With Mother’s Day and summer vacation both fast approaching, it’s time to think about craft ideas for children and families. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encourages Floridians and visitors to think green when creating art projects this year by finding new uses for recyclables and unused items around the house.
“Holidays and vacations are perfect times to get the family together for fun projects that instill values about protecting our natural resources,” said Mary Jean Yon, Director of DEP’s Division of Waste Management. “We encourage all Florida residents and visitors to find creative ideas that will inspire you to reduce, reuse and recycle as you work on arts and crafts.”
Turn trash and unused items into artsy, inexpensive playthings or gifts by using the following ideas to give them a second life.
1. Create greeting cards and gift boxes with a personal touch by re-using gift boxes, ribbons and larger pieces of wrapping and tissue paper. Reuse of one ton of paper saves 17 mature trees.
2. Make a birdfeeder out of a plastic soda bottle. Reuse of one ton of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic containers can save more than seven cubic yards of landfill space.
3. Make herb pots using aluminum cans. Reuse of one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours.
4. Create a jewelry catch-all or wedding table centerpiece using teapot saucers and glasses. Glass makes up more than two percent of Florida’s landfills so reusing it in your home will help keep that percentage at bay.
5. Create attractive envelopes using outdated calendars. Reuse of paper instead of making it from new material reduces air pollution by 74 percent and reduces water consumption by 50 percent.
To increase recycling throughout Florida, last summer Governor Charlie Crist signed into law the Energy, Climate Change, and Economic Security Act of 2008 which establishes a new statewide recycling goal of 75 percent to be achieved by 2020. Within the law DEP is directed to develop a program to achieve this goal and submit it to the Florida Legislature for consideration by January 1, 2010. For more information on the new statewide recycling goal of 75 percent, and to share your comments on ways to achieve this goal and view comments from others on our web-based forum, visit
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