Do you want to save money? Own one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture and decorations that have character? Live in a sustainable, earth-friendly manner? Eco-friendly design and practices have become very prevalent in recent years, encouraging everyone to reuse, recycle and not waste resources.
You can start small and work your way up to bigger projects. With a conscious effort, endeavors like trying to create no garbage during the day or reusing materials in creative ways will benefit the earth and keep you from going broke. MUSE offers a couple of ways to make your life a little more green.
“Eco-design has been around a long time: Our ancestors practiced eco-design as a matter of necessity,” design professor Ann Savageau said in an e-mail. “The term ‘eco-design‘ first appeared in the 1970s, but it didn’t become widespread until the last decade. Now eco-design/green design is everywhere.“
There are a number of very basic, cheap and easy ways to live a little more eco-friendly.
“[These changes] are not glamorous and seem simple, but they result in significant energy and resource savings,” Savageau said.
Some of these changes may seem old and heavily talked up, but they really can save money. Turning off lights when you leave a room, turning off the water while you brush your teeth, recycling, composting and turning down the thermostat when you’re out are all small but effective changes.
There are other practices such as buying eco-friendly textiles, bringing your own bag to the grocery store, or using LED or CFL light bulbs that are very common but valid suggestions.
Almost all materials can not only be reused but also turned into something extremely unique. Eco-friendly interior design gives a whole new meaning to DIY, really challenging people’s crafty and creative sides. Broken dishes can become an elegant chandelier, bicycle tires can become arm rests and lamps and couches can be infused with new life.
The Davis Waste Removal Center on 2727 2nd St. has bulky item drop-off days a couple times each year. On these days, large items such as couches, tables, lamps and lawn furniture are accepted and can be scavenged at no charge. These types of materials can be reclaimed, refurbished, repainted and ultimately reused.
“When one runs across this derelict old table or chair, one could go get surplus materials and dress up that item, or paint it, or do something to make it work in a new life,” emeritus design professor Gyöngy Laky said.
Eco-friendly design has become a very popular and competitive field.
“It’s hot. It’s the cutting edge. It’s really what everybody’s talking about,” said Kerrie Kelly, interior designer and owner of All American Design and Furnishings, Inc.
Kelly is an example of how using reclaimed items can be both kind to the earth and very sophisticated. In the spirit of what she calls “eco-chic,” Kelly is designing furniture using recycled glass, copper and woods with beautiful flourishes that are environmentally conscious at the same time.
These forms of creative recycling use materials that would have otherwise been thrown in a landfill or sent out to the oceans.
“Plastics and things like that have chemicals in them which are very damaging to our ground water and to the soil,” Laky said. “Not only have we taken these materials and not figured out how to keep them as good resources but we’re also putting them into the landfill and damaging other natural resources we have.“
ELENA BUCKLEY can be reached at email@example.com.