Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…containers, flowers and more!

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Reduce, Reuse, Reclaim, Recycle…. a mantra that has entered my psyche whether its working on this blog, figuring out what to use that we already have around the house, or what we need to part with when organizing our yard sale.

Our family makes an effort to be good stewards of the environment, and to that end we pay some prices that are not always dollars and cents. For example, I may be embarrassed on more than one occasion at the number of bottles clanking around our recycling bin on pickup day…(no, it’s not all wine bottles, thank you!) but we still make a concerted effort to recycle as much as possible.

We also hold an annual yard sale for those cast-off items that no longer warrant a coveted spot in the Bryan family collections, (yes, that means you Highlander gear, Backstreet Boys CD’s and Pokemon cards). It is of paramount importance to me and my family to make sure they all find new homes either in another family’s house, or via donations to Goodwill.

I am not going to lie, it would be easier to toss everything in the landfill. It’s a huge amount of work that I’m not a fan of, but I feel like its a significantly better way to deal with all the stuff and, at the end of the day, I feel good about my contribution to recycling efforts.  So where I am going with all of this talk?

When it comes to this flower business (hobby) that I immerse myself in, I am fully on board with the efficiencies, cost savings and plain old good sense of the 4 R’s. That is, to reduce, reuse, reclaim and recycle.


You may have noticed already that I tend to use containers more than once…. its in part because I really like certain containers, but its also because I already have it, and don’t need to buy another thing! When a seasonal arrangement goes by the wayside, you can rest assured that I am deconstructing the arrangement for things that can be used again the next day, next week or next year.


For example, this week I took apart the holiday wreaths we wrote about four weeks ago and held onto the metal frame, the bows, and the adornments while composting the greens for use in the spring. If you have the storage space, I encourage you to do that as well….it saves money, it saves the earth….the list goes on.

I learned in my first flower class that every growing thing has a real purpose and better yet a PLACE somewhere in an arrangement (often more than one), and that place is most definitely not in the trash.


You may also have noticed that in many of my arrangements I make a “spotlight” example, and then share an additional “bonus” arrangement. I do this because I can’t bear to throw those little pieces and blooms away without first trying to make something smaller. I was so grateful to have those feelings validated when I took a flower class last fall, and the instructor reinforced that point. Thanks Sarah!


There is one part of the flower arranging supply list that I haven’t quite figured out how to reuse…and that is Oasis. It’s not reusable, and it’s not recycle-able either, but I do try and minimize when I use it.

Plus, I’m always searching for an alternative product to use. That is one reason I was so excited to learn how to do a hand-tied bouquet (above)…. no Oasis, just a rubber band. On that note, if you use something else, and feels its more environmentally friendly, I want to hear about it. Comment below with the name and how you use it!

Here are a few shots (including some you have seen before), where I reused, reclaimed, re-purposed or recycled elements of previous work to create something new.


The most recent example is from last week’s house plants post…. I talked about the ivy plant that I have in my bathroom, well, it originated in a holiday post (above) about poinsettia….I’m tellin’ you, nothing goes to waste!


For your reference, there are several varieties of long lasting blooms that will hold up well over several arrangements. If you go with hardy bloomers like carnation, Asiatic lily, mums, thistle, and greens in general like lemon leaf, rosemary, Italian ruscus you will surely get some mileage out of your flower investment.

jbryanReduce, Reuse, Recycle…containers, flowers and more!