Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's Easy Being Green: Reuse or Recycle?

Sometimes you have options for your recyclables. For example, you can shred and compost paper egg cartons, or you can recycle them. Some people think it's better to reuse than recycle if you can, since recycling takes energy (transporting recyclables, actually recycling them, making them into something new, transporting the new item).

Glass is supposedly one of the most expensive things to recycle, I think because you would have to get it so hot to break it down. Above, I decided to reuse rather than recycle some beer bottles as a flower bed border. It was actually remarkably easy to do with a rubber mallet after a hard rain. The only cinch in my plans was the proliferation of tree roots, but they just forced me to put cool curves in the border. I planted hostas and coral bells in this semi-shady new bed, and I love how it looks!

Of course, you can also reuse glass bottles for your bottle tree, but I don't really want all brown Abita bottles on my bottle tree!

What do you reuse rather than recycle?

17 comments:

Todd Whittemore said...

Very cool idea.
You have a lot of great posts and pictures on this blog.
Great job!
Best of success

Susie said...

That's really neat looking Ginger! Great thinking.

One thing that comes to mind I reuse is plastic sandwich bags. I know that's not garden materials but hey, it's better than going in the garbage.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Well isn't that a clever idea. I think I will make myself a cobalt blue border. Now I've gotta go get some wine. poor me.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

That is a great idea. Sometimes things like tree roots that seem to be a problem actually turn out to be a good thing.

Heather said...

Very fun and a conversation piece to boot! Great recycle idea for the bottle beer drinker.

Ginger said...

Todd- Thank you! I hope you'll be back to visit.

Susie- I reuse those plastic baggies, too! So many things we use them for really don't get them dirty (like taking baby carrots to work).

Debbi- LOL. They can be really pretty with a mix of colors, too! If I was using wine bottles, I'd probably dig a trench to set them in or something like that, since they are so much bigger/longer and would be harder to pound in.

Catherine- Thanks! Yeah, gardening really teaches you to roll with the punches!

Heather- Of course, you could drink all sorts of other stuff in bottles and use those, too! Like root beer or iced tea...

Ginger said...

Debbi- Here is a link to a site with a wine bottle border - it's really a whole different look - they just drove in the neck and the very top of the body. It looks cool, though!
http://blog.americanwinery.com/tag/reusing-wine-bottles/

Salix Tree said...

What's a bottle tree? Sounds intriguing.

Salix Tree said...

tee hee, never mind, I googled bottle tree. Very cool idea.

Janet said...

Great idea Ginger! I like having the garden edges curved, so the tree roots were helping give you a good line.

Dirt Princess said...

I recently met a lady that does that with wine bottles. I LOVED it...it is very neat looking. Probably a pain to weedeat around. Good thing Smeagol likes to throw some beers back...LOL!

Becca's Dirt said...

That looks like a good idea. I compost as much as I can. I recycle aluminum cans. I have been considering a trash can for glass, paper, metal, aluminum and kitchen waste. I use coffee cans for kitchen waste and walmart bags for alum cans. I also use shredded paper in my compost.

Randy Emmitt said...

Ginger,

Meg has built borders just like yours. She has also built bottle walls, you stack the bottles on the side pointed slightly down so water can't enter and lay motar mix over them then add another layer and so forth.

trilliumgrovefarm said...

What an interesting idea! The wall made by stacking bottles and mortaring it sounds cool too!
Plant Lady

mlc said...

I love your beer bottle border. I should try that..except I would have to encourage someone to drink more beer. Right now I'm all out of recycling ideas--except I have seen some cool things made by breaking colored glass and making garden tile collages. I've thought about trying that..except I'm not quite artisan enough.

Ginger said...

Salix Tree- supposedly bottle trees are originally from Africa, but they are pretty popular now in the deep south US!

Janet- you're right - going with the flow is more fun!

Dirt Princess- Smeagol said to tell you that he does his drinking at work, so most of those bottles are from ME! Guilty as charged! Not sure about the weed-eating, but our bottle border isn't in an area where grass grows right up to it, so we will avoid finding out!

Becca- you're doing a GREAT job with the "three r's"!

Randy- that wall sounds so cool. you should post a picture on your blog!

Plant Lady- thanks for visiting my blog! glad you enjoyed it and hope you'll be back!

mlc- too bad you don't live near here, because I still have a ton of bottles left!!

Cindy/Mom said...

Let me guess who gets to empty the beer bottles in preparation for use!