Baby step: Make a SCRAP bin
My daughter and I went to SCRAP this morning to scout out materials for her upcoming 'green' birthday party. SCRAP (for those who don't know) stands for School and Community Reuse Action Project. Basically it is a storefront in N. Portland full of stuff donated by businesses and individuals that you can use for arts and craft projects. Stuff that would probably have ended up in a landfill. There are bins of buttons, tiles, ribbon, paper, stickers, yarn, fabric, bottle caps, wine corks, fake flowers, carpet squares -- you name it, it's there. There are a whole bunch of "what in the heck are these?" types of things -- like if a business made a widget, but a piece of it wasn't quite right -- they might donate a bushel of weird plastic parts that some crafty person might see and think, "Whoa! I can use these for ___. Score!" It can be a little overwhelming unless you go with a particular project in mind. But, the prices are really, really cheap.
As soon as we got home, I found a cardboard box and wrote SCRAP on it so that now we'd have a place to put all that weird miscellaneous stuff like: one lone earring without a mate; a broken necklace; a small, broken toy (like a matchbox car missing all its doors, or a Fisher-Price Little People person's head); excess wrapping paper or wall paper; extra porcelain tiles from a bath remodel; old chipped plates broken into small pieces for mosaics; trophies and medals; mint tins...the list goes on. Check out SCRAP's list of acceptable items. Sure, some of this stuff could be recycled (like metal objects and some papers) but, remember, there's a reason that reuse comes before recycle in reduce/reuse/recycle. It's better to reuse an item than use more energy to turn it into something else. SCRAP will be getting my scraps from now on!
(BTW, we spent $4 on all of the stuff for birthday take-home craft projects and games -- 2 bags full of goodies. I cannot wait to show you! Stay tuned...)