Sunday, October 30, 2011

Survival Skills - Conserving Resources in a Crisis

Learning to be innovative in the use of your available resources can be accomplished in several different ways. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to become innovative when your resources may be limited. Learning to save those items which can still be used in a functional manner will only make it easier if you are forced into a situation where you may have limited resources.

Alternate uses for items are sometimes readily apparent when you are considering whether to discard or save an item. At other times, they won’t exhibit a functional quality for alternate use. Not because it isn’t there but more likely because the need may not be.

Perhaps it’s an empty jar that’s suitable for use in canning or it may simply be an old pair of boot laces that can be used as cordage. These are just a couple of examples of alternate uses that are easy to recognize. Many uses are not as easy to recognize. The old saying “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” often comes into play when your needs become critical.

Giving a little extra thought to the possibilities for the use of an item will sometimes help you to see an alternate use that is totally different from its original purpose. That old t-shirt can become cordage, a signal flag, and an emergency sling for a broken arm or gun cleaning patches. That old pair of boots suddenly becomes leather for making a sheath for your knife. An empty jar or can becomes a lamp or candle holder. While different from their original use, it still allows them to be used for a functional purpose in order to solve a need.

Always take the time to ask yourself this simple question before you discard an item.

Can it serve a useful purpose in a similar or different manner to solve a need?

Got recycled items for survival?

Staying above the water line!



SciFiChick said...

I'm one of those folks who can't toss out "trash". I figure that someday I just might need it. Jars of all kinds, even the plastic ones, coffee cans, etc.

Thom said...

This is something that really is great to see addressed. When I was a kid, my Grandfather had all sorts of "junk" that he would get from the gullies around his county where people would just dump their trash. One of our biggest problems these days is that nobody actually repairs things any longer. Everything we buy, from TVs to dishes, is disposable in the eyes of the masses. It's great to see people, even if it is just the prepping community, getting back to reutilizing and repurposing rather than just tossing their "useless" items. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this informative post. In case you haven't heard, Recyclebank has just teamed up with Greenopolis! Now you can earn both Recyclebank and Greenopolis points everytime you recycle. Check out this video-- I learned about the news here.

riverwalker said...

To: SciFiChick

Recycling is a great way to learn how to conserve your resources. This can be really helpful if you find yourself in a situation where you may have to make do with available resources or wind up doing without.



riverwalker said...

To: Thom

In a society of consumers, it's way to easy to dispose of something simply because the effort and cost to repair an item is often more than its apparent value. Sometimes the value is still there but hasn't been utilized because we don't take the time to see additional value or use that may be there.

Thanks Thom.


riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 3:07

My main goal in my recycling efforts is to make sure I get as much value as possible from an item before it gets trashed. While this may not always be possible, any additional use that can be obtained from what may otherwise wind up as a discarded item keeps me ahead of the curve when it comes to the cost of items being used.

Thanks anon.


millenniumfly said...

Unfortunately, this is something I'm just not good at. Maybe I will get a bit more creative when I really need to.

riverwalker said...

To: milleniumfly

Under normal circumstances, it may not be very practical to save everything. Limited storage space and a lack of immediate need can be a big factor in re-using certain items.

It is also a possibility that you may not need that item for a pretty good while.



Josh said...

"I'm one of those folks who can't toss out "trash". I figure that someday I just might need it."

There's a show on A&E about this - it's called Hoarders!

I would agree, to some extent, that you should examine what you’re throwing out and see if it still has some, or alternate, use left in it. But you need to be careful. My mother was terrible about throwing things away, even if there was only the slightest chance that it would come in useful. Consequently, she had boxes of things like old AC adapters that no longer went to anything (but just might fit something)! Having seen what she did to the basement of the house I grew up in, I would strongly caution that before anyone try to keep something just because it might be useful sometime in the future, seriously question whether it will be useful, or try to balance the likelihood that it will be used against the likelihood that it’s just going to take up space.

riverwalker said...

To: Josh

Excellent point Josh.

You have to be careful to make sure it has a definitive use or will definitely be needed. A good rule of thumb is to check items on a regular basis and do a little "spring cleaning" each year.

Chances are pretty good that you don't need it if you haven't used it in a year. If so, trash it to avoid wasting valuable storage space.

Thanks Josh.


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