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5 Gallon Bucket Book – DIY Projects

5gallonbucketbookThe common 5 Gallon Bucket is useful for so many things after it’s initial use. We have been building water filters, clothes washers, and composting toilets, but there’s a whole lot more you can do with this everyday object. Chris Peterson has written a full color photo and diagrammed book that lists parts, tools, and step by step instructions for over 50 neat projects including:

Small Room Air Conditioner

Cable and Cord Organizer

Trash Compactor

Shoe Rack

and so much more. We have been avid bucket upcyclers for years. This book is fantastic! I can’t wait to start some of these projects. A few of my favorites are the mailbox, dryer lint trap, and the storage stool.

You can read a preview of the book for free at, just click the book cover.

Discuss these projects at


Are you off-grid, or want to be?

Come join the discussion at one of the premier off-grid discussion groups on the net. Learn what off-grid living is like, or share your experience. You’ll be communicating with hundreds of off-gridders on all sorts of off-grid topics like:

Rain Water Harvesting
Solar & Wind Power
Organic Gardening
Animal raising for food, transportation and clothes
DIY Home building
Soap Making
DIY Fuels

and much, much more. It’s a warm friendly group, and we look forward to your questions and experiences. Come on home to Simply Off Grid!


Rain Barrel Installation Video

Our Rain Barrel Installation video is up and live. We document how quick and easy it is to install a rain barrel and start capturing rain water for irrigation, showering, washing clothes, and much more. With our DIY Berkey Water Purifier, it’s even useable for drinking and cooking. With a Solar Water Heating Kit, this solution will provide hot showers, and the solar collector will provide collection area for the rain water. More on this Rain Water Harvesting Kit and the irrigation options can be found at

The last bit of the video got lost, so I also made a overview video:


Bioplastics – Sustainability without compromise

Even the New Bioplastics Trash Bags Represent Much More than Business as Usual

Are you listening? ‘Bioplastics,’ in a word, now seem to have the potential to become one of the biggest business stories of the 21st century, much in the way conventional plastics has been for the past 60 years. The marketplace for biodegradable plastics is growing rapidly as American and European consumers demand sustainable, ‘green’ alternatives to traditional plastics for many common items, including food service, packaging and everyday plastic trash bags.

Bioplastics are made from renewable resources and native plant starches such as corn, tapioca, wheat and potatoes, as well as cane sugar and soy, unlike conventional plastics that are made from fossil fuels which can be harmful to health and the environment. Though still its infancy, the industry is growing fast and the global market for biodegradable, compostable plastics is enormous. Though not as large as the $2.5 trillion conventional plastics industry, many believe that bioplastics will increasingly rival traditional plastics in the not so distant future. And if past is prologue, bioplastics seems to have a very bright future given the ubiquitous and pervasive nature of plastics themselves. Plastics are used in everything from packaging, clothes we wear, cars we drive as well as in countless other industrial applications, consumer goods and electronics.

The global market for bioplastics is estimated to be approximately 570 million pounds and is forecast to increase to 1.2 billion pounds in 2012, which represents an almost 18% annual growth rate over the next three years, according to BCC Research. Currently, bioplastics represents only 0.1% of the total plastics market. However, some predict that the global market for bioplastics could reach $20 billion by the end of 2020. This is being driven by consumers’ preferences for sustainable plastic solutions that protect the health and the environment, higher oil prices, which make bio-based plastics a better value proposition, and manufacturing technology that has resulted in materials that are performance competitive and 100% recyclable.

Even simple household items such as garbage bags and trash liners stand to be revolutionized and make a big impact to our health and the welfare of our planet. It is estimated that that 500 billion to one trillion bags are made across the world each year, requiring millions of barrels of oil in their production, not to mention colorants and inks that can be toxic to human health and the environment. They are then discarded, with only about 1% being recycled, and are left to pollute our oceans, lakes, rivers, and grass lands, being blow away and becoming non-compostable litter, the equivalent of dumping millions of barrels of oil into the environment each year. Unlike bioplastics, conventional plastics do not biodegrade, and remain in as pollutants indefinitely. A number of companies, such as Trellis Earth Products, have already realized the extent of the problem and have begun producing bioplastic bags and food packaging that is biodegradable.

Trellis is a leader in supplying and manufacturing branded biodegradable food packaging and plastic bags that are made from renewable resources and sold to many restaurants and businesses across the country. Its products range from 30% biomass to 100% biomass and various tiers in between. Trellis’s biodegradable trash liner, which can decompose in both landfill conditions (in the presence of other bioactive matter), has the ability to change the evolution of how trash is treated. Whether trash becomes a fuel source, via methane capture in landfills, or bioplastics are used as a recycling feedstock, or in some cases as compostable nutrients, they can play a major role in the reduction of the use of toxic petrochemicals and their impact on the environment. Trellis’s products offer cost advantages that will allow more and more businesses to switch to bioplastics at the same price as traditional plastics and ‘Go Green for Free.’

About Trellis

Founded in 2006, Trellis is an early established innovator in bioplastics and sustainable food service packing and plastic bags with over 100 SKUs and integrated branding, manufacturing and distribution selling to major retail chains and corporations in the U.S. Trellis products employ a proprietary blend of biomass and conventional polymers for a lower blended average cost of materials. For more information, please visit Trellis website:


Propane – The Ultimate Survival Fuel?

Over the years I have been asked how to properly store gasoline and diesel for emergencies. There are methods to extend the storage life, but they are not great long term storage survival fuels. Ideally we wouldn’t need fossil fuels at all, but there are instances where it’s prudent to have some on hand, and propane does store the best.

Propane can be used for cooking, heating (water and space), refrigeration, lighting, clothes drying, and electrical generation. It can even be used a transportation fuel. Electrical generators and transportation consume large amounts of propane, where the other devices use much less. It’s a clean burning fuel, emitting mostly Carbon Dioxide and water vapor. Use plenty of ventilation, and use a Carbon Monoxide and Propane leak detectors for safety.

Theoretically, propane might store forever. The tanks would rust out and the propane would leak long before the propane would go bad, so tank storage is the main concern. Keeping the bottles dry and clean are the first priority, and keeping the bottles cool <100 so the pressure release valves don't release excess pressure. Keep them outdoors, as you don't want possible leaks in the house, and since propane is heavier than air, it would pool in the lowest areas. If you live in a cold climate, propane stops flowing at around -44F, so that may be a concern. I've used a wood fired cookstove and wood stove for heating for many years, but if you don't have a sustainable source of woody material, or are not physically capable of cutting, splitting and hauling, it would be prudent to have a good supply of propane stored just in case. The difference between an emergency and an inconvenience is preparation. -


The Green-Trust Homestead is gone, but the kids are safe!

Our son Steven, Mallory, and our granddaughter Jaymi lost the house in a fire this morning. Steven (22) wasn’t home, Mallory (19) & Jaymi (1) went out the second story kitchen window. Thank God they are safe!

The house is a total loss, nothing was saved (and no insurance), but the only thing that matters is they made it out ok. Belongings can be replaced. Steven is in the National Guard. He has drill this weekend, and lost his uniforms. They need everything (clothes, hygiene, baby products at first) to start over.

If you want to help, please visit

News –


Save money with these free tips

Lots of folks are looking to save money these days, and it seems like advertisers are all too happy to “help” us cut expenses…by selling us their products! Whether it’s discount clothes, efficient vehicles or better designed home goods, some of this stuff may indeed work, but it’s also true that you can save money without ever having to spend a cent. And the good news is, these no-nonsense, time-tested tips will also help you lighten your impact on our planet. So everybody wins!

Read more:


Scavenging 101: Ten Steps to Becoming a Successful Scavenger

1. Pause and Save. Before every transaction, ask: Can I do this/get this/go there more cheaply or for free? Make this a reflex. Scavenging soon becomes second nature.

2. Find your niche. Are you an urban forager? Thrift shopper? Garage saler? Treasure hunter? Coupon clipper? Seed exchanger Bargain hunter? So many new identities to choose: What kind of scavenger are you?

3. Open your mind. Scavenging means learning to be flexible. Spontaneous. Adventurous. Taking what comes means accepting what comes. Never wore a poncho before or listened to Turkish techno music? If that’s what you find, that’s what you do. Lose the squeamishness and learn.

4. Open your eyes. Scan every surface, every crevice, because lost and cast-off stuff is usually not in plain sight. Honor your ancient ancestors; become a hunter-gatherer. Find other (legal) means of getting stuff besides brand-new, full-price. Make your new keywords “sale,” “half off” “discount” and “free.” The more you see, the more you save.

5. Repurpose. Found something you think you can’t use? Think again. Then turn it into something else. Doors become tabletops. Calendars become giftwrap. Cut-up mouse pads become coasters. Trophies, bolted to walls, become coat-hooks. Be resourceful.

6. Swap, don’t shop. Ask friends, family, neighbors or coworkers to trade their unwanted items — clothes, books, tools, seeds, art, anything — for yours. Your trash is my treasure. Your hated crying-clown portrait is my raison d’etre.

7. Free yourself. From not knowing the difference between want and need. From the insistent ache of buy-more-now-again. Just say no.

8. Wait. Instant gratification is not an option for scavengers, as scavenging means pretty much never knowing what you’ll get — or how or where or when or even if. But patience is a virtue. Revive the meaning of “worth the wait.”

9. Follow the Scavenging Commandments. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not scam. Thou shalt not leave disorder in thy wake. Thou shalt not hoard. Thou shalt stay safe. Thou shalt not bring shame upon fellow scavengers. Thou shalt not go to extremes just to prove a point.

10. Give thanks. Consumer culture is all about getting whatever you want. Flip that dynamic. Scavenging is about wanting whatever you get.

The Scavengers’ Manifesto


New podcast uploaded, and pics

A new podcast has been uploaded at, and today’s topics are Watt vs. Watt hours, Green building methods, and the last part of our non-electric laundry series, the Best Clothes Dryer. We also received a new grain mill, so pics of that and the drying rack are at

We also list ways of interacting with this website and others of similar interests. so please check it out at

Remember, each post has it’s own page, so click on the post title, and you will be able to discuss that post with others in the comments section at the bottom of each post.


The non electric laundry press

Previously we exhibited our non electric bucket washer, today we are presenting the water press companion. This is a lot easier than a ringer, and easier on the clothes (and operator). We have loaded a video on Youtube, and a Instructable. Also see our previous post about the non electric washer. Enjoy:

Non Elelectric Laundry PressMore DIY How To Projects