My second grader came home last week with a small note stapled to his take-home folder.  It seems that a project is to be created for a parade his class is having.  This project could be an instrument, a flag or a banner, but the idea is to make the entire thing from recycled materials.  Use things that you would normally get rid of in a new way.

Naturally, my son’s idea was to take an empty water bottle and put some pebbles in it for a shaker.  I, however, swayed him down a more involved path than rocks in a bottle.  We ended up making a banner.

We took a torn pair of jeans that my husband had in a pile of clothes of which he needed to dispose and cut off a leg.  We split the leg open down the seam to make a long, denim banner.  Since this parade was in preparation for a big, statewide test the older children at my son’s school would be taking, we came up with a slogan and wrote it in large letters on the material with glue.

Then, the fun began!  We took shredded paper (I had spent the weekend, purging old tax documents) and sprinkled it in the glue.  Since I had been shredding various types of papers, everything from old checks to colorful brochures and documents, we ended up with a myriad of colors in our banner.  It was quite impressive!

This entire process reminded me that, while recycling is a valuable and (should be) necessary part of our lives, reusing is even more important.  Being able to take something that is no longer being used and finding a new job for it is even better than simply recycling.  Look around your house, your trash can, your recycle bin.  Are there things you are getting rid of that might be used for something else?  Giving new life to something is the best way to improve our environment.  See what you can come up with today.