We all know by now that we should be recycling as much as possible--but are we using that principle to its full potential? As a lifelong green campaigner and environmental activist I'm passionate about recycling, and I've started this blog to talk a little more about all the little extras you can do. I'll be covering craft projects you can do with the kids, tips for starting and maintaining your own compost pile, ways to help your local recycling plant out with the way you put your rubbish in the recycling bin and tips for "upcycling" some of the things you throw away the most.
If you drink a lot of soft drinks, beer or other beverages in aluminium cans, you probably have a lot of recycling by the end of the week. Rather than throwing all your old cans into the recycling, you may want to consider upcycling. Here's a look at a few fun things you can do with old metal cans.
A metal can is the ideal size for small plants and succulents in particular. This is an especially great project is you have a limited edition can or a can from another country that you want to save. Simply, cut off the top of the can. Fill the can with dirt and put your plants in.
Make a window sill garden of your favourite herbs, housed in containers bearing your favourite brands of beer, or create a mini cacti garden for your kids out of their favourite soft drink cans. When the plants die, just rinse the metal, and throw it in the recycling.
2. Candle Holders
You can make fun candle holders out of old aluminium cans as well. Again, remove the top of the can using a hacksaw or a can opener. Then, leaving the top ring and the base of the can intact, make vertical cuts from the top to the bottom of the can.
When you gently press down on the top of the can, the metal strips should bend outward, and gaps should be revealed between all the metal strips. Put in a candle and enjoy.
3. Hanging Decorations
If you add a long string to the above decoration, you can hang the candle holder, but you can also use that design for other hanging decorations. For instance, skip the candles and make hanging decorations for your holiday tree.
Alternatively, make a nursery mobile for a baby. They will love the light bouncing off the metal. Hang it well out of their reach—metal can be sharp.
You don't necessarily have to use the whole aluminium can. Focus on little parts of the can that you like. That could be anything from an interesting colour to a letter in the brand name to a fun design.
Then, cut out that shape or around it—circles or ovals are the easiest for novices to work with. Punch a small hole in the charm and hang it from a necklace or bracelet. Then, recycle the rest of the metal.