We've put together some tips on living sustainably!

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DIY Upcycling Projects

A pill of cardboard boxes hides behind your doors, a container cramped within a corner is overflowing with plastic, and glass bottles are conveniently posing around the house. Do you ever wonder what to do with all the waste around your house and how you could reuse them? As a society we are told to constantly consume and dispose, consume and dispose… but we are never told that we can reuse and upcycle so much of our everyday waste. Disposing and recycling are one option, but upcycling and carrying out DIY projects is another to explore…

This section of the sustainability guide gives you some examples of how to reuse and upcycle your waste around the house, giving them a more practical and beautiful life:

rain falling on a tin roof

Your very own DIY Rainwater Collection System:

Rainwater harvesting has existed with us for a very long time; this technology can be traced back to over 12,000 years! At first glance, this may seem like a very complicated process, but creating your own rainwater collection system is not that hard. Here is what you will need:

  • You need a gutter system on your roof (which many houses already have).
  • A large plastic garbage can .
  • Watertight sealant/glue.
  • 1 metal washer and 1 rubber washer.
  • 1 spigot/ plug
  • 1 drill
  • Old Mosquito Net/old mesh cloth (for filtering)

Follow this link to see how to make a homemade DIY rainwater collection system: Make a Rain Barrel to Save Water | Better Homes & Gardens (bhg.com)

This will come in handy especially during the monsoon seasons. Not only will you get grey water which you can reuse around the house for flushing a toilet or watering your garden, but it also has a positive environmental impact; it promotes water conservation, reduces groundwater demand, and shows you how you can reuse old bins!

Tin cans as planters

Plant Pots out of Old Cans

Who doesn’t love having plants around the house? Plants are a beautiful and natural way to decor your home, even more so when you recycle different materials to create a snazzy plant pot. One way of doing this is by reusing old metal cans or metal drink cans. You can simply wash off a label and leave the metal exposed to then add your soil and a plant within it. Or you could go a bit fancier and glue pebbles, brown string, or paint the cans. All you need for this is:

  • An old can
  • A plant and soil (try to use a plant native to India or a cooking herb)
  • Extra: string, pebbles, paint or anything else… get creative.

Check out this website to see different examples of how to funk up your plant pot: Make Your Own Can Planters - American Lifestyle Magazine

These are just some examples of how to reuse cans for plants, go wild and crazy with this, don’t hold back…

Flower Pots out of Tea Cups, Bowls or Tea Pot

Have you ever wondered what to do with cracked bowls or tea cups? You could use them as little plant pots; they add a vintage touch to your house. All you need for this is:

  • An old tea cup/mug/bowl
  • Plant and soil (try to use a plant native to India or a cooking herb)

Plant Bed out of Old Drawers

Another creative way to expose your plants and reuse old furniture is to upcycle your old drawers. The drawers could be used as a plant bed for growing vegetables or herbs for the house. This is a great way to start to be more self-sustaining as you improve your skills in gardening. The drawers could also be used to create a beautiful little ecosystem of flowers or succulents. All you need for this is:

  • An old drawers (or multiple drawers)
  • Soil and seeds - flower seeds, herbs, vegetables or plants

On top of growing your own vegetables, try and find plants which promote a habitat for high biodiversity and pollination; globally we are losing our pollinators, attracting them is a first step to increasing their population. For example, Lavender, Lantana, Fuchsia and Dahlia are all plants and flowers that attract pollinators, bees and butterflies.

DIY Flower Vase with an Old Can

Instead of buying a new flower vase you could just make it at home with an old can and some old clothes.With this you can create a really rustic and unique vase design that no one has! All you need for this is:

  • A Big Old Can
  • Some old clothes
  • Glue.
  • Flowers

Check out the link to see how you can make your own flower vase: Farmhouse Tin Can Vase Upcycle - Salvage Sister and Mister

These are just some examples of how to reuse cans for plants, go wild and crazy with this, don’t hold back…

denim and thread with sewing materials

Making Oven Gloves out of Denim

We all have some very old jeans that we never want to throw away. Well here is a great way to reuse them. All you need for this is:

    • An old pair of jeans (if not any old cloth/clothes can do as well)
    • Thread and scissors
    • Needle and thread/sewing machine
    • Heat resistant fabric (or just some other old clothes to act as an insulator)

Follow this link to see how you can easily reuse your old jeans for something useful around the house: Upcycled Denim DIY Oven Mitt
Old clothes are one of the most interesting materials to reuse and upcycle as you can do so much with them! This is just one idea out of the hundreds...

Homemade Carrier Shopping Bag

Every year about 500 billion plastic bags are used and disposed of everyday and they take about 300 years to degrade. A great way to reduce your plastic footprint is by bringing your own shopping carrier bag to the shop. Making your own carrier bag is not that hard, all you need is::

  • Old material
  • A needle and thread/sewing machine
  • Scissors

Follow this link to see how to sew a carrier shopping bag out of old clothes: DIY Durable, Reusable Grocery Bag (thesprucecrafts.com).

Go crazy creative with this; mix together different materials, colours and styles!

Eco-friendly Bird Feeder out of an Old Shoe

Who does not love waking up to the sounds of little birds tweeting in the morning. Waking up to birds gleefully flying around the house is always a joy. You can easily make a simple bird feeder out of a shoe! All you need for this is:

  • An old Shoe
  • Drill/Hammer and screws
  • Bird seeds, breadcrumbs or worms

Follow the link to this website to see how to make this simple eco-friendly bird feeder: https://happiestcamper.com/eco-friendly-bird-feeders/

This may look very funny but it is very effective and it is a great way to reuse old shoes!

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