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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Repurposing and Energy Saving: a Fun Family Activity

Mar 31, 2013 05:21PM ● By Melissa Addison

Recycle, reduce, reuse, renew and repurpose. It’s more than a catchy bumper sticker slogan or even one the best ways to save the world; it is also a fun activity for young people that’s perfect for a family outing. Teaching children about the challenges of overflowing landfills and how to make a difference by repurposing items that would normally be discarded is a creative way for children to express themselves while learning about green issues.

Broken broaches are made into rings and bracelets. Beach shells make lovely picture frames and necklaces. A discarded floor model TV becomes a unique birdcage and an old, broken-down player piano gets new life as a patio bench. Add some scrap chain, and it becomes a porch swing. An old boot doubles as a flower pot or bird house. Kids get the chance to understand that everything doesn’t have to be new, and that purchasing a recycled item helps to stop the whole process of wasting valuable natural resources in manufacturing a new item when an existing one is readily available.

A visit to a flea market can also afford the opportunity for children to connect with their family history. Touring through the market gives parents a chance to share family memories, like grandmother's CorningWare and Depression glass. Collecting pieces to complete an inherited collection can help descendants see items as having more value than just their everyday utility.

Children can also learn that we are responsible stewards of the environment by the choices we make in our buildings. The FWB Flea Market is an example of how a environmentally conscious owner has instituted such energy saving mechanisms as energy-efficient light bulbs, high UV-blocking grade window tint that stops radiant sunshine from overheating the store and uses half as much power. the xeriscaping plants require no extra watering and are native to the area. Merchandise that requires electricity to run is only plugged in at one location to test for customers, so no electricity is leached out through “energy vampirism”. Showing the children how to conserve is also showing them how to serve.

Young people learn about repurposing and green practices when families shop in flea markets with their hearts and souls. The combination of reusing, renewing and repurposing goes along with reducing waste and consumption. The best part is watching the children use their imagination as they are inspired to create new ways of using old things. There is no conservation of creativity and fun.

Melissa Addison is the manager of the FWB Flea Market, 125 Eglin Pkwy, SE; a store that offers 14,000 square feet of indoor space for more than 70 vendors. For more information, call 850-301-3729 or visit

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