RePurpose | ReThink | ReCycle | ReGift?


This summer my MIL had a short stay in the hospital for knee surgery. Instead of the standard obligatory flowers or balloons I put together this basket of totally recycled products.

I was taught from an early age that whether you purchase or make a gift it should really reflect the person receiving it. And, in this time of economic crisis and since we have been "greenifying" our existence I thought you might enjoy seeing a gift that was a hit and cost me almost nothing to give. Not only that, it recycled many things that would ordinarily go right into the trash.

Here is a list of all that was in the basket:

3 magazines: all of these came to me as a subscription. This is the most significant recycled item in the basket. 4 million tons of tossed away magazines show up in our landfills every year. Magazines specifically are considered a ground and water contaminant because of the ink and page coating used in the printing process. Now, I am in love with magazines, the more the merrier, there is nothing like curling up on the couch with a new, glossy read BUT these are one of the most important things to recycle or reuse. Don't know what to do with your old mags? Here are some good options:

1. Donate to your local doctors offices, hospitals, or other waiting room areas (call first to make sure it is OK)
2. Donate to your local schools or art studios for projects, crafts, etc
3. create a swap with your friends, if you all get different subscriptions just rotate the magazines every couple of months. Then when you are done recycle or pass on to another

A good Chic-lit book. My MIL is a reader and a writer and typically reads novels that are much more "intellectually challenging" but sometimes when you are getting constantly interrupted and just need something fun and gripping to take your mind off what is happening around you, chic lit is the answer. This again was a recycle. It was a gift to me and I read it a few times. Books that sit on your bookshelf don't go bad. There is no shame in passing along a slightly read book to someone else. I suggest you look at paperbackswap or bookmooch for some great ways of swapping books and saving trees. Both of these swap sites are really good for kids books that they have lovingly read and outgrown.

Things to do: A sealed pack of cards. These were some that came from a hotel but have never been opened, again, a pass-on. The Internet is the mecca for printable activities. I printed some coloring pages (she is truly a kid at heart) and some Sudoku puzzles (all on the back side of some already printed paper). A couple of newly sharpened pencils and crayons from our enormous stash completed the activity kit. Best of all I included a set of hospital bingo cards that we generated using a free Bingo card site.

A few yummies: Those of you that have been in the hospital for any length of time know that you have virtually no control over what and when you eat. And, sometimes you just need a little something to take that metallic hospital taste out of your mouth. From our own kitchen I added a pack of gum, a "bouquet" of DumDums and a couple of organic Honest Kids Juice pouches. Just enough to change the taste in your mouth without a lot of calories.

Lastly, some silk flowers, container, and fill, all of which I had here at my house. Not only was the gift a hit but everyone felt good that we were responsible about money and the environment all at the same time.

What can you RePurpose, ReThink, and ReGift in a way that really honors the person you are giving it to?


Winnie,  August 3, 2009 at 11:08 AM  

Spectacular!!! And great ideas for recycling, too. Hope it was received in the samespirit it was given.

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