Anyone that’s prepared to spend a little time transforming old unwanted items into something new can save themselves lots of money and quite often create things that just aren’t available to buy in the shops. There are so many ideas for recycling out there I wanted to share with you just two recycling ideas for now. The ideas I have chosen are quite easy to carry out and cost very little. They could turn out to be completely free if you have or can source the materials required.
Barrel Garden Irrigator
Turn an old barrel into a green product which saves you money too!
With utility bills constantly on the rise what better time to make use of some free resources. It surprises me how many people still don’t have water butts installed in their gardens. Rain water is often overlooked as a renewable source by home owners. Many of us are quite keen gardeners and think nothing of connecting up the hose pipe and using thousands upon thousands of litres of water, which we have to pay for. Barrel garden irrigators can be connected to the drain pipe of your house quite easily and when it rains all the water that hits your roof finds its way into your water butt. If for some reason you cannot collect the water from your house then you can consider using an out-building such as a shed, garage, porch or conservatory.
Location Of The Barrel
Plan carefully where you want the barrel to be sighted. It has got to be said that they aren’t the greatest looking things and unfortunately you don’t get too much say on where they go as they need to be right next to your drain pipe for obvious reasons. Try to place the water butt in a convenient place to use, you can think about disguising it by planting some plants or shrubs around it. Most people tend to install water butts at the back of the house so that they do not spoil the appearance of the house from the street. I have seen some water butts placed behind garages, sheds and outbuildings which are totally out of sight. Bare in mind that the smaller the surface area of the roof top is of which you will collect water from, then then longer your water butt will take to fill back up once you’ve used it.
Setting The Barrel Up Correctly And Safely
The barrel must be raised off the ground slightly so that when you come to use it you’ll be able to get your watering can underneath. The most common way of raising the barrels is to lay two concrete blocks parallel on the ground and then place your water barrel on top. Make sure that the barrel will be stable especially if young children are around.
Your barrel will need to be connected to the drain pipe by means of a plastic elbow pipe, these are available from all good DIY stores. Cut a section of your drain pipe away just above where the barrel will sit.
Fitting The Tap
To be able to use the water that your newly installed water butt has collected you must fit a tap to it. In order for the tap to work it needs pressure therefore the tap must be sited near the bottom of the barrel. Taps are available from plumbers and all good DIY stores, the type of tap that you need is often referred to as a Bibcock Tap.
Fitting A Lid
You will need to make a lid to keep out insects and other contaminants. One way of doing this is to use some exterior grade wood or other material and cut (using a jigsaw) a circle out just big enough to cover the top of your water butt. You will need to cut a small hole in the lid for your drain pipe to go into. As an added protection from insects and creepy crawlies you can seal the lid by using silicon or mastic sealant.
As far as ideas for recycling go this is one of the cheapest to implement. If you don’t already have a water butt then I suggest you give it a go and watch your water bills drop. If you find that you are using all the water up in your barrel on a regular basis then consider placing another by the side of your first one and joining it together near the bottom with some simple plumbing.
Car Tyre Planter
Second on my ‘ideas for recycling’ list is a car tyre planter, these are simple to make and look beautiful when in full bloom.
What You'll Need And Where To Find It
I don’t want to state the obvious here but your are going to need an old car tyre for this one, it also needs to still be on a wheel rim. If you don’t have one they are pretty easy to come by. Ask around your friends or family, they will probably be grateful to you for taking it off their hands. An alternative would be to keep an eye out by the side of the road, all too often car tyres are found dumped by the side of the road or down quiet country lanes, this way you’ll be doing your bit for the environment too.
Prepare The Tyre
You will need to deflate the tyre first, once this is done take a sharp stanley knife and carefully cut all the way around one of the tyre walls, right next to where the tyre tread meets the tyre wall.
Turning The Tyre Inside Out
Once you have cut the tyre turn the tyre and wheel rim over. Slip your fingers into the opening that you just cut and whilst placing one foot on the wheel rim start to turn the tyre inside out by pulling it towards you. This can take a little bit of time and energy, the more tyres you do the better your technique will become.
Now your car tyre planter is ready for painting. You can buy special tyre paints in a variety of colours but green, white or black tend to be the most popular choices. There is no need to paint the inside of the tyre as you will be adding plants in there. Just make sure you apply the paint to the entire exterior surface. Once the paint is dry just add soil and plants!
These are just two ideas for recycling and re-using everyday materials, there are many more ideas to try out but I hope that you give these a go. The barrel should save you lots of money on your water bills and the car tyre planter or planters will look amazing on your patio.