For many people one roadblock to beginning a project is the start up capital. Often times people think of creative & inspiring community projects but just can't quite come up with the funding. In this case you often have to go back to the drawing board or split the project up into smaller more frugal sections.
One way to sidestep the issue of finding the funds is to use the resources that you have available. While these resources may not be enough to get a project off the ground they can take a bite out of the budget and help sustain the project long term.
Here in North America we have a consumer culture that has led to a trash boom. There are lots of things that we throw out that can be reused for art, gardening or community projects.
Some examples include:
Compost – Wasted food is a huge problem today - both Canada and the US throw out approximately 40 per cent of the food they grow. Most of the food ends up in landfills where the lack of oxygen prevents it from decomposing. And that is wasted potential. People then go out and spend huge amounts on chemical fertilizers which could be supplemented or fully replaced with home grown compost. If you don’t have your own composter, a neighbour may be able to take some of that good green stuff off your hands. Schools are also getting into the swing of gardening and many have composters on site. Also many farmers at your local farmers markets may be more than happy to take your compostable scraps. One of our favourite local vendors takes carrot tops to feed her goats.
Styrofoam plates – These often come with meat and as such people tend to think they’re kind of gross. But I promise that is nothing a little hot water and soap can’t fix. These plates are great for crafts and can be carved into stamps like linoleum. I was involved in a community project where a group of kids each made a stamp and then stamped each others projects. The pieces couldn’t be completed without every student’s help. What a cool way to encourage interaction & creativity.
Tin cans – We used empty beer cans cut in half to grow our seedlings last year and they worked really well as you can see above. I’ve seen people repurpose tin cans as stamped votive holders and thematic garlands.
Empty jars – It’s the new trend to drink out of these babies but if you’re happy with your stemware empty jars are great repurposed as pencil holders, toothbrush holders, anything holders really. And they’re also great as plastic-free Tupperware and can go right from fridge to microwave (just don’t forget the lid). Below you can see how we used an empty candle and a honey jar in our bathroom and two jam jars in our kitchen. There are also a huge amount of pinterest projects for empty jars.