Spring is the season to reset, reorganize, and refresh. But before you grab some trash bags and begin tossing everything, take a moment to consider some more sustainable options for your spring purge.
Yes, some of these take a bit more time, and believe me, as a mom of an infant and preschooler I am all about saving time. But along with helping the environment, these sustainable options can enhance your happiness and wellbeing, and your bank account too.
While I’m not an expert, I’ve been interested in minimalism and sustainable living for several years, and I’ve picked up some tips and lessons along the way. I recruited Fishers Ambassadors Amanda Merriweather and Kelly Yale, who are both interested in minimalism and sustainability, to help me create a sustainable spring cleaning guide so you can tidy up while reducing your carbon footprint.
As you refresh your home, yard, office, or vehicle this season, consider these options before you toss.
My family has been composting for several years now, and I admit I was intimidated to get started. But it’s actually been incredibly easy and very rewarding. In combination with recycling, it is amazing how little trash we have each week—it typically takes us a month or so to fill up our garbage bin.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines compost as “organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow.” Composting allows you to create your own “super soil” (just ask my vegetable garden) and helps your soil to retain moisture while suppressing plant disease and pests. According to the EPA, food scraps and yard waste combined make up more than 30% of what is thrown away, while these materials could be composted instead.
We compost many of our food scraps (like vegetable and fruit peels, eggshells, and nut shells) as well as our daily tea bags, coffee grounds, and coffee filters. We have a small container on our kitchen counter that we use to collect our daily scraps and empty it into our compost pile each evening. We have an outdoor compost pile (make sure you have a dry, shady spot) but if outdoor space is limited, but you can also get a composting bin to use indoors instead.
Doing some spring gardening or landscaping? Instead of tossing your leaves, plant trimmings, wood chips, and grass clippings in the trash, add them to your compost pile. Home construction project? Compost your sawdust. Did you know you can even compost dryer lint and fireplace ashes? Along with enriching your own soil, composting reduces methane emissions from landfills and shrinks your carbon footprint. Learn more and composting basics and the benefits here.
Upcycle & Repurpose
Breathe new life into your items by upcycling or repurposing them. Search the term “upcycle” on Pinterest and you will find no shortage of inspiration. Transform old shoes into a whimsical planter, create a kid’s piggy bank out of a mason jar, or make a tealight holder with a kitchen whisk. You can also upcycle items from your backyard. I used twigs for a decorative piece for my daughter’s nursery, and Fishers Ambassador Amanda Merriweather created a minimalist style branch for a unique home décor piece.
Amanda, a mom of four, recommends Recycle & Play on Instagram for ideas for upcycling activities for kids. One of her favorite items to upcycle are paper towel rolls, which are easy to collect and can be used for so many fun activities. “We’ve used them as painting tools, making binoculars, crafting animals, as birdfeeders, windmills, space rockets, sensory tubes, and so much more,” explains Amanda.
If crafts aren’t your thing, that’s OK too. There are so many practical, everyday was you can repurpose old items. My husband is amazing at this. He has repurposed old electrical wires to hang picture frames, torn clothing into cleaning rags, and a water softening salt storage container and into a barrel to store shovels and rakes. He creates fire starters for our wood-burning fireplace out of a paper egg carton, leftover candle wax, and dryer lint. Recently, he combined several partially used cans of paint to repaint the inside of our garage. It was a great way to use the leftover paint in an area that we didn’t care as much about—and the dark grey color turned out great!
If you don’t have recycling available through your trash service, you can take items to the Hamilton Household Hazardous Waste Center or take advantage of The City of Fishers’ Spring City Recycling Day.
Recycle your electronics, metal items, hazardous waste, and more with the City’s Spring City Recycling Day on Saturday, April 10 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Billericay Park (12690 Promise Road, Fishers). Find a list of accepted items here.
I’ve gotten into reselling items over the past year, and it’s been a great way to earn some extra money. A popular option (especially in the spring) is to host garage sale, which can be a great way to get rid of a lot of items at once without too much effort. I primarily sell online through sites like Facebook Marketplace and Poshmark— other popular sites include Ebay, Mercari, and thredUP. While it does make more time to photograph, list, and arrange pickup or ship items, I’m able to get more money for my items than I would through a garage sale.
You can also sell items through local shops and consignment stores. Amanda recommends Once Upon a Child. “They accept items all year round, so I like to gather all the kids’ out of season items to sell and while I wait to see how much I’ll be getting back I’ll browse the racks for replacement pieces to swap at the end,” says Amanda.
With these five alternatives to throwing items away, you can reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive impact during April Sustainability Month. Want to learn more about the City’s monthlong Keep Fishers Beautiful celebration? Visit ThisIsFishers.com/KFB.
Stephanie Perry is the Assistant Director of Public Relations of the City of Fishers. Born and raised in Fishers, Stephanie graduated from HSE in 2006 and is now raising her kids in her childhood home in West Fishers, which she purchased from her parents when they moved. She loves supporting the local small business community, running on Fishers’ trails, and spending time at Conner Prairie with her family (Headless Horsemen and A Merry Prairie Holiday are family favorites!). Stephanie and her husband enjoy getting outdoors and spending time camping, hiking, and boating. Stephanie has enjoyed watching her city grow over the past few decades and loves the assets and amenities that the community provides, from the parks and special events to the array of restaurants and shops.