Recycling Gone Amuck?

Call me a waste-not-want-not kinda gal, but this is a motto I can live by, but I think we can all agree there’s no sense in waste. From frugal consumption to garbage disposal, we should all practice clean living habits, using the old instead of increasing our dump sites and generally be good stewards of our environment. I mean, even a dog knows better than to soil his living space, shouldn’t we humans?

We should. And we gardeners know better than anyone the value of leftovers and waste—we collect it and build gorgeous compost piles with it! From our veggie omelet to our lawn clippings, we reuse everything. And for good reason. We’re building piles of black gold, a.k.a. organic soil for our gardens.

But how about your coffee? Sure, we use old coffee grounds to decrease the pH of our soil, scattering them among the blueberries, raspberries, potatoes, azaleas and gardenia (don’t fight kids, there’s enough for all of you!). My rose bushes, too! Some plants simply thrive in acidic soil. But what about the coffee I didn’t drink? Need I pour it down the sink?

coffee-grounds

Absolutely not! Save that old coffee and dilute it with water for a most effective spray against insects. Whiteflies abhor the stuff, but your plants don’t mind a bit! And don’t forget that newspaper you’re reading. When you’re finished, use it as mulch in your garden, maybe beneath the more beautiful hay or pine needles?

black gold compostBut don’t stop there! After school, what water the kids don’t drink, dump the remainder into your houseplants, not down the drain. Same goes for juices, etc. I use these in the compost pile, though liquid in the bin does add to the mess factor on the way out — kids have to work overtime to fine tune their balancing skills for this amazing feat – but it’s all about teaching them eye-hand coordination, right?

Of course it is. But however you choose to manage it, I’m a believer in wasting nothing. Not because laws dictate such and I fear someone from the government is out checking my recycling bins, but because it makes sense. Common sense; something we strive for everyday in our household.