Recycling for Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency

By Darcy | Nov 13, 2010

I’m a natural born scrounger. I’ve always seen opportunity and possibilities in a pile of junk. It’s almost an obsession – my only vice  :)

Even before recycling became fashionable I was out there sifting through piles of junk while friends tried desperately to merge with the landscape and become invisible in order to not be seen with me.

Scrounging for useful junk and recycling that junk into useful stuff is, for me, a key element of being self-sufficient-ish. It’s not just about saving money, it’s also about reducing consumption for sustainability. Why buy new materials when recycled does the job? Saving the embodied energy in discarded products, especially metal objects with their high energy inputs, makes a very significant contribution to sustainability.

An old truck differential/axle assembly and discarded windmill are “re-birthed” as a wind-generator. After a few minor teething troubles this windmill to wind generator conversion went on to perform reliably for several years (at least) until we sold the property.

wind-generator from old windmill and truck axle

An old trampoline frame covered with recycled chicken-wire re-birthed as a movable chicken run for young chicks.
Old top-loading washing machine cabinets make great stackable cages for poultry – often the lid will function as the door – hinged and ready to go!

Not shown in the photo is a small door in the chicken wire to enable access to the chicken pen. The pen is amazingly light and can be moved onto fresh ground very easily. Not shown also is the bottom of the washing machine cabinet now covered in recycled chicken-wire. The camera-shy hen and chickens are hiding behind the cage door.

When we bought the property we’re now on the previous owner offered to have the farm’s dump cleaned up; old vehicles and machinery crushed and taken away because he saw it as a possible impediment to the sale. I saw the dump as a resource and insisted, much to the seller’s  delight, that the junk MUST stay!

Have you got any recycling or re-birthing success stories or tips? I’d like to hear them and so would other readers.

Clinton Says Haiti Should Become Self-Sufficient

By Darcy | Jun 30, 2010

Here’s a case of “do what we say, not what we do”… Former US President, Bill Clinton in his role as United Nations special envoy has urged aid groups to rebuild the country’s government and put them on track as a self-sufficient nation.

Did Bill try to sell the idea [...] Continue Reading…

Self Sufficiency an Expensive Luxury

By Darcy | Jun 26, 2010

I’ve had my work cut out for me lately, we’ve moved and I’ve been flat-out trying to set up our new 40 acre block as a self-sufficient farm. It’s a whole “family community” enterprise and while we’re all excited about the longer term potential, the workload and expense has [...] Continue Reading…

Un-Sustainable Rise Of Complexity and Bureaucracy

By Darcy | Aug 16, 2008

“Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work.”
– Albert Einstein

Bureaucracy irritates me, I mean REALLY <blanky> irritates me. All my friends hate bureaucracy. All my family hates bureaucracy. In fact, everyone I’ve ever mentioned the word bureaucracy to hates bureaucracy! If so many of us (seemingly all of us) [...] Continue Reading…

Patents for DIY Self-Sufficiency Projects

By Darcy | Aug 6, 2008

As a fabricator, I’m constantly looking online for input, ideas or even working plans for my self-sufficient living projects. One of the best sources of information I’ve found are the various patent sites.
The other day I downloaded a patent for an efficient wood heater. The drawings were detailed enough [...] Continue Reading…

Consumerism and Sustainable Job Creation

By Darcy | Aug 3, 2008

There are very few humans currently living on planet earth that would dare claim that everything is rosy with our system. Yet we’ve had a hundred years – a whole century of rapid developments in mechanization, technological advance and social tinkering which promised to deliver a better world. One [...] Continue Reading…

Affordable, Sustainable Housing Made Illegal!

By Darcy | Jul 18, 2008

I came by a recent copy of the Warwick local newspaper and was appalled to see the headline story was an unveiled threat by local council to vigorously pursue shire residents who were “living illegally” in sheds and other unapproved dwellings.

Local council crackdowns on non-approved dwellings are nothing new. [...] Continue Reading…

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