
Create a Kids’ Recycling Team
A student recycling coordinator and support team could help implement the school recycling program, and it is an effective way to encourage all students to recycle. Or an after-school recycling club including faculty and parents could work with the school custodial staff to create a collection system and encourage participation.
Make Recycling Bins Easy to Find and Use
To make it as easy as possible for students and faculty to recycle, recycling containers should look different than trash bins and be just as widely available. Adding pictures of recyclables— plastic bottles, paper, aluminum cans—on or near the school recycling containers helps everyone identify the right place for the right recyclables.
Those are some basic steps to create a school recycling program, although every program is different. Recycling can and should be part of every school, business and home—and starting as kids is a great way to instill this ethic.
Teacher Vision – Recycling
Teaching Kids to Recycle
All parents want to leave the world a better place for their children. While it sometimes feels like we don’t have much control over what happens down the line, one of the best ways to ensure that there will be a healthy planet for future generations is to teach little ones about recycling now so that they grow up with an awareness about waste and an appreciation for preserving resources. After all, our babies will inherit our planet®.
The earlier good habits are ingrained, the easier it is to incorporate them into your daily life. Here are some activities that will help kids understand what recycling is and how they can be part of it:
1. Litter in the park. Visit a park or beach, where you can point out the trash on the ground. Explain how this can affect wildlife like birds, which may eat the garbage and get sick. Bring some bags and pairs of gloves to help clean it up.
2. Make recycling bins. Sorting out recyclables is a surprisingly fun activity for young kids. Let them decorate bins with pictures of what should go in each one (paper, plastic, cans, etc. — depending on how the recycling is sorted in your area) and then give them some items to practice sorting. Explain how it’s important to put everything in the right bin so that it can all be processed easily once it gets to the recycling facility.
3. Bedtime stories. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, a classic, is a great way to give kids an early entrée into the world of environmentalism. The Little Green Books from Simon & Schuster are also fun reads and include titles like The Adventures of an Aluminum Can, My First Garden and I Can Save the Ocean!
4. Explore the rooms of your house. When recycling, we often mainly focus on the kitchen, but there are things you can recycle and reuse all over your home. Have kids walk into a specific room and point out what they think can be recycled — if you’re not sure, research it together. Whether it’s stuffed animals in a bedroom, paint in a garage or bottles in a bathroom, there are plenty of items that don’t have to be destined for the landfill. Go over how items can be reused or upcycled, too — old toys can be donated to charities, pants that are outgrown can turn into shorts and mismatched board game pieces can become jewelry. This will help kids get in the habit of thinking about where their outgrown items can find a new home once they’re done with them.
5. Recycling relay. In a grassy area, set up a row of recycling bins, each which accept something different. Then split a group of kids (elementary school age works well for this game) into teams and have them take turns running to the bins, depositing an item in the correct container, then racing back and tagging a teammate, who then picks up an item and runs to the bins. The first team to correctly recycle all their items wins. To add an extra challenge, include some items that can’t be recycled so that kids can learn what has to go in the trash. You may want to add a composting bucket as well.
Learn more on recycling and its benefits on EPA.Gov
Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit your community and the environment. https://www.epa.gov/recycle/recycling-basics
Benefits of Recycling
- Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
- Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
- Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
- Saves energy
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
- Helps sustain the environment for future generations
- Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States
How to Recycle Anything
If you have been wondering can I recycle or toss, this is a great site to find the A to Z of recycling items.
An A-to-Z guide of what can be tossed into which bin.
Antiperspirant and deodorant sticks: Many brands have a dial on the bottom that is made of a plastic polymer that’s different from the plastic used for the container, so your center might not be able to recycle the whole thing (look on the bottom to find out). Tom’s of Maine makes a deodorant stick composed solely of plastic No. 5.
Backpacks: The American Birding Association accepts donated backpacks, which its scientists use while tracking neotropical birds (americanbirding.org).
Batteries: Recycling batteries keeps hazardous metals out of landfills. Many stores, like RadioShack and Office Depot, accept reusable ones. Car batteries contain lead and can’t go in landfills, because toxic metals can leach into groundwater, but almost any retailer selling them will also collect and recycle them.
Beach balls: They may be made of plastic, but there aren’t enough beach balls being thrown away to make them a profitable item to recycle. If a beach ball is still usable, donate it to a thrift store or a children’s hospital.
Books: “Hard covers are too rigid to recycle, so we ask people to remove them and recycle just the pages,” says Sarah Kite, recycling manager of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, in Johnston. In many areas, paperbacks can be tossed in with other paper.
Kids Environment Kids Health
Source site: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/index.htm
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
A resource for kids, parents, and teachers to find fun and educational materials related to health, science, and the environment we live in today.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — Three great ways YOU can eliminate waste and protect your environment!
Waste, and how we choose to handle it, affects our world’s environment—that’s YOUR environment. The environment is everything around you including the air, water, land, plants, and man-made things. And since by now you probably know that you need a healthy environment for your own health and happiness, you can understand why effective waste management is so important to YOU and everyone else. The waste we create has to be carefully controlled to be sure that it does not harm your environment and your health. To read more go to site above.
More 4 Kids Website
10 Best Recycling Websites for Kids
If you want your children to grow up to be environmentally conscious, you have to start teaching them while they are young. You can’t expect them to just learn on their own. However, you’ll find that there are a variety of great recycling websites and environmental sites out there where you kids can learn more about the environment and recycling, while having a great time. Wondering where to send your kids to learn more? Here’s a look at 10 of the top recycling websites out there for kids that make excellent choices.
Website #1 – Kids Planet
Website Address: http://www.kidsplanet.org
This site has many great games for kids on the web of life, fact sheets on different animal species, and they provide excellent information on what kids can do to help protect and defend their own environment. They even have their own Wildlife Adoption Center on the site.
Website #2 – Kids for a Clean Environment
Website Address: http://www.kidsface.org/
The mission of this site is to provide excellent and education information to kids on environmental issues and to encourage them to work on improving the world around them. It provides information on how they can work in their own community and how they can work on recycling.
Website #3 – Eco Mentors
Website Address: http://www.ecokidsonline.com/pub/ecomentors/index.cfm
This is one of the best sites on the web that will teach your kids more about the environment while allowing them to have a lot of fun. It is actually an award winning site for kids, and provides interactive and innovation environmental education for kids and their families. Great activities and games are used on the site to help you child have a wonderful time while learning more.
Website #4 – Captain Planet Foundation
Website Address: http://www.captainplanetfdn.org/index.html
This foundation has the mission to help encourage kids from grades Kindergarten through 12th grade to learn more about the environment and they support many environmental projects that kids can get involved in, in a hands on manner. They also encourage activities that help kids all around the world to work together and on an individual level to help the environment. The site is easy for kids to navigate through, and it provides information on projects that the foundation has going. It also teaches kids great ways that they can have a good effect on their own environment.
Website #5 – National Geographic Kids
Website Address: http://kids.nationalgeographic.co.uk/
This is an excellent site for kids, with all the great options that you’d expect from National Geographic. It is an excellent resource for kids and it has information on a variety of topics, including the environment and how problems with the environment affect the world and animals around it. You’ll find stories, quizzes, games, tips, and videos that your kids will enjoy while learning more about the environment and recycling.
Website #6 – EPA Student Center
Website Address: http://www.epa.gov/students/
This is the official site of the EPA in the United States. They include many great stories, games, and pictures. There are many funny cartoons that include facts about the environment that kids can enjoy. It also includes excellent ways that kids can improve the environment and keep nature alive as well.
Website #7 – Meet the Greens
Website Address: http://www.meetthegreens.org/
This website is all about a family, which is known as the Greens, and they are a family working hard to make sure that the do the right thing for the environment. It is a site based in the United States and it includes adventures of the family, which are animated, and they all have great environmental messages for them. Not only can they learn about recycling, saving animals, and more, but there is a blog that is interactive where your kids can have discussions about the programs.
Website#8 – Recyclezone
Website Address: http://www.recyclezone.org.uk/
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the UK actually sponsors this site. It provides a wealth of great information that is presented on a level for children. The site is brightly colored, it’s easy for kids to use, and interactive to get them involved in learning. You’ll find many great jokes, brain teasers, music, and games on the site that will keep your kids entertained while they learn.
Website #9 – Children of the Earth
Website Address: http://www.childrenoftheearth.org
The Children of the Earth website helps to provide information for kids that will allow them to understand and respect the world around them. Lessons are taught on plants, soil, energy, animals, and more. It helps them to learn about how their actions can either have negative or positive effects on the environment.
Website #10 – Environmental Education for Kids
Website Address: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/eek/index.htm
EEK is an online magazine that is for kids. It is geared to kids in grade 4-8. They have articles about the environment and other issues, and they even have great activities for your kids to enjoy online as well.
The internet can be a great tool for teaching your kids more about the environment. With these excellent sites to help you out, you can help them to learn more about their environment, recycling, and all they can do to have a positive impact on their world. Explore the sites with them and enjoy learning and working together to save the earth.
How I feed my family “real food” on a budget
Check out her website below
What they really wanted to know is how is:
- How do you buy organic dairy, meat and produce on a budget?
- What foods do you buy in bulk?
- What do you make from scratch?
- What are some of your money saving tips?
It’s no secret that I cook a lot. I talk about food, read about food, write about food and eat food all.day.long. The funny thing is, that shopping for food isn’t my favorite thing to do. I wish I had a shopping assistant -or a Whole Foods near by. Instead, I have to go to 2-3 groceries each week to get all the things I need.
Meal planning is easy. I add 2-3 new dinners and 2-3 new lunch ideas each week from the MOMables Meal Plans and then I keep our tried and true favorites. Being on a budget doesn’t mean I have to make the same frugal meals every week. I make sure to use the same ingredients from any of the lunch items into another meal, this way food is rarely wasted and used up at the end of the week.
Example: we have quesadillas for lunch. that means I am going to need chicken and tortillas. Therefore, I am going to plan a dinner that will yield grilled chicken and another that will also utilize tortillas. I save time and money on wasted food. Win-win. By grilling or prepping what I need ahead of time I save a lot of time. I also don’t need to buy those pre-grilled chicken strips made with lord-knows-what.
Eating out and convenience foods are a lot more expensive. Proof: last Friday I had a meeting outside the office and my husband wanted me to have “lunch” with him. We went to a local deli that has a lot of healthy options and we spent $22! Yikes. On ONE meal. I thought to myself: I can feed my entire family with that for a day! OK, It was a nice lunch date.
Now you know another reason why I pack all of our lunches. I am going to apologize for the pictures that come next. They are unedited and were “dumped” from my iPhone.
Monday: (B) banana flax bread and breakfast quiche (L) chicken quesadillas (D) Italian meatball pasta
Tuesday: (B) Homemade bagels (recipe not worth sharing, they were very…chewy) & veggie scramble (L) Ultimate morning glory sandwiches (D)Blackened fish tacos, grilled vegetables, creole slaw
Wednesday: (B) Easy homemade green egg(spinach) “McMuffin” (these were previously made and frozen) (L) Deep dish ham and veggie calzones (D) Panini Night (used last of focaccia bread, chicken and grilled veggies)
Thursday: (B) Blueberry muffins fruit (L) Avocado school sushi (no fish), strawberry yogurt dip and fruit (D) Breakfast night! I dropped the last of the eggs so it was a little bit of a flop. Not that they complained about bacon (organic, uncured and nitrate free) and my famous homemade Pillsbury honey wheat grands!and fruit
Friday: (B) raspberry “cheesecake” filled biscuits (biscuits, cream cheese and fresh raspberries), (L) egg salad sandwiches (D) Homemade pizza night!
Saturday: (B) Chocolate chip scones and fruit salad (L) Vegetable fried rice (here is where I use any leftovers veggies from the week) (D) Navy bean soup (previously made and frozen) fruit sorbet and popsicles (I take all leftover fruit from the week and make a fruit sorbet or popsicles
I made a caramelized onions, spinach and gouda quiche and a loaf of bread for my neighbor on sunday. In return, she gave me a basket of veggies from her garden. I made a double batch of blueberry muffins and froze them for another week as well.
I only mentioned the big meals. For “snacks” there is fresh fruit available (always) and I’m usually recipe testing a baked item or two for MOMables.
My weekly budget is $150. I usually spend anywhere between $130-$150. This week I splurged and purchased additional organic chicken because I knew my neighbor was going out of town and she was giving me a lot of veggies.
Ways I save:
- I make a plan. Seems obvious coming from me, right? But it’s TRUE. I sit down with my MOMables weekly plan, choose the meals I will make, add a few of our favorites with similar ingredients, and then make a list.
- I make all of our baked goods. A can of grands! biscuits has ingredients I don’t like and it’s $2.79 for 6 biscuits. I make my own for around $.86. I buy white flour but I also grind my own wheat. I have a bread machine I put to work in the hot summer months. Otherwise, My oven is on for a few hours on Sunday and every other night after dinner (almost). *2015 Update* We now have a gluten-free house. The only way to make baked goods affordable is by making them ourselves.
- I buy rice, wheat and beans in bulk. We eat legumes once a week. I don’t buy a small bag for that week or a can of beans. I pay on average .58cents per lb of beans. I buy in bulk, store and make. I also make double or triple the batch and freeze is 1 1/2 cup portions (like a can). Huge savings.
- I don’t use coupons. Shocking, I know. I rarely find coupons for real food. Instead, I stock up when things are on sale like the organic boneless skinless chicken breasts at $3.99lb! I also find that using coupons leads to spending money outside of my meal plan. Note: if you use coupons, that is totally ok. I rarely do. The only times I use coupons is on bulk coffee, organic yogurt and some cheeses. There aren’t a lot of coupons for those of us who shop the perimeter.
- Limit dairy. Yes, kids need dairy and all that… but not as much as you think if you make your own breads, eat a varied diet and eat your minerals from other sources. I insert a lot of nutrients in my baked goods. I buy a big tub of yogurt instead of the 6pk ones (unless I have coupons and they are on sale). This is organic too.
- No juices. If I buy juice it’s usually Martinelli’s by the half a gallon and when it’s on sale. It’s US grown, it has a strong apple flavor and I dilute it.
- No boxed snacks. I make nearly all of our snacks. You can find a lot of them in our pinterest page and our subscription members are getting ready to have a homemade staples “guide” made just for them. I do have a box of goldfish from Sams at all times because we have kids that come play at our house and often ask for “boxed” snacks (oh well).
- I buy 1lb of organic “lunchmeat” for the week at $9.99-10.99 per lb. That’s it. This forces me to get creative with my lunches (good thing that’s what I do). Some weeks, I don’t buy it at all.
- No boxed cereals for breakfast. I buy 1-2 boxes of cereal per month (with a coupon). It’s the one late night treat my husband can’t give up. Cereals are filled with a lot of non-necessary ingredients, are expensive and well, they use milk (also expensive). I make a nutritious bread, scramble eggs..etc.
- Buy cheese in bulk. I buy 2.5lbs of Cheddar cheese that is antibiotic and hormone free for $9.99. Behind the deli counter is that much per pound! I slice it or grate it myself. It lasts 2-3 weeks (depending on what I’m cooking)
- I buy the produce we’ll eat. I don’t just “buy” fruit and veggies, I figure out which ones I need and then buy that. Some weeks I get it from a neighbor, or, I’ll switch ingredients in certain dishes (like spinach instead of broccoli) because it was cheaper that week (and organic).
Other ways I save around the house:
- I use cloth towels to clean and pick up all sorts of messes. I rarely use paper towels. A $16 pack of paper towels from Sams lasts my family 6-9 months.
- I don’t buy the expensive detergent. I pre-treat all my stains and use an eco detergent that is much cheaper (like half the prize) form the orange detergent.
- I use cloth diapers. I’ve cloth diapered all my kids and used disposables when they were being cared by someone else. Baby G uses disposable while he is at school and cloth at home.*2015 update* we are no longer cloth diapering.
- I get $20 haircuts twice a year and color my own hair.
- I buy in bulk with my mom. You could do this with a friend. That 25lb bag or rice of flour you dont’ have room to store? split it with a friend.
- I shop Amazon for specialty items. Things like coconut flour , oils, organic items and spices (among others).
- I shop online for vitamins. Vitamins and drugstore stuff can add up. I shop Vitacost for a lot of my organic items.
- We drink water. Sounds funny but it’s true. Drinking water saves you a lot of money. Plus it’s good for you!
- Reuse our clothes. I have a one-outfit-per-day policy with my kids (of course unless they get soaked or spill something). They change in the morning and stay in them until night time. If they are clean they get used again. Saves the clothes, saves money on water and electricity…etc.
- I buy used clothes, swap clothes or stock up in clothes for next year after the season. I’ve bought many clothes for my kids “for next year” for as little as 98 cents! I don’t go to 20 stores to find the best deal, I just go in after season and stock up. Same thing with school uniforms. I buy the following year’s uniform in Sept/October when stores are clearing them out.
- $1 store deals. I buy birthday cards, zip bags and a few other little things at the dollar store.
I know there are many more ways to save, but these are just some of the ones I do to help us stay on budget. Our $150 is spent on food only for a family of 4. *2015 update* We are now a family of 6 and the budget is $200 per week.
What are some of your tips to stay on budget?