Posts tagged "cork"

Recycled Christmas Decorations: our favourite ideas for 2011

Who wants generic shop-bought Christmas decorations when homemade ones are so much nicer, cheaper and better for the environment? ;)

Our 2010 round-up of our favourite ideas for making upcycled/recycled Christmas decorations has been very popular this year and I hope it’s provided lots of people with lots of inspiration – but if you’ve still got a little space to fill before the weekend, here are some more last minute ideas:

Paper wreaths have been very popular over the last couple of years but I love this one from EcoEmpire because, aside from staples, it’s entirely made from reusing household waste – newspaper, cereal boxes and a little scrap of ribbon (Kat suggests the loops from clothes – I’ve got a drawer full of those!)

Sticking with paper crafts, I also love these paper ball ornaments – either as individual baubles or strung together into a garland. I also love the idea of using foil packaging to make silver or otherwise shiny ones.

These letter ornaments, decorated with scraps from old sweaters, would also work well on their own or as part of a garland spelling out a holiday greeting/special word. “Merry Christmas” if you’ve got a lot of scraps, “joy” if you haven’t ;)

If you prefer your decorations a little more natural, these mini Christmas trees made from twigs are just fab – a simple idea but really nicely executed.

The Crafty Green Poet also reminded me that you don’t have to just use special Christmas ornaments on your tree – any ornaments or little items that don’t usually see the light of day can be hung up on there – even earrings on smaller trees for a little sparkle/bead-y delight.

Finally, Deb/Urbanwide sent me this fun Nativity scene idea: the whole Nativity crew painted on champagne corks. Perfect if little ones want to play with the scene – although if you want one for this year, you’ll have to get working on drinking all the champagne ASAP ;) (A slightly healthier alternative – but one that needs nearly as much forethought – is to use Actimel bottles for the bodies instead.)

Anyone else got any fun recycled Christmas decoration makes or discoveries to share?

(Photos © EcoEmpire & MicheleMadeMe respectively)

How can I reuse or recycle Birkenstock sandals?

orangeterra left a comment on the “Suggest An Item” page:

What can I do with my old Birkenstock sandals? They’re a combo of rubbery foam soles, cork footbed, and leather straps. Because they take the shape of my feet, I doubt they’d be good hand-me-downs, but I hate to toss them.

Birkenstock has a page about their green production/distribution policies and advice on repairing/maintenance suggestions to prolong the life of the sandals. Birkenstock USA also links to shoe redistribution charity Soles4Souls.

Depending on which bit of orangeterra’s sandals has give way, they might benefit from a little repair – get a few more months out of them with new soles – or if the sole is good but the rest ruined/broken, they might be suitable for turning into slippers.

Any other suggestions? Or recycling links?

Interesting reducing, reusing and recycling links

(Photo by CraftyNest)

How can I reuse or recycle large pieces of cork?

cork_tiles.jpgWe’ve had an email from Tony asking about recycling cork – but NOT wine bottle corks (which we covered back in the day):

I am looking at ways that cork (in slabs not wine bottles unfortunately) can be recycled.

Given his email address, I suspect he’ll be particularly interested in large-scale industrial recycling ideas not crafty reuses for each slab/piece – but we’ve got some thin sheets of cork (a former noticeboard) to reuse too so ideas for both case are welcome.

Anyone know any companies that take large pieces of cork for recycling? Or have any ideas (other than noticeboards) for surplus around the home?

(Stock photo by raichinger)

How can I reuse or recycle placemats and coasters?

PlacematsWe’ve had an email from Sue:

I have a pile of old placemats and coasters, some with a cork backing and some felt-backed and I just don’t know what to do with them.

I have used a few for my kids to paint and stick on but I’d love some more ideas.

We’ve got a placemat underneath the cats’ food dishes in the kitchen (to stop food spillages/flickages from going all over the floor) but all the other ideas I can come up with – using as drip trays under paint cans or plants – need them to be more tray-like instead of being flat.

So any suggestions?