Change the World Wednesday, Random Acts of Green

I so love when I read the week’s challenge at Reduce Footprints and realize I have done something that fits the theme for the week.  Today I did something that seemed normal for me, then I read the challenge and realized that while it may be normal for me to do this, I was making a statement, a stand for the planet and found myself smiling to know I may be able to make a bigger difference.  So here’s this week’s challenge:

This week, perform a random act of green. Similar to a random act of kindness, the idea is to help the planet by looking for Eco-friendly opportunities which may present themselves as you go through your day. This could be picking up trash while you walk or helping an elderly neighbor bring their recycling bin to the curb for pickup. Maybe you turn off a light which was left on, offer to carpool to save gas, or share local produce with a friend. Perhaps buy a reusable bag or bottle for someone or invite a neighbor to share a vegan meal. The possibilities are endless!

You may be asking what I did now, but it’s nothing all that new at least for me.  A couple of months ago we had a new person move into the apartment building.  Our apartments are partly furnished but we have the option to bring our own furniture.  The woman who moved in didn’t want the furnishings, she was told to put them in the hallway where someone would pick them up to put in storage.

 

I let almost 2 weeks go by and saw someone had taken a chair, so I took a mirror which I restored and painted then sold through the office where I sell my finds. There was still a desk sitting there, I wanted to take it but felt I should ask first. Before I made the call to management the desk disappeared. It was broken up and tossed in the dumpster.

The desk was a copy of this one I dragged in last winter and restored.

The desk was a copy of this one I dragged in last winter and restored.

To say I was upset is to put it mildly.  Today three of the individuals, two maintenance men and the grounds keeper were here. I headed out to confront them.  I politely explained that they didn’t have to break up good furniture as I would take any of it and restore it (if needed) and find them new homes.  What surprised me was their reaction. They stopped what they were doing to question me on what types of items I would take and began to complain about the amount that is tossed out when the students go home.

My reason for approaching the men was to prevent furniture from my building from being tossed out, but instead these 3 men offered to collect items they find at the other apartment buildings which are managed by their company and bring them to me.  If you thought my finds this past May were plenty just wait and see how much I can get if I have help collecting the furniture, not to mention they all  have large pick up trucks which I don’t normally  have access to. :-)

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I did one other thing Monday which comes to mind. My daughter-in-law stopped by to ask me if I had an extra reusable water bottle she could take to work with her.  I had two here, so I was happy to give her one.  Now instead of buying a disposable bottle of water or two each day she works she carries the metal bottle and refills it through her shift.

Will you join me this week and look for little things you can do which can add up to a big difference?

27 thoughts on “Change the World Wednesday, Random Acts of Green

  1. Wow what a bonus for you – I’m so glad they stopped and listened to you, and are now your partners in crime. What I find even stranger is when I find items for ‘free’ on the roadside or for asking on freecycle, and then the next day see someone buy the item new! It’s such a head hit hand moment!! You shall have endless blog fodder now.

    • Sarah, I couldn’t believe my luck! I was hesitant at first to ask, but thought why not what’s the worst that could happen. :-)

      That would be something to see someone buy something new you had just seen offered for free. More people should at least check Freecycle or even Craigslist before shopping.

      Yep, between the curb side finds and the hardware I should be good to fill your inbox with plenty of my projects. :-)

  2. Wow this is great, well done you! I think this just shows people don’t really want to waste stuff but they just don’t know what else to do with it. Your community is lucky to have someone like you around to make things good as new again. Great work!

    • Thank you, Tegan. I try, some days I get frustrated when I find items in the trash, but then I also see others who will dig out good items to save as well, and my actions are rubbing off on family members so I have hope.

  3. Smiling widely here Lois, LOL as I can just see this big pick up truck loaded up with Goodies and you being squashed into your small living space while you get more and more to restore.. LOL Good for YOU!…:-)

    • Yes, I can see it too. That’s why I am hoping we have nice weather come May and I will be able to tarp them outside and work out there While I really enjoy the work and would go crazy without it I would like my apartment to only hold my belongings for a bit. :-)

    • Maybe I can convince management to build me a workshop in the field :-) I do look forward to seeing how much these guys will take the time to collect and bring to me. Every thing I can save I will.

      • I wonder if a shipping container would do, I have seen some wonderful examples where people have added a little deck to the front and turned them into tiny holiday homes.

        • Jen, I have seen the shipping container homes and love them!! I don’t think I will ever get permission for any kind of structure on the property as even a small shed will push up property taxes. We have to be careful in making changes to the field that nothing we do improves the property enough to cause the taxes to increase. By clearing the field of weeds we improved the property, but the seating areas while I would love to add some stone underneath to make weeding less of a concern and make them move welcoming would then increase the taxes. It’s crazy.

  4. I shouldn’t advocate buying things since I’m a minimalist blogger, but you can keep your heat turned down really low at night if you have a heated mattress pad. That thing is one of my most valued possessions. And not because it saves electricity though it does. Nothing like getting into a toasty bed.

    • Christy, I tried a heated pad, it must be the way my body works because when I get out of bed I am colder and have a harder time adjusting to the ambient temperatures. I just layer heavy blankets seems to work. But then again I now live in an apartment that has only one wall exposed to the outside air so the temp doesn’t fluctuate much.

    • I don’t expect too much for a while now. A few leave in December but not many, so it will be May when the huge amounts are thrown out. Hopefully we have good weather and I can tarp and store things outside. :-)

  5. What is so great about this is how you completely turned a situation around. It’s kind of funny that the maintenance guys didn’t see their part in adding to landfill waste but, nonetheless, in talking to you they have become advocates for the planet rather than destructive forces. Yay! In turn, you might just have gone from a hobby that nets you a bit of cash to a full-fledged business. Wow! We never know how our actions may change the course of life! Good on you, Lois! :-)

    • Small, I felt so bad about approaching them the way I did. I worried they would think I was criticizing them and they have been so good to me, but yes in the end it turned around and they were happy to offer me anything they find. I will either have to get a bigger space to sell from or start giving most everything away for free to empty things out come May again.

      • Lois,
        i suspect (hope) that the longer you do this, the more folks will learn about you by word of mouth. so, you may indeed get more and more to redo.

        However, so will folks here about you that are looking for items, reasonably priced/sturdy. I suspect you may also increase your customer base.

        all good. good luck

        • Small, I do get plenty of calls from people who are looking for something they need and ask me to keep my eyes open, most recently I procured a dresser for my newest neighbor within 10-15 minutes.

          I wouldn’t mind it growing into a real business, I would just hire more people to help. :-) My daughter-in-law began helping this summer and of course so did the little ones. The children are getting pretty good too.

          If it did grow I would be pleased because I see it as good for the pocket of those buying the pieces and good for the planet. Of course it also means the bottom line would shrink for the big box stores and that would be good too.

  6. I was so excited today. My new LED lights came today. We had halogen bulbs in the kitchen and were really not happy with heat they produced (and electricity used). LEDs are the present state of the art light bulbs but they are so expensive. I have found importers who will ship to consumers.
    This really lowers the price by more than 50%. I am trying to do my part. I am also doing (most) of my laundry by hand with the new mobile washer.

    • Deb congratulations on your LEDs. I have been switching over all the fixtures in my apartment, I am making the conversion from CFL to LED. I really like the quality of the light over the CFLs. I didn’t realize they would be so much cheaper to order out of the country. I will have to look into that because they are expensive. My son called me one day to let me know Costco had a special, 3 LED bulbs for $7 I think it was, and asked if I wanted a box of them. Of course I said yes, so you may want to watch for specials from Costco or through your local electric company as I know my son’s area offers hugely discounted or free LEDs.

      I give you huge kudos for doing your laundry by hand. I think about it as I don’t have a lot here but since I haven’t gotten approval to put up clotheslines and haven’t built something for drying indoors I end up using the machines. That will be my next step, to take back the job of laundry from machines.

  7. Hmmm… it’s the little things that count, eh? I’m always looking for little things I can do to help out here and there and will make an even bigger effort. I am constantly turning off lights (sigh, teenagers…), lowering heating by a few degrees overnight, etc.

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