I am a major advocate for reduce and reuse. I recycle what I have reused so many times it no longer serves, and often I find creative solutions to turning waste into a usable resource. Like my most recent post about making paper. However, there are times that it is simply time to surrender and move on. I spent my last week engulfed in a project which generated a large amount of non-recyclable waste, but was well worth the sacrifice given the improved health standards of my home space. What I am referring to is the carpets which now lay in rolls in my yard. Unless a more feasible solution occurs, this filthy-moldy, fifty year-old carpet is on its way to the dump. So why, you may ask, am I writing about this on an Eco tutorial post? Well, we all have moments in the Western cultural reality, when enough is enough. I generate about a plastic grocery bags worth of trash every two weeks. I want to breach the topic of living a lifestyle with a minimal footprint and when to call it quits on on the Richter scale of reduce, reuse and recycle. After-all, even the landfill breaks down into compost (which is why I periodically slip some organic compostable ingredients into the trash, in hopes it will help breakdown the masses of trash consumable culture produces).
This is the first section of ancient green carpet floor I pulled up in my circa 1940s home. The pink stuff is a type of rubber which predates the matting placed beneath carpet in modern construction. This rubber was completely deteriorated and had to be removed with shovels in piles of pink dust. I wore a dust mask.
Then I removed the tack strips and staples from the particle boards. After the final vacuuming the house felt really clean. I could finally breath with confidence. But what to do with no financial budget for flooring? The most economical choice I determined was to reduce my consumption and cost by painting the floor boards with primer followed by a low VOC latex paint. Then adding three final (thin) coats of Poly Urethane finish. This entire process took about four days but it is well worth it. I feel good about my choice to waste this moldy carpet now that I found a way to reduce my need for additional environmentally effecting materials like laminate or hardwood flooring.
In what ways do you reduce, reuse and recycle in your home?