Have you ever stopped to think of what happens to some everyday items, only meant for one use, after you use them? Things that could be used again but really aren't because of what they are. Such as the bar of hand soap in the hotel you last stayed at. (Would you use a bar of soap a stranger used? Probably not). Or the bottles your spaghetti sauce comes in. (Sure, they are glass and can be recycled, but there are so many uses for them!). Or the crayons your kids coloured with at the restaurant you went to over the weekend. Most kids probably wouldn't mind colouring with used crayons but I guess there is just a "thing" about using new crayons over those that are worn down and have the paper peeled off.
One dad dug a little deeper to find out what happens to restaurant crayons after they were used once and when he found out, he decided to do something that will make you smile. He created the Crayon Initiative. Take a look:
Amazing and inspiring.
While taking on a project of that size may not be possible for all of us, there are small-scale things we can all do in our homes. All it takes is a little creative thinking. And maybe a little help from Pinterest! Here are some upcycling project ideas for things that may otherwise end up in the trash bin.
Wine Cork Trivets
Collect those wine corks and make something useful for your kitchen.
DIY notebooks made out of cereal boxes
I could hardly tell these were made out of cereal boxes. They really look like expensive notebooks bought from a stationery store. This is a project I've added to my list.
T-Shirt Latch Hook Rug
T-Shirts that are not suitable for donation are a perfect candidate for this project.
DIY Hot and Cold Packs
No need to buy these in the store anymore. All you need is an old shirt, rice, scissors and a needle and thread!
Old Shutters to Magazine Rack
Wooden Spoon Bird Feeder
This is a good one to get the kids to help out with. Not only will they enjoy making it, they'll enjoy seeing the birds come to visit.
Old, Used Crayons Get New Life
Upcycle your own crayons by melting them down and turning them into new fun-shaped crayons.
From Food Jars Into Functional Dispensers
Those spaghetting sauce jars I mentioned above? Turn them (or any other suitable food jar) into a soap or lotion dispenser for the bathroom.
DIY Sweatshirt Pet Bed
Your pet will love this bed because it will be made from one of your old sweatshirts. It's dual purpose because it will comfort him while you are away.
Have you ever upcycled something that would have been considered garbage?
When you think of a car that runs on diesel, what are the first three things that come to mind? For me, it was: loud, expensive, and smoky.
For the most part, my thoughts were not positive and they were all based on past experiences with a high school classmate's diesel car. Her diesel car was what drove us all around during lunch hours and after school — and it was all of the things listed above and more. While I thought it was cool (and I was envious!) that a classmate even had a car to begin with, I had my mind made up that I would never buy a car that ran on diesel. Even though I'd like to think that high school was not so long ago...it kinda was, so that thinking was held for a very long time. It was only after I had the opportunity to test drive the 2015 Chevy Cruze Turbo Diesel that my mind was changed — for good.
I've written about some of the things GM and Chevrolet have been doing to make their cars more eco-friendly, so going into the week long test drive, I already knew my thinking was out of date. After all, it had been so long ago, things had to have changed. And they have.
I did find the Cruze Diesel to be a little bit louder than a gas fueled car (and there is a good explanation for why this is the case) but other than that, there were very few differences I found when driving this car. The major thing between driving this car and a gas fueled car was that when it was time to fill up, I had to drive up to the diesel pump and not the regular one. That's it.
So...what is so great and eco-friendly about driving the Cruze Diesel or any other diesel car?
The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel in particular is the most efficient non-hybrid passenger car in Canada (it has about 9 percent greater efficiency than the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, its closest competitor).
Chevy also manufactures a gasoline powered Cruze ECO (which is another smart green choice). The ECO is made eco-friendly mostly by the materials it is built with and the way it is designed. When compared to the ECO, the Diesel will give you 8.7 L/100 km when city driving and 5.1 L/100 km when highway driving. The ECO will give you 8.4 L/100 km in the city and 5.6 L/100 km out on the highway.
The price difference between comparable gas/diesel Vehicles is about $1700. Have a look at this comparison chart to see how similar cars in this class stack up against the Cruze Diesel.
The Cruze Diesel also has dashboard tools to help you determine how fuel efficient the car is based on your driving habits.
Diesel cars today must follow strict standards so they produce low sulpher and less CO2. Specific to the Cruze Diesel (but not all diesel cars), the Cruze features a Diesel Exhaust Fuel system (DEF) and its purposes is to further neutralize contaminants and make the Cruze Diesel a cleaner burning car. This of course, makes it more eco-friendly.
When it comes to other maintenance, there is no real difference between the a diesel car and any other car. It will of course have a maintenance schedule you will need to pay attention to (as with all other vehicles), but other than that, no special maintenance and unusual procedures to be done.
When at the pumps, you may have noticed that diesel is much cheaper than regular gas.
Here was the difference the day I filled up:
If power is something important to you (it should be!), then you will be pleased to know that a diesel vehicle will give you more horsepower (engine power) and torque (turning power) which equals better performance overall. The Cruze Diesel will give you 151 @ 4,000 rpm horsepower and 264 @ 2,600 rpm of torque. To compare, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI offers 150 @ 3,500 rpm horsepower and 236 @ 1,750 rpm of torque and the Cruze ECO will give you 138 @ 4,900 rpm horsepower and 148 @ 1,850 rpm torque.
My mind has definitely been changed when it comes to diesel cars, thanks to the Chevy Cruze Turbo Diesel. I would consider purchasing one when the time comes since it is very obvious that diesel vehicles have changed since my high school days (thankfully!).