In preparation for Canna4Climate Day, I have been taking stock in what I currently do for the planet and what more I could be doing. One thing I have been trying to do more of in the last few years is reusing things that I previously would have tossed out. So here is a list of some things I have been doing and some new ones I will be trying out!
1. Baby/Tushy Wipe containers can be used to store SO many things like art supplies, sewing stuff, office supplies or to organize bathroom drawers.
2. A Lot of people know, I drink a ton of coffee so here are some ways to reuse used coffee grounds:
• Place an open jar or bowl of dried, used coffee grounds in your refrigerator or freezer to neutralize odors.
• Keep a jar of dried, used coffee grounds under the sink and use with dish soap as a scouring agent for cleaning caked-on stubborn food.
• Mound used coffee grounds in a ring around garden plants to keep ants and slugs away.
• And for my tea drinkers- Keep used tea bags in the refrigerator; in the morning, dampen if needed and put one on each eye to relieve puffiness and refresh sleepy peepers. Or Dampen cool, used tea bags and place them on insect bites and minor burns; it’s said that the tannins help soothe and reduce inflammation.
3. Glass Bottles or Jars are wonderful for drinking out of, storing leftovers or keeping anything organized. Decorate a jar to make a cute Vase! If a product is available in glass or plastic I always get the glass version because it's more versatile after its initial use.
4. Cereal Boxes can be used for so many fun crafts, I recently made a napkin holder from a cereal box instead of buying one. Saved money and the environment all in one fun crafting activity.
5. CD/DVD can also be used for crafting as well! I have seen some really cool mirror frames covered in broken pieces of CDs used to make a mosaic pattern. (this could be its own list really, if you have some scratched up old cds laying around there are SO many cool things you could make with them, I've seen coasters, custom shoes and hats, decorative pots,mosaic tables and boxes even a guitar the possibilities are endless!)
6. Dryer Sheets can be reused to stuffing in stuffed animals or decorative pillows.
7. Let’s say your garden hose gets a hole, instead of tossing it out you could poke more holes in it and use it as a yard soaker or a sprinkler for the kids to run through. You could also use it to tie back young trees or you could Cut into smaller sections and attach to the thin, metal handles on buckets to make it more comfortable to carry.
8. Milk jug Lids can be saved and once you have 24 of them you could make a custom checker board set! (this one I am currently saving lids for and I'm planning on making it Star Wars themed of course!)
9. Make the plastic jugs into hanging flower pots by cutting a hole in the top, placing flowers inside it and then hanging it by the handle. You could also Cut the bottom out of a plastic milk carton and use the top part to cover and protect growing plants in your garden. Also you could make a scoop for dog/cat/bird feed. Wash and then using it a funnel for pouring really anything (I am a clumsy and spill everything so that one has been really helpful)
10. Plastic food containers like butter or cottage cheese containers can be cleaned and used for leftover storage. Saving money and the planet at the same time is always a win! When I wasn't in the mood to do dishes I used them to eat cereal out of.
11. I save shoelaces and ribbons for wrapping presents or tying things back in the garden. In a pinch I've used them as a belt when I forgot mine. You could braid a really cute bracelet or use as curtain tie backs.
12. Old Shirts and other clothing items can be cut down and used as rags around the house. Also Since ripped pantyhose and tights seem to come in endless supply, they can also be cut and used for ersatz bungee cords, hair bows, sashes and arm warmers.
13. Old sweaters can be turned into mittens, or if you can knit you can unravel it and knit it again however you would like!
14. Instead of tossing out the old shower curtain you could:
• Use it as a tarp for grills, wood, etc.
• Cover your table with the curtain while the kids are painting or playing with play-dough to make for easy clean-up.
• Cut and make into a curtain for the bathroom window.
• Line the trunk of your car with it when transporting dirty items.
• Use to cover your outdoor plants when the weather drops to freezing. Make sure you put stakes in the ground to prevent the curtain from crushing your plants.
• Use as a drop cloth or for covering furniture when painting.
15. Toilet paper rolls have so many uses as well:
• Stuff an extra set of stockings into a tube and keep in your desk drawer at work, your glove compartment, etc. in case of a run.
• Ask local schools if they need them for art projects.
• Wrap double-sided tape around the tube, stick one or two fingers in the middle and roll over clothing, furniture, etc. to remove lint.
• Tape one end of yarn/string to the tube.
• Wrap the string around the tube and then hook the end into a notch cut into the edge of the tube. It makes for easy storage.
• Use for wrapping party gifts by inserting the gift, pinching and taping the ends closed and then decorating.
• Use for storing long pieces of ribbon which have been saved from packages. This will keep the ribbon smooth.
• Use in place of a peat pot. Fill with potting soil, place in a plastic butter/ice cream tub, plant the seed and water. When the plant sprouts, plant the seedling (tube and all) in the ground. The tube rots away. (you can also do this with paper egg cartons since the paper is biodegradable)
16. Used toothbrushes are super handy around the house: Use for polishing your shoes. This is especially useful for where the shoe meets the sole. Use for cleaning threaded mechanical parts. Use for cleaning greasy auto parts. Use for cleaning combs. Use old ones to clean the grooves between the tiles in your bathroom.
17. Use banana peels to shine your shoes. Rub the inside of the peel on shoes, then buff with a soft cloth.
18. Place old silica gel packets with personal papers and important documents to protect them from moisture and mildew.
19. Newspaper and Junk mail can be kept and used as packing materials when shipping small business items, fun stuff to your friends and family or when moving. Styrofoam to-go containers can be cleaned, torn up and used as packing peanuts.
20. Here is a whole list of great ways to use scrap paper:
• Use any kind of used paper--computer, notebook, newspaper, etc. as wrapping paper. Personalize it with colored pencils, crayons, markers, or paint.
• Cut it into smaller pieces and keep it by the phone for messages.
• When doing first drafts of school papers, print on the reverse side of used computer paper, photocopies, etc.
• For those of you who work in an office, convince your supervisor to use the back of scrap paper for printing lists, memos, taking phone messages, etc. Stress that this will help them save money.
• Use hole-punches as confetti.
• Use to make cards.
• Use pieces for bookmarks. Write down any ideas that pop into your head.
• Put smaller pieces in your pockets so that you can jot down notes to yourself throughout the day.
• Use to line your kitty litter box.
• Shred and save for packing material.
• Use for wrapping delicate Christmas ornaments for storage.
• Use for learning origami.
• Use for making home-made paper.
• Shred and use to line your hamster/gerbil cage.
• Use for lining a bird cage.
• Punch holes along the side and place in a 3-ring binder for school notes.
• Punch holes along the side and string a shoelace through to make a notebook. Use a cereal box for a front and back cover.
• Use for grocery lists
• Let kids color, paint, etc. on the back of used paper.
• Color both sides of the paper whatever color you like, cut into very thin strips and then use as "grass" for the Easter baskets.
• Take used copier paper from work and donate to daycare centers for the kids to draw on.
This is by no way a comprehensive list; these are just a few of the ways you can use your trash and keep it from filling a landfill or ending up in the ocean! Every little bit we do helps to take the burden off the planet. If we all work together we can truly make a difference!
What are some other ways that you all rescue trash items and reuse them in your daily life!? Would love to hear about them in the comment section below!