A Sprinkling of Recycling Ideas
You and your trusty garden hose have been through a lot of watering this season, and now it’s showing signs of wear. Garden hoses are tricky to recycle, as they contain mixed materials such as rubber, plastic and metal fittings. You can end up wasting a lot of water if your garden hose is worn out or leaky, so it’s a good idea to see if you still have your sales receipt and if your hose is under warranty.
With a leaky hose but no warranty, you can try and fix it with a complete hose repair set that is easy to use and install. Replacement parts may be the answer for a simple fix, and include parts such as washers, nozzles, hose end sprinklers, or Teflon tape to secure the seals of the hose ends to prevent dripping.
Beyond replace or repair, the remaining material that comprises your hose is meant to be durable so there’s ways to reuse it.
- Cover the chains on your swings or the wire handle of a bucket. Fashion the length of the hose down the chain of a swing or a wire handle of a bucket to act as a grip and padding to protect your hands.
- Poke some holes into old garden hose and transform it into a sprinkler hose. Just connect the other end of the hose to a rain barrel and lay it alongside plants. Read up on how to conserve and recycle rain water and utilize rain barrels. Tip: Planting shrubs and flowers in your lawn that are native to your region means that they will require less water and maintenance, particularly if you live in an arid, drier habitat.
- If you’re feeling crafty, you can make your own wreath out of an old garden hose using these instructions from Crafty Gardener.
Also check out furniture maker and artist Chase DeForest who repurposes garden hoses into cool looking garden chairs and baskets. Formally trained in sculpture, her shop is based out of Colorado, and her work incorporates other salvaged material. Photo right: courtesy of Chase DeForest
Is Your Hose Toxic?
Should you drink or fill your pet’s water bowl from a hose? The inside of a hose has conditions for bacteria to grow, plus if you’re not using organic gardening practices, there could also be pesticide or fertilizer residue on the hose. The best practice is to look for labels that specify a hose is safe for drinking water when you’re buying a replacement. These hoses are made from medical-grade plastic resin, or have nickel plating over the brass fittings that prevents lead from contaminating the water.
Talk about getting hosed- some hoses come with a label warning that materials in the hose have been linked to causing cancer. Hose plastic may contain trace amounts of lead, and brass fittings at the ends also often contain lead. As was just mentioned, choose hoses with nickel plating on the ends to ensure no harmful substances transfer from the hose. Other hoses tend to be made of PVC, which studies have also shown links to toxicity. It’s your responsibility to find out about chemicals in your home and make educated choices regarding alternatives to PVC.
Buy Recycled Garden Hoses
Create a market demand for recycling and help close the recycling loop with your consumer choices. You can find hoses made from at least 50% recycled polyurethane that are perfect for use by any homeowner or gardener. This means safe water for your family, pets and flowers! There are also soaker hoses made from recycled rubber.
There are other benefits of buying a recycled hose besides reducing the need for new materials. For example, your recycled hose could be up to 2 times lighter than leading garden hoses. Other handy features to look for if you need to purchase a new hose include:
- UV protective coating that will prolong its useful life
- Made in the USA
The GatorHyde garden hose is made with 50% recycled materials, is very tough so it may not need to be replaced as often, is drinking water safe, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Finally, if you’re looking for an attractive way to store your recycled hose, try a weather-resistant recycled aluminum hose holder.