A street sweeping brush being used as a back scratcher.
Raising horses is not a new concept to most of the world. Over the centuries new products and new ideas have been born that have advanced the ranching industry. Using repurposed materials to complete tasks previously done by expensive equipment is most definitely a new idea.
Repurposing is the idea to take one product and turn it around and use it for a different purpose, without changing it a large amount. It is not recycling, which has gotten all the buzz since the 1970s. Recycling requires huge amounts of energy to melt, grind, chip, or shred a waste stream into a useable feedstock to be used as a raw material to manufacture something new. With repurposing, byproducts and waste get a second life because they have value "as is."
Every year, 7.6 billion tons of nonhazardous industrial trash ends up in landfills. When industrial products are no longer needed, they can be given a new use around the farm and ranch.
Advertising vinyl Repurposed
Advertising vinyl is used to cover hay
In its first life, an advertising vinyl is hung on a billboard printed with a picture of Ronald McDonald or the Walmart star burst. In its second life, it can be a compost or hay covering. This vinyl is a tough, durable fabric that is definitely a creative way to keep your livestock’s next meal covered.
Street Sweeping Brushes
Once used to sweep the junk off streets, these large brushes are a unique and slightly strange product that has and can be repurposed for the care horses. Brushes can be placed vertically in the ground to serve as backscratchers for the animals. It’s unusual, but the oddity of this idea makes it no less effective.
Conveyor belts Repurposed
Conveyor belts are being used as stall paneling
Rubber Belts and Tiles
Rubber conveyor belts can be used as flooring in barns or stables. Roofing membrane, another rubber material, can be used as a silage pit cover. Rubber playground tiles can also be repurposed in a similar way, as padding on the floors or walls of your horses’ stalls.
SAVING MONEY AND THE PLANET
Traditional maintenance tools can be extremely expensive. The thing about repurposed materials being used in place of new products and machines is that they are much cheaper, but no less effective. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” And by spending your money on repurposed materials instead of brand new products for your horse’s care, you can save yourself that penny.
Repurposing isn’t just good for your wallet, it’s also good for the planet, keeping tons of waste out of landfills, and keeping Earth livable for a little longer. These products may be strange and unusual, but that is part of what makes repurposing an interesting and successful process.
Aubrey Rhoadarmer is a freelance journalist for Repurposed Materials. The company, based in Denver, Colorado, specializes in finding industrial and marketing materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill, and repurposes them at low cost. They have distributed several products that can help any rancher advance the care of horses. www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com