Give Common Items a Second Life and Reuse Them
Where is most household waste generated?
In the kitchen.
You’ve got egg cartons, jars, bottles, compost and various kinds of other waste.
When you don’t reuse all of these items, you waste money as well as damage the environment. (Reusing is much better than recycling, which should always be the LAST thing you do, when you can’t refuse or reduce).
You can reuse a lot of the common items in your kitchen. Here’s how.
1. Egg Cartons and Newspapers
Don’t throw out your egg cartons – they make great packing material. They’re extremely light, but they take up space when crumpled and absorb shock very well.
Just shred up your egg cartons and use them as packing material, instead of buying bubble wrap.
Shred (or tear and scrunch) old newspapers for an alternative packing option.
Old scissors can seem difficult to sharpen – most knife sharpeners are just too big to use on a pair of scissors.
But you can sharpen them yourself – with sandpaper! Easily sand the edge of your scissors until they’re sharp again; it can take about 10 minutes so do the sanding while you’re watching TV or listening to some music. They’ll be good as new.
3. Jars and Bottles
Instead of throwing out your jars, come up with creative and green uses for them.
For example, you can use them to store common types of stationery. Small jars can be used to store paperclips or thumbtacks. Larger jars can be used to hold pens and pencils.
I place a little soil in the bottom of old glass jars, add a tealight candle and use them for outdoor lighting. If they still have the labels on them, you’ll get nice colour variations.
Use ketchup bottles to hold homemade salad dressings.
What are you doing with your food waste? Instead of throwing it away, consider using it for compost.
It’s very simple: just put all your compostable foods in container with a lid. That means any fruit peels, veggie peels and some leftover foods (not bones).
When it gets full, just dump out the basket into an empty patch of your garden. The compost will break down in the soil, giving you a very mineral-rich environment to plant new plants.
Don’t have a garden? No space in your garden? No problem – neighbours or local farmers may welcome compost, or local municipalities often collect it for use in parks.
5. Cereal Boxes
Take a pair of scissors and cut the cereal box diagonally. Now you have a magazine holder! You can also use it to store tall books or anything else that stands up vertically.
6. Foil and Wrapping
Foil and wrapping can both be reused in their original form.
Just be a little more careful when you’re unwrapping and you can often just reuse the same piece of material.
7. K-Cups or Single-Serve coffee
There are loads of things you can do with these convenient-but-not-eco-friendly items.
Remove the foil top, keep the coffee grounds (see below), wash the plastic cups and then use them to:
- Make tiny seed starters (use the used coffee grounds half-half with soil!).
- Finely chop herbs then freeze them in perfect serving sizes
- Add water-based paint to the top rim and use it for painting stamps for kids
- Add soil and a tiny flower to each pot then hang several at different lengths to make a hanging planter
- If there’s a hole in the bottom of the cup, tape it over to plug it, then use to serve Jell-o shots. (recipes here).
- Make popsicles using the cups as moulds – cupsicles!
- Spray paint to look like a pot, then add a pine cone for Christmas decorations
- Add flowers, wrap up prettily and use as table decorations or place holders.
8. Used Coffee Grounds
For those used coffee grounds, here are some reuse ideas:
- Add some coffee grounds and soil to a vase for cut flowers – they’ll last much longer than with water alone.
- If you’ve had a lovely fire in your fireplace and need to clean away the ashes left behind, first add some used coffee grounds then sweep it all up – you’ll avoid that ash dust cloud
- Add used coffee grounds to a sponge or rag and use to clean dirty stainless steel pots and pans.
- Deter cats from your garden by spreading used coffee grounds where you don’t want them to walk.
- Hydrangeas will flower blue if you reduce their soil’s pH level by adding coffee.
- Put used coffee grounds in an old jar or container to absorb smells in your fridge.
- Always compost any you don’t reuse elsewhere – used coffee grounds are great for adding nitrogen to your compost pile.
The kitchen really is one of the best places to go green.
Look around you – what items are single-use? Find a creative reuse for them – you’ll be glad you did, and so will the planet.
Please spread the word about how many items you can easily reuse in the kitchen – sharing buttons below and right – thank you!
P.S. Want to live a simpler, more green and ecofriendly life? (It’s been shown to increase happiness!). You can download your FREE green living handbook “Live Well, Live Green” here. Get it now!