Recycling has always been a central tenet in the garden, composting being an obvious example – we haven’t bought a plastic bag of compost for 2 years – simply using what we have made.
Pallet wood is invariably a starting point for our woodworking projects, and so many features in the garden are created by things people have passed on, be it paving slabs left over from projects, unwanted garden ornaments and our tool shed is full of secondhand donations.
Even our greenhouse from Alitex was recycling at its finest – having been a display model for 10 years before we were lucky enough to receive it.
Therefore when we started receiving coffee sacks from Alchemy Coffee we were delighted. We started creating a list of uses in the knowledge that they were going to keep on coming.
In the garden we are using them to store perennial weeds whilst they are soaking in our recycled wheelie bins for 8 weeks under water. After this time liquid is drained from the bottom tap we have drilled in, this is used as a liquid fertiliser and the sacks are then emptied into the general compost system.
We are using them for storing harvested potatoes, onions and leaf mould, for lining hanging baskets, making ugly things more aesthetically pleasing by dressing them in Hessian, and for sitting on when the garden seats are cold.
Then Jude and Vanessa, our crafting planners saw them!
The sacks have been cut down into drawstring bags, giving people an opportunity to learn sewing machine skills. Cut into strips – frayed at the edges and used to form the bows of our newly styled Christmas Sprays. Rolled and filled as draught excluders and used to make Christmas Present sacks.
Because the supply is ongoing, we have been able to let our volunteers design their own aprons, Christmas stockings, floor cushions, and various other creations at home.
The recycling and no-waste focus has extended into our Christmas planning!
We are not using Oasis rings this year in our wreaths – all our displays will be naturally biodegradable, and our table decorations are in beautiful old terracotta pots.
Tea light candle holders will be drilled in scavenged birch – or hardwoods from offcuts of kitchen worktops. We have denim draught excluders created from the legs of old jeans – the top pocket section has been used to make aprons, and Christmas gnomes made from socks.
Our eco-friendly Christmas event will be on Saturday 10th December from 11am to 2pm, pop the date in your diary and keep an eye on our social media for more details.