I recently shared a challenge my friend Kelly and her family undertook to reduce the amount of trash they send to the landfill with Grandma Caca. Well, it got my Mom and I talking about the amount of waste generated by her need for sterile, single-use medical supplies (she wears a trach to breathe). Each month she gets a shipment of individually boxed supplies for daily care. The oft repeated mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle doesn’t exactly fit the bill here…there’s no way to reduce the amount needed since it’s a daily requirement for living (short of a home sterilizer which I’m not sure even exists) and recycling medical “waste” won’t work either. What’s really unfortunate is the amount of stuff in one box that goes unused due to my Mom’s regimen of care. She doesn’t use the pipe cleaners and twine opting for a velcro system that’s more comfortable so, they were presented to me with a “can you use these?”
It took me all of two seconds to reply - of course! Pipe cleaners are a ubiquitous craft material for the pre-school crowd! So far we’ve used them for a textural painting too, a stem for tissue paper flowers and most recently, as a ring for my fashion-obsessed toddler (seriously, is this kid really mine?) I snatched up the the plastic trays that the trach-care kits are packed in and I was delighted to find they fit PERFECTLY in the easel’s tray. The kits are also packed with a sterile drape my Mom doesn’t use so Claire wears these an an apron (held on with two of the twine ties). The drapes are coated with plastic on one side making a great splash guard for water play.
So that’s our small way to reuse some of these materials. Any other ideas???
And yes, before you ask, I let my child dress herself today. I think the boots and flipped up hat make her look like a sweet bohemian painter, heehee.
PS – This great painting will be turning into wrapping paper. We’ve layered more “art” on it each day and I think it will be so cute to see some presents wrapped up with Claire prints all over them! I think we’ll use this special paper for gifts Claire is giving to her younger cousins this year!