i don’t have a garbage can in my diaper loft. i send miles of fabric through my serger each week, collect all the trimmings in little (reused denim) catch bags that sit at the leg of each table upon which a sewing machine perches, and then… i never, never, ever throw them away. when they fill up, i collect them into an even larger bag, until i have more than the bag will hold, and then i start stuffing something. lately, i have been making some awesome cushions for around the house, which seem to congregate around our play table. they are sturdy and not too squishy, given what they are stuffed with, most of which is organic- bonus! and they tend not to walk away on you when you’re sitting on them. very stable.
this is something i try to do all around the household. i spent a little while putting old t-shirts across the cutting mat, and ended up with 1) a schooner shirt throw blanket for bumming around on a sunday morning 2) a sizeable ball of t-shirt yarn, soon to become perhaps a throw rug or a scarf, when i find time to knit, and some large needles and 3) some family cloth. we are always in the market for family cloth, having celebrated our one year anniversary of tp-free this past november.
longer strips of fabric, like the seams off of the jeans i recover fabric from, the selvage edges from fabric yardage, some longer serger trimmings, and the like, i have been incorporating into my awesome new braided rug. it’s not a rug yet. it’s mostly a braid. and some more long strips in a bag, waiting to become a braid.
when i cut fabric, i start big (towels, blankets, larger sizes of diapers) and move on down to the smaller items, so that when i am trying to cut out tops for infant hats, or itty bitty applique pieces, i am cutting them from scraps rather than from fresh yardage. that is just good economics, but it is also being sustainably minded. i have this thing with waste. i don’t like it. can’t abide it. inherited something from my grandmother, whose depression habits stuck with her throughout her life, and even towards the end i got to observe her tucking away mad stashes of, say, twist ties… you know, just in case. i am not going to talk about my twist tie collection here, as it is a bit off subject. ahem.
a month ago, i was moving my “sewing room” into its new space, the “diaper loft” upstairs in the bigger of the two cat-free spots in the house (see picture below- as tidy as it ever gets!). as i was lugging things, organizing as i went, and picking up odds and ends, i was reflecting on the lack of trash receptacle in my creative space, and liking it. nothing i buy for this business is going in the ground before it has been put through all of its paces. and then, hopefully, it will go in the ground as compost. i have a few items stashed with the intent of sending them back to their companies. i am thinking mainly of plastic thread spools, and plastic sewing machine needle holders. tiny, compared with what most american households and businesses are throwing away on a daily basis, but when you stop having a garbage can, you start to build up a small pile of these things and pay attention to where they are coming from. i am annoyed with the sheer excess of plastic used in our day to day lives. i am going to see if the manufacturers of these items will reuse them. if they will, i will ship them back, and continue to support their businesses!
i do have a very small trash can in my house proper, i am not yet a zero landfill household, though i do hold this intention in my heart, and work towards it all the time. the kitchen trash can is one of those tiny bathroom size ones, the size you can line with a shopping bag, and i fill it about once every three weeks to a month. that is about all the plastic-lined-cardboard ice cream containers plus plastic-lined-paper half and half cartons and tea bag wrappers i go through in that amount of time. our recycling is about the same size, if i could just get kitty to get over her canned cat food addiction we’d be out of the recycling business altogether, as i think it is vastly overrated. i think reuse is where it’s at, folks. composting is good for many things, too. i think recycling bins are so much more plastic to help keep us all complacent. but i’ve been told i’m crazy for conserving water in a rain forest, so take my fanaticism with a grain of salt.
if it seems like i have spent too much time thinking about all this… i probably have. i’m probably not gonna stop, though. the earth, our mother, needs more of us to be thinking sustainably, taking one step at a time towards a more sustainable life. and she needs a few of us to be radical fanatics about it. most of you will never give up tp. but maybe you will eventually decide you want to have your website hosted by a company that uses renewable clean energy sources. maybe you will invent a new way to reuse something you never would have thought to stop throwing away… be careful, as you can see, it gets addicting!