How to Recycle Sneakers For Use In Sports Arenas and School Tracks

sneaker bin How to Recycle Sneakers For Use In Sports Arenas and School Tracks

I’m tough on Sneakers.  In fact I go through about three pairs per year with all the walking and gardening I do.  You might say I’m the perfect candidate to recycle my sneakers since I do more than my part to contribute to their collecting in land fills!

I recently discovered a location north of Baltimore that participates in Nike’s “Reuse-a-Shoe” program, turning 100% of any athletic brand shoe into either a running track, basketball court, tennis court, or golf surface.  The program has donation centers all around the country and describes how it creates these useful surfaces on Nike’s main website.  Most collection programs accept donations in person or via mail, and you can donate shoes from all over the country to the effort.  Since I plan on accumulating a few pairs before I make the trip to my local project collection site, I’ll add a bin in my trash container to save both my shoes and that of my family’s.

Curious as to how to recycle your own sneakers, check out this link and watch the video on how they reuse unwanted sneakers from around the country!

Photo Courtesy of: Don Hankins

Refurbished Tools Make A Great Green Gift For Spring Projects

3097850219 602c6e52a6 300x300 Refurbished Tools Make A Great Green Gift For Spring Projects

Earth Day is over, but buying refurbished tools for your lawn and garden project list is a great green way to aquire the tools you need, recycled and as good as new, right from the factory!

Whether you are looking for a new drill and bit set to help you put together your own raised garden bed walls, or want a new set of hedge trimmers, the folks over at “One Project Closer” have been helping DYI-ers around the house and yard for about a year now, and they have a great go-to list of manufacturer refurbished tool sales around the internet.  Many of the tools come with a full warranty, and are up to 50% less than what you would pay for a brand new tool, which helps your wallet, and is a more eco-friendly way to purchase your tools.  

Check out their article, and see if you can’t find the tools you need to complete your spring projects for a steal.


Photo Courtesy of: Robert S. Donovan 

Product Review: The Nature Mill Indoor Composter

naturemillpro kitchencouple 216x300 Product Review: The Nature Mill Indoor ComposterUrbanites rejoice, because the Nature Mill company has created an odorless indoor composter specifically made to fit in the average kitchen cabinet!

A traditional composter can be impossible to fit into a small urban living space.  Generally they are bulky, messy, time consuming, and some can be odiforous. A traditional composter naturally breaks down food and yard waste through aeration, the addition of beneficial bacteria, and by exposure to the warm spots created in a bin through the heat generated by decomposing matter. Here’s the hitch though, traditional composters require labor, work slowly when exposed to cold temeratures, and cannot process meat and dairy, while this indoor model can!

The indoor composter from Nature Mill is energy star rated, and utilizes electricity to keep your scrap material constantly warm, rotated, and aerated, speeding up the decomposing process. This model will provide you with a new batch of compost about every two weeks, and can process about 120 pounds of garbage per month!  Another added benefit is that with this warm composter, meat and dairy products can be added and will break down with the rest of your garbage and scraps! The composting process is as simple as scraping you food scraps into the composter, and emptying the compost drawer when the “fill” sensor lights up!

diagram 150x150 Product Review: The Nature Mill Indoor Composter

Just one small bin full of this rich compost can feed and fertilize up to 10-40 square feet of garden, and it can be diluted with water to become a liquid fertilizer suitable for everything from house plants to fruit trees! Check it out either on the home website linked to above, or purchase one at Target or Costco, and turn your waste into compost gold.

Recycling How To: Donate Gift Cards To Charity

img 0529 300x225 Recycling How To: Donate Gift Cards To Charity

Nine Million dollars worth of gift card cash goes unspent every year in the USA. This year all nine million of those dollars can now be donated to charities who accept new and used gift cards as tax deductible donations. 

If you’ve got a giftcard you will never use, or want to give to charity after the post holiday rush and find yourself short on cash, you can donate your holiday giftcards and make a difference in the way someone else begins 2009. Most charities that welcome gift cards will accept both unused cards and those with a little balance left on them, so even cards that only have a few cents left on their balance can become change in the pocket of a worthy cause.

A few noteworthy causes that accept gift card donation are:

Check out  Gift Card Donor.Com for more great donation opportunities, or check with your favorite charity or environmental cause to see of they accept gift card donations, and try this new way to recycle.

Mulching Tip: Recycling Paper Goods

mulch 1 225x300 Mulching Tip: Recycling Paper GoodsI’ll admit to it right off the bat – I have no interest in composting!  Call me lazy or superficial, but I don’t want to be “that girl” in my neighborhood, with the big bin, or leaf corral in her side yard, for composting. For some reason, the idea of sipping my morning coffee while dumping beer into a pile of decomposing garden waste, and stirring the pile to a suitable consistency, seems a little gross.  I’m not sure why I draw a line there, when I’ve been coming home lately covered in pollen and dirt.  Perhaps it’s the illusion of clean respectability that I’m after!  Or, maybe the “composting bug” doesn’t really bite until after you pass your 35th birthday?  Either way, I try to sneak the idea behind composting into my yard in a way that leaves my yard neat and tidy for the common observer.

Here’s what I do to both recycle and cut back on my weeding: After I moved in to my current house, I was eager to expand the garden area, but I wasn’t so excited about the weeds that inevitably make newly “turned” soil into their home.  I took one look at all the newspaper that I had used to wrap my valuables, and the folded boxes that all my belongings had been moved in, and got an idea.  I had heard that newspaper was a great liner under mulch to choke and smother weeds out (while improving the soil), and knew that the same principle would apply to my moving boxes too.  Since most current ink is soy based, it’s safe to add these common items to your yard.  A layer of about 6-8 pages of completely biodegradable newsprint (or one layer of corrugated cardboard box) can go under 2-3 inches of mulch to create a great barrier for several months of weed free gardening!  It was a great way to get rid of all those moving boxes and supplies, and it’s worked beautifully in my yard!  


  • I recommend cross-hatching paper, or boxes and immediately covering what you have laid with mulch, so an errant breeze doesn’t relocate your project to your neighbor’s yard.
  • Boxes often do well when wet with a hose before you lay the mulch, to assist in softening the edges. I don’t recommend using boxes in any area you may want to add bulbs to at a later date, as boxes biodegrade at a slower rate than the newsprint, and will hinder your efforts.
  • I often keep an extra bag of mulch on hand to cover over any edges that pop up through the mulch in the first few weeks. 
  • Colored advertisements are not recommended under mulch, because of possible toxic dye in the ink, so use those at your own risk.

Your thoughts: Do you have any creative ways to prevent weeds from popping up or perhaps just some creative ways to recycle things?  Let me know, I’m always looking for new ideas to try at home!