Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ReMake It!!!

I'm super-pleased to announce that our ReMake It diy recycling kits will be at the New York Gift Fair next week! RePlayGround teamed up with the super folks at Streamline to make these eco-friendly kits. If you happen to be attending Gift Fair, swing by booth 1826 to see 'em in person. If you want to buy one of these for yourself, hang tight, because soon enough you'll be able to buy them online.

There are 4 kits in the series including magazine envelopes, a wine cork trivet, a bottle lamp, and bottlecap magnets. These kits are super-easy to make - just add a little bit of garbage and you have your own work of art that you made all by yourself.

Have I been over using the word "super" this blog post? Well, I don't care. I'm super-excited to have these kits ready for stores!

Hurray for recycling and do-it-yourselfing!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Focus the Nation - this Thursday at Pratt

Any of y'all in the New York City area should stop by the Focus the Nation event at my old alma mater. It's this Thursday and lectures and events look like they're running from 10am - 8:30pm or so.

It's being coordinated by the new Director of Sustainability at Pratt Institute, Deb Johnson. Check it out and show the eco-world that you care. I see sustainability experts like Allan Chochinov and Peter Barna will be there. You should be there, too.

And I just noticed there's a body painting competition where you are "Visualizing Global Warming through the Painted Form". Come on, what better way to show the world you care? I suspect the body paints are organic and all-natural.

Sunday CrafterNoon

What do a clock, a snail, a pom pom, and a sweater blanket all have in common? Why, they all participated in my very first Sunday CrafterNoon. Some friends stopped by and whipped out the knitting needles, scissors, and hammers to craft away. Stay tuned, more CrafterNoons on the way.

Then, post-CrafterNoon, a friend and I made our way to Harefield Road to hear the old-school jazz band Cangelosi Cards. A nice end to a crafty day.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's a plastic bag ball!

I just came across this plastic bag ball image at Treehugger. With billions of plastic bags in this world there can never be too many creative reuse projects. If you're not a sports-type person, check out other plastic bag reuses here and here.

If you're actually at a loss for enough plastic bags in New York City, the city council will soon require large stores to install receptacles for collecting plastic bags. Hopefully it will be in the Whole Foods leave-a-bag, take-a-bag style. Yippee for recycling!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Trash = Landfill

I was having lunch at Whole Foods cafeteria earlier this week. When I finished eating, I went to throw away my plastic fork and paper napkin and saw the sign pictured above on their trashcans. Appropriate reminder. Then as I was googling an image for the can I saw that our friend George over at Treehugger had already posted on this. (Thanks for the photo!) Whole Foods also offers recycling bins for paper and plastic, so hopefully it's an unlucky few that end up in the landfill one. They do offer reusable plastic bowls for your lunch so those win the prize and don't end up in any bin.

On my way out I noticed Whole Foods recently installed a big plastic bag receptacle that is "leave a penny, take a penny" style. Take only bags you'll use, and leave any that you won't. Great place for all those dog owners to get their coveted stash.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy ReNew Year!

Hi all! New Years is always a time for resolutions and it's great to see that green is on people's minds. In fact, 49% of Americans aim to go green in 2008.

At RePlayGround, we're still turning trash into new. We're working on some new recycling projects for our do-it-yourself section, and we're giving our shop a makeover. Once the shop is fully stocked it will go back online. In the meantime, check out our Etsy shop for some one-of-a-kind items. The clothing swap tee's that debuted at the Bust Craftacular are up there, along with some recycled sports jersey tote bags. Or if your New Year's resolution was to become more crafty, you can make your own. This project is double-green because you're resuing something to make it out of, plus it's promoting reusable tote bags at the grocery store, rather than the disposable paper or plastic alternatives. Double-green. I like that.

Happy ReNew Year, all!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

7 year old blackberries

A lot of people ask me where I get my inspiration and enthusiasm for recycling. Recycling and reusing is something my family did, and still does. I was taught by my parents early on to compost food scraps and reuse glass jars as juice glasses. My parents recycled and reused so much that we didn't even subscribe to curbside garbage pick-up. About once a month my dad would load my brother, myself and about 1 bag of trash and drive a few miles to the local dump to pay $1 to dispose of the bag. This was before paper recycling was offered in my hometown of Mason, Michigan and my parents would burn our paper waste in our wood burning stove as kindling to get the fire going. It wasn't until childhood friends would start come over and want to throw stuff in the garbage that I realized this wasn't the norm - food scraps and plastic baggies didn't go in the trash, the food scraps went to the compost pile and plastic baggies got rinsed out.

I realize I'm starting to paint a picture of myself as a hippie, but that's not the case. I still had the modern conveniences of a typical American life - I watched way too much TV, ate piles of potato chips, and went shoe shopping for sneakers when my old ones got holes. It was simply the way my family handled our garbage that gave me the recycling background that has lead me to start this company called RePlayGround.

As a kid I was also heavily involved in 4-H where I learned skills like sewing, basketweaving, and painting. Then, as an adult, I moved to the exciting city of New York and started furnishing my apartment with cast-offs I found on the streets. The sidewalks were a treasure trove of recycled materials! This lead me back to art school at Pratt where I wanted to refine my design skills of turning trash into treasure for the masses. Here I worked on my thesis, called Trash Nouveau, where I further explored this idea and I've been a Design Junkie ever since.

Over the holidays I visited my family back in Michigan and we had a good old time. My dad still heats part of the house with a wood-burning stove and we still compost. Sitting around the dinner table the first night, my brother mentioned that my mom had recently made a 7 year-old blackberry pie. I thought he was joking until my mother started defending herself. Apparently my parents did their once-a-decade freezer clean-out where they came across 7 year-old blackberries. My mother, never wanting to throw anything away, decided to make them into a pie. My brother said the pie was ok, but with a slight freezer burn aftertaste. My mom said it wasn't so and was determined to have me decide for myself. She still had several more containers of 7 year-old blackberries so she made a pie for Christmas Eve dinner. The pie had become a big joke among my family so there was a lot of anticipation for our final dessert. Now I'm not saying that keeping berries around for 7 years is a great idea, but the pie was actually pretty good and way tastier than the preservative filled kind found at the local grocery store. Well, that grocery store pie probably has a 7-year shelf life anyway.