Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reduce, REUSE, Recycle

Having a four year old in the house, one cannot help but be creative. Ethan easily switches from being a dinosaur to a fire fighter to a hockey player. Having the right props to go along with the current "characters" can make it even more fun.

With a little imagination, and a few cardboard tubes (from wrapping paper, paper towels, and toilet paper), it is easy to come up with creative reuses for our refuse. Aside from the typical uses, a telescope, microphone and sword, we've made a Matchbox Car Launch, Hockey Stick, T-Ball Tee and Bat, and Bowling Pins. Ethan's friends, Nathan and Arianna made a doll out of cardboard tubes and duct tape.

You can even make a camera. Learn how to make a pinhole camera out of two cardboard tubes and a few other household items, or out of an empty Pringles can. For a more advanced camera with film, go here.

What creative uses have you found for cardboard tubes? Share your ideas in the comments?

More Ideas:
We were inspired by the recent cold weather to have a fire in our fireplace and created the kindling by stuffing some junk mail in a cardboard tube (just remember to take out the fake credit cards first)

Even More Ideas:
Napkin Rings
Ukele and Costumes (including lots of other creative reuse ideas)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, RECYCLE

Digital photography is great for many reasons and printing your own photos at home is certainly one of them. But, if you are anything like us, you go through a lot of ink cartridges. I have been looking for a place to recycle these for a long time and have now found a few options:

Staples accepts any type of ink cartridge and will even give you a $3 credit good toward your next purchase or will donate $3 to the school of your choice for each eligible used ink or toner cartridge you bring in. Even if your brand is not on the list, they will still accept it, just not give you or your school a credit. You can also recycle computers, monitors, fax machines and other e-waste materials through Staples (there is a $10 fee for larger items).

Best Buy has recycling kiosks just inside the door at every store in the U.S., where you can drop off old cell phones, rechargeable batteries, and ink-jet cartridges at no cost. They also offer appliance recycling for a fee.

I ran across Enviro Solutions when I was at the Long Beach Museum of Art. They had a box of envelopes in which you can send an ink cartridge (free of charge) to be recycled. You can order collection envelopes/bins from their website for your home or office. Once the envelope or box is full, just schedule a UPS pick up or drop it off at UPS facility. They will pay cash or make a donation for used ink and toner cartridges on their list, as well as used cell phones.

UPDATE: Here's a government website that lists lots of locations for dropping off ink cartridges, toner, batteries, computers and other electronic waste.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Exercise Your Creativity: Snowflakes

Need a Snow Day?

Snowflake cutting is a annual tradition in our home. Here is a fun little website that lets you create and share snowflakes online.

Better yet, get out some paper, a pair of scissors and cut snowflakes the old fashioned way. The key is folding the paper correctly.