Five Rivers MetroParks is encouraging families to take a break and make this season, with a series of DIY programs that focus on repurposing common household materials into cool, useful items and gifts. Held at Possum Creek MetroPark, these classes not only provide families with new crafting ideas, they educate people on how to be more sustainable at home by reusing items that may otherwise end up in the landfill.
“MetroParks promotes sustainable practices in our parks, during programs and even in our workspaces,” said MetroParks education specialist Connie Duncan. “It’s part of Five Rivers MetroParks’ mission to protect our region’s natural heritage. As a conservation agency, MetroParks also teaches people how to be more sustainable at home. These repurposing programs will show people how to reduce, reuse and recycle in fun and creative ways .”
Each month, a different item will be selected to repurpose and MetroParks’ education specialists will help families get crafty, resulting in a take-home project they’ll feel good about. Programs are held at Possum Creek MetroPark from 10 a.m. to noon and are $5 per family.
This season’s Repurposing Hacks for the family series features:
Material of the Month: T-Shirts
Make a tote, necklace, dog or cat toy, and other fun things out of your favorite old T-shirts. Embellish your tote or necklace with beads made of washi tape and more. Bring two used T-shirts to repurpose into new items.
Why opt to upcycle: According to the World Wildlife Federation, it can take 2,700 liters of water to produce the cotton needed to make a single T-shirt. Instead of tossing old cotton shirts, create a useful item like a tote. Those who are more advanced crafters can create a T-shirt quilt. Simply donating your clothes to a local thrift store for others to enjoy is a sustainable choice as well.
Want to learn how much water you use? It could be more than you think! See how you stack up compared to other households by using the Water Footprint Water Calculator.
Material of the month: Paper
Learn how to turn old newspaper and paper grocery bags into functional decorative bowls to use at home and as unique gifts for friends and family. Paper will be provided, but feel free to bring some from home as well.
Why opt to upcycle: Paper accounts for 25 percent of landfill waste and 33 percent of municipal waste, according to theworldcounts.com. Recycling one ton of paper saves about 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 liters of water and 17 trees. To be more sustainable at home, recycle your paper waste or compost uncolored, non-glossy paper. Learn more about home composting during MetroParks’ February Compost Kitchen programs.
Material of the month: Milk Jugs
Bring a milk jug from home and learn how to repurpose it into beautiful feeders for our feathered friends. Materials will be provided to decorate your bird feeder.
Why opt to upcycle: According to Forbes, humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute, 91 percent of which are not recycled. Lessen your footprint by upcycling milk jugs into bird feeders, planters and more. Also, be sure to recycle plastic materials when they’re no longer needed.
“I do believe people are looking to a simpler time when it was common practice to make handmade items for friends and family,” Duncan said. “That feeling of ‘I did this’ is a great sensation and adds a uniqueness you cannot buy in the store.”
Duncan also suggests exploring all Possum Creek MetroPark has to offer after the program. Featuring hiking trails, fishing destinations, a sustainable farm and more, families can learn more about sustainable practices and spend the day having fun outdoors.