Sustainability Sunday #1
Reduce, recycle, REUSE!
I have a certain tendency to hoard things. There, I said it.
The problem is, I’m terribly sentimental, I love organised piles and I have a fear of being responsible for the beautiful fields of Britain being covered in rubbish. But I have to say, it is true that somebody’s trash is another’s treasure.
The first Sustainability Sundays post is inspired by my slightly better half moving into a new flat in London that only came with a bed and a sofa. His other sleeping quarter requirements are going to include a desk for “WFH”, some beside tables (mainly for my little nicknacks – earrings, hair bobbles and the glass of water I never need), a mirror for hairdrying – and yes I mean him! And perhaps a few framed photographs, probably in black and white. We’re aiming for the kind of gentleman chic that you see featured in GQ or Esquire, but on a budget. Here’s how we (I) plan to create our own treasures from someone else’s trash.
eBay! (gumtree, preloved and other secondhand websites available)
If you type “bedside tables” into the search bar you’ll get results of around 2500 used items. You really can take your pick here, there are bedside units in every shape, size, colour and condition so you’re bound to find something that you like or something that with a few minor alterations will be as good as new. More often than not, with larger pieces sellers will have a collection only policy, which isn’t so great if you haven’t got a car or live miles away from the seller. So this leads me to another invaluable website I recently discovered: www.shiply.com. Here you can hire delivery drivers to pick up and collect whatever you like to wherever you like.
If you’re feeling like you want to go the extra mile on sustainability here, you can always offset the emissions of the transportation.
Reclamation yards and salvage stores
Timber in its raw material form is used to create hundreds of products, fashioned from enormous pieces of wood from which offcuts are discarded. Wood yards and architectural salvage stores will sell these offcuts at a discounted price and are the perfect place for you to find bits and pieces to get creative and design your own furniture! Getting down and dirty with a hammer and a drill to make your own means you can build pieces that you’ll want to keep.
We’re thinking of checking out the Community Wood Recycling centres in St Albans and Milton Keynes. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at a reclamation yard there are lots of timber importers who ensure all their products are FSC certified and sustainably sourced. Our local one is South London Timber and they’ve got everything you could possibly want! To stand our dreamy piece of wood on we’re going to get some bare steel hair pin table legs from a small online business (eBay again!).
Once we’ve created our masterpiece I’ll be posting some pics of the final product, but the in the meantime, here’s an idea of what were aiming for:
Taking photographs is one of my favourite things to do, I happily snap away at food, drinks, trees, animals, buildings and occasionally myself. Inspiration is all around and as we’re pretty much always carrying a camera with us these days why spend a heap of money on a picture someone else took when you can capture your own?
Again, junk yards and salvage stores are great places to find old frames that just need a lick of paint. I found these two lovely wooden frames at a second hand furniture yard local to my hometown. They had a few bumps and bruises but after a sanding down and a couple of coats of blackboard paint they’re good as new.
Circling back to the sustainability aspect of this, reusing materials is really important, natural resources are so precious and it really is a crime to waste something simply because it is unwanted. This is the perfect reason for you to part with some of your redundant possessions and enable someone else to give them a new lease of life; and when you’re thinking of buying something new, have a little look to see if you can make use of something old. Saving these materials from going to landfill reduces a significant environmental impact, supports what are frequently small local businesses and it helps you to furnish your home on a budget.
And I’m telling you, you’ll have a surprisingly good time making these things too…