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Three children (17, 15, 12)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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Earth Day 2017 – Recycle

Picture the scene. It’s about 9 o’clock in the morning and I’m sorting the recycling into the right bins. It’s usually easy. There’s glass, paper, textiles, plastic, etc in one bin, food waste in another and cardboard goes in the blue sack. We also have the compost bin. The very last resort, of course, is the black bin, which goes to the landfill. Best avoided. Sorting on the whole, is straightforward, except this time I’m pausing. Unsure and frozen by indecision. Which bin am I expected to put this plastic pouch into?

It’s my own fault. I usually avoid buying unnecessary packaging. Especially the sort that is packaging with more packaging inside. The individually wrapped little bags inside a big bag. Bah!

The big bag is thick plastic. Quite substantial and, as I stand there, I’m half pondering why it needed to be so robust when it’s only job was to hold other little, light weight, plastic bags. Had the manufacturers imagined a whole list of amazing possible accidents that might befall the contents before it reached us the consumers, that needed such a bag?

The other part of me is wondering why I can’t put it in the recycling bin. I don’t want to throw it away. Not in the black bin, which is looking like the only option.

So I bring it back into the house. There is another option. I could recycle it myself. I have a couple of ideas. What’s more, both options are something that I need.

The solution

The bag sat on the kitchen table for the rest of the day. Various members of the family tried to throw it away. Oh no. Each time, I rescued it. This bag was getting a second life.

I was kicking myself that I hadn’t originally opened it neatly at the top. Eventually I cut the top off and gave it a straight line. Then I cut it in half. I’d go for the pencil case option. I had a few old zips that were rescued too and looking for second lives.

First challenge was to find a way to pin the zip to the plastic, without using pins. They left holes in the plastic. I used post it notes first. They worked well. Next I tried blue tack, which was even better. It held, was easy to remove and was more flexible.Sewing the sides was problem free. I used my old hand cranked Singer sewing machine. Seeing as it was Earth Day, it only seemed right to take the non-electric option.

Second challenge I found was turning it neatly the right way round, after sewing the sides together. Next time, (if there is a next time) I’ll sew it the right way round, with wrong sides together. I can avoid turning the pencil case inside out. Not an easy manoeuvre. It left marks in the plastic and I gave up trying to wrestle the corners into position.

Apart from those two issues, I’m really pleased with the pencil case. It works. I’ve saved throwing it into the landfill and given it a second useful purpose. Every little action helps.

It does a great job of holding my pencils too. The children love it and have dropped hints. Hmm. I hope to avoid buying similar packaging, but if something else comes my way, then maybe I could make one for each of them.

They had a good day too. They’ve taken to joining me for dog walks, on their bikes. (Sometimes with their hands in the air, attempting a Dr Who dance* – if you look carefully) I’m going to miss them so much when school starts next week. Can you tell they are a fun lot?

Happy Earth Day!

Trash 2 Treasure
 * OK, I made that last bit up. Just hands in the air!

29 Responses to Earth Day 2017 – Recycle

  • Fantastic. I often am in a state of indecision regarding our black refuse bag. We always burn a lot in the winter in the Rayburn and Jon will have fires in the garden when we’ve been working on the garden, too. I can’t wash out the little yoghurt tubes I buy for the boys, Ceredigion recycle so much plastic though, only the packaging with a number 7 is not allowed – although other packages say not recyclable but that then makes me unsure!

    • Craft Mother says:

      I stopped buying the little pots or tubes of yoghurt. It was filling up my recycle bin. I buy big pots or make my own, then transfer it to small clip containers for packed lunches. Can get a bit messy, but seems a small price to pay. Ceredigion sounds a good council for recycling.

  • Briony says:

    Brilliant recycling. I have steam coming out of my ears if we ever have to go to the local tip. I just can’t believe the things that people simply throw away.
    I might just get a soap box and take it with me next time to give a recycling sermon, lol.

    • Craft Mother says:

      Ha! I bet you can find a soap box there. Totally agree. Wish people would consider trying to mend broken things rather than throwing them without a thought.

  • Carol says:

    I would have never thought of making a pencil bag from a plastic candy bag. Wow! I am impressed with your creativity. It’s bright and colorful too.

    • Craft Mother says:

      Thanks Carol. Not an original idea. Plenty of projects out there reusing plastic and zips. I’m glad I got round to making one.

  • What a fantastic idea! I don’t have a sewing machine but do a lot of handsewing, not sure if that would manage it… #mmbc

  • Kim Carberry says:

    Oh wow! That is such a great idea…You are very clever. I would have never have thought of this.

  • what a lovely novel pencil case, must admit I would have thrown it in the bin…….now wonder if I could make a sweet packet quilt…..#Trash2Treasure

  • So, so clever – a fabulous way to reuse a sweets bag. Such a fun pencil case!

  • April says:

    Your stuff is adorable. The Cadbury bag is my fave. Love it.

  • Helena says:

    Loving the look of this and you’ll never have to wonder where you left it. I’m currently trying to work out where I left a sharpener. #MMBC

  • yvonne says:

    What a brilliant idea! I would never have thought of doing this x #MMBC

  • Cheryl this is really ingenious. The design is so eye catching, it would cost quite a lot to buy a branded pencil case like this, I’m so impressed it was strong enough to sew. I have the same hate of throwing away sturdy packaging that I think I can reuse. I’m currently saving mushroom cartons to make small world fairy gardens with the children, not in the same league as this though!

    A wonderful upcycle. Thank you for sharing on #Trash2Treasure

    • Craft Mother says:

      I hadn’t thought about how much it would cost to buy. You could be on to something there. I stop and think before I put most things in the recycle bin, but there are not enough hours in the day to upcycle everything

  • Sian | The Mama Story says:

    Oh wow I LOVE this! What a great idea. My daughter would love it too – yesterday she opened a cereal bar and said #mummy this can be used for another cereal bar as I didn’t rip it”. Hmmmmm. #MMBC

  • Hi Cheryl, I recently read a thing on Facebook about what items can and can not be recycled and since then I have been totally confused. That will teach me! I love your little pencil case. Mini eggs have to one of my favs, so a pencil case made of a mini eggs bag would be my dream, although I find myself secretly sniffing the inside of it (or worse!). I’m sure they were really trying to do Dr Who dance and you weren’t making it up in the least!.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


    • Craft Mother says:

      Thank you, Debbie. It doesn’t smell of chocolate eggs. They were all sealed within more plastic bags. Good job, because I’d be snacking all the time!

  • Just wow! What a fab upcycle Cheryl!
    It’s surprising just what we can put to use out of our rubbish. Now I fancy some mini eggs 🙂

    Thanks so much for joining us at #MMBC. Hope to see you next week! x

  • That’s fabulous and a great way to repurpose something that would otherwise have ended up in landfill. There is so much plastic that we can’t recycle here in France (and TBH recycling is still not the answer anyway) so I am working really hard at reducing how much of the damn stuff ends up in our house in the first place in today’s world. Did you see the #plasticchallenge I have on my blog? I’ll link it to the next #GoingGreenLinky which opens on June 5th and hope you can link up then too.

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