Category Archives: Green & Grey Repurpose

Green and Grey Repurpose – hanging around

In early May I was in York waiting to meet a group of former school friends (yes, some of us are still in touch after over 40 years) for a meal. By chance, opposite the restaurant I noticed a shop  that was closing down – everything must go etc.

I’m always one for a bargain and, it being a camping and outdoors outlet, I was sure I’d find something to match my interest in running and walking.

There were some great discounts – the shop was due to close in a matter of days – but it was a box of wooden coat-hangers being sold off in bundles that attracted my attention. Five minutes later I was poorer by £6 but richer by 30 wooden hangers. I’d already seen ideas for re-purposing them on the internet and, at 20 pence each, I could afford to make a mistake or two.

Anyone can look online for inspiration and there are some great examples of how people have made weird and wonderful creations from this humble, but well-crafted piece of kit. They may look mass produced but I soon discovered that many of the coathangers I’d bought were slightly different which adds interest and a challenge.

My first bargain souvenir creation from York is a ‘hanger-hanger’. Based on one I’d seen elsewhere I’ve added my own design feature. I’m happy with the way it’s turned out but functionality has always been my test for re-purposing projects and it works particularly well on that front.

Next up is a simple small table using four hangers, but I’ve also seen lampshades made from coathangers, a plate rack, and even a coathanger chair (I hope it’s more comfortable than it looks!)

 

So, next time you’re hanging around keep your eyes and mind open – you might find inspiration for a creative project in the most unlikely place when you’re least expecting it – I did.

For other re-purposing projects go to https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/green-grey-repurpose 

Green and Grey Repurpose – standing desk

img_0006Did you know that standing up at work for an average 3 hours a day for a year is the equivalent calorie burn (approx 30,000 calories) of running ten marathons? I discovered this amazing statistic when I discovered a beautiful standing desk (the Eiger) at the Entrepreneurial Spark ‘Hatchery’ in Milton Keynes (where I also got excited about their reclaimed scaffold board tables).

I couldn’t afford the Eiger, so it got me thinking… could I make one by re-purposing a slatted wooden chair? I put a call-out for such a chair through our local Freegle group. I got offered three!

With a bit of head scratching (I haven’t got hair to pull out) I can up with a low-tech height-adjustable design which also folds flat for easy storage and/or transport. I’m pretty happy with the result – I use it now at my work – and some days I stand up all day.

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I’m a runner, but I don’t do marathons (standing is more my scene)

9 more health benefits from using a standing desk:

  1. When sitting down, your metabolic rate crashes to an absolute minimum. You only burn 1 calories a minute – that’s less than chewing gum!
  2. As soon as you sit, electrical activity in your legs shuts down and enzymes that help break down fat drop 90%
  3. Sitting 6+ hours a day makes you up to 40% likelier to die in 15 years than someone who sits less than 3 hours (even if you exercise)
  4. Worldwide studies have warned that a sedentary lifestyle could be causing as many deaths as smoking
  5. People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as those with standing jobs
  6. Regular exercise regimes do not negate the effects of a sedentary lifestyle – going to the gym two or three times a week isn’t enough
  7. Being sedentary slows down the circulatory system, blood, oxygen and vital nutrients
  8. In the UK, 30 million working days were lost in 2013 from musculoskeletal disorders
  9. Research published in The Lancet in 2016 on more than 1 million office workers found that sitting for at least 8 hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60%

Source: www.iwantastandingdesk.com  (click to learn more about the Eiger)

Interested in other re-purpose projects?  https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/green-grey-repurpose

Green and Grey Repurpose – MeTubes

tab-tube-2Question – what do a pencil, toothbrush, and phone charger have in common?               Answer – calcium tablets.

I’ve been prescribed calcium tablets for osteoporosis (well, against osteoporosis to be more precise). I’m meant to be taking 60 every month for five years. That’s a tube-a-week habit so I’m accumulating a goodly supply of empty plastic tubes with plastic plugs in the end.

Not wanting to waste the NHS’s investment in these tubes (and my health), I’ve set out to devise as many re-purposing ideas for them as I can. Here are the first three (I have some others in development using combinations of tubes – watch this space)

  • img_0020Brushguard – after hearing about potential health hazards on hotel bathroom sinks, I set to work producing a cover for the average toothbush. It works well in a washbag and can be secured upright to a smooth surface in the bathroom using the sucker on the end.
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  • Sharpenhold – big enough to store a couple of short pencils – the kind you find in Ikea, Screwfix and Wickes (see my blog on the value of short pencils – link below) You can also keep your shavings under control and your pencils sharp. Yes – real writing can come in small sustainable containers!
  • img_0016-2The leader – twist the plug to reduce or release the lead between your charging phone and the wall socket. No more tangles, no tripping over a trailing lead, no more people confusing your charger for theirs.

All tubes can be painted for identification, so you don’t try to brush your teeth with a pencil, for personalisation, and to coordinate with your bathroom, office, and phone-cover colour schemes.

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Your turn…

Share your own re-purposing ideas and let’s see if we can come up with “101 uses for an empty tablet tube” I’ll send you (within the UK) three tubes with plugs if you submit an idea with a brief explanation (and preferably a drawing or photo).

Also of interest?

https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/green-grey-repurpose/

https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/pencils-and-personalisation

Green and Grey Repurpose – Soap Sock

My mum used to complain “nothing gets better, it only gets worse”. That may make her sound like a pessimist but she wasn’t; she was a lifelong Liberal (and reluctantly a Lib Dem) so she knew all about living hopefully.

I was thinking that paid-for car-washing was going the same way – paying more for an automated and inferior job. Then Eastern European migrant workers came over to wash and polish our cars within an inch of their lives – reviving the fashion for hand-washes.

To encourage this trend for hand-car-washing, I’m kicking off this new series of blogs on re-purposing and hacking, with a new use for an unwanted item of clothing.

img_0012What do you do with a single holey sock that’s beyond darning but too good to throw out? You can turn it into a Soap Sock for cleaning and polishing – cars, cutlery, candlesticks, and other things beginning with ‘c’.

The woolier the sock the better – old bed socks and slipper socks are ideal, woollen walking socks come close, but any holey, wooly sock will do. Ankle socks work better img_0014than stockings but the longer sock can be doubled over if necessary making your soap sock even more absorbent.

Try the sock for size – it should  fit over your hand … like a glove. If it’s a bit loose around your wrist you can keep it in place with one of the rubber bands that posties drop around your front door.                                                                                       img_0020Using your soap sock is easy. For a car wash, you slip the sock over your hand, plunge both into a bucket of hot ‘wash and wax’ water, then caress the body (of the car) as if exfoliating your own contours. Be sure not to miss those awkward little nooks and crannies – particularly around the wheel hubs.

img_0022If washing other surfaces, you can tuck some of those annoying left over slivers of hand soap inside your sock ,so it lathers from within when you dip your hand into the clean water. For polishing jobs, slipper socks work well inside out.

A final tip, if you’re cleaning a tiled/vinyl floor, you can wear two soap socks and shuffle around the room without needing to bend down – my kind of housework.

An afterthought – washing your car is a good opportunity to say ‘hello’ to passers-by and for getting to know your neighbours – even better if you offer to wash their car as well…

Further reading:  https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/whats-the-purpose  

 

What’s the purpose?

finger-fun-with-forks

Finger fun with forks

A repairer at our local Repair Café recently told me that the back brace of a windscreen wiper is good for making lock picks. He’s a juggler with a circus school, so he may have a legitimate need to pick locks (when the escapologist can’t?)

When it comes to being environmentally aware and saving resources, we have to learn a list of words beginning with ‘r’ to add’ to the existing green lexicon – recycling, re-using, refusing, reducing.

Two relatively new kids on the block are ‘re-purposing’ and ‘upcycling’. Like the mis-use of ‘recycling’, the two are often used interchangeably. For pedants like me, try this from Mike – co-founder of reCreate Design Co in Sweden; she writes…

“Upcycle, in very simple terms, is taking something and making it better. It’s the reuse of an item that will still be used in the same way – but it looks new and improved. Upcycling can be achieved through paint, add-ons, new upholstery, etc. Repurpose, quite simply, is taking one thing and reusing [or re-creating?] it as something else. “

document-holder-hackThen there’s ‘hack’ by which I don’t mean listening in to  phone messages and e-mails. In this context, a ‘hack’ is a clever solution to a potentially tricky problem. To hack is to modify, or apply an unintended use for, something in a creative way. For me the key element of a hack is the ingenuity brought to practical problem-solving (even if that’s making something you need when you can’t afford to buy). My current favourite hack is to use a retailer’s plastic trouser hanger as a document holder.

All this is a long-winded way of announcing my plan to share my passion for re-purposing through highlighting some examples (some my own, some from others) from time to time on this blogsite.

The first in the series – coming soon – will be a Soap Sock. Feel free to share your own favourite re-purposing and hacking by replying to this blog.

Further reading: 

Recreate Design Co  http://recreatedesigncompany.com

Words to cut waste https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/words-to-cut-waste

The forgotten ‘r’  https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/the-forgotten-r-reduce-reuse-recycle-and-repair

Soap Sock https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/green-and-grey-repurpose-soap-sock