Reduce, reuse, recycle is the order of the world.
Often in the media, we hear about recycling and how important it is in our efforts to clean up the world, but sometimes the two before go unnoticed. Our ability to reuse items is even more important than recycling as items often end up in landfills – something we are desperately trying to avoid.
Before we worry about recycling, maybe we should take a look at the importance of reducing and reusing and how it better helps the fight against climate change.
By reusing items, we can prevent pollution, save natural resources, and even save money when it comes to your shopping list. Reusing household items is a great way to help the planet and yourself, and just takes some extra creativity on your part.
Still not sure what household items you can start reusing today? Here are ten ideas to get you started:
- Glass Jars: Reuse glass jars to store leftovers, homemade sauces, dried foods, or as a centerpiece by placing sand or rocks and a tea light inside.
- Clothes, towels, bedding: You can always repurpose old jean pants into shorts, use them to make an elbow patch on a sweater, or turn a long sleeve into a tank top by making some simple cuts, which is a popular trend. You can also use these items to create cleaning rags, washcloths, or get more creative by turning them into bath mats.
- Newspapers and magazines: Newspapers and magazine pages are great material for cleaning windows as they leave the window streak-less. They can also be used to clean up spills and messes as they absorb liquid very well. Also, use the leftovers to fit between the logs of a fire to keep the flames going.
- Plastic bottles: A great way to reuse plastic water bottles and soda bottles is to cut them and hang them outside as bird feeders. You can also paint them and make them pretty to use as a piggy bank for loose change (even more savings!).
- Seeds: Collecting fruit and vegetable seeds are a great way to get your harden started in the spring. Let the seeds dry in an open and shady location, preferably in a cool place away from light, like a basement or closet. You can store them for years and plant them when you desire for fresh foods right in your backyard. Don’t forget to label the seeds!
- Egg cartons: An easy way to reuse egg cartons is along the same lines as the seeds mentioned above. Egg cartons are great as a seed-starting tray. Fill each cup with potting soil, poke holes for drainage, and plant your seeds. Transplant them to larger containers once they’ve sprouted and enjoy the fruits of your labour! (literally). You can also reuse egg containers for organization by placing items in each cup, such as light bulbs, Christmas ornaments, or earrings.
- Wine corks: WIne corks are very versatile when it comes to reusing. A simple Google search can give you many creative ideas for using wine corks around your house. They make great decorative pieces and are very functional. Some ideas include using them as coasters, as a jewelry holder, or a drawer knob on your dresser (champagne cork). Another great way to reuse wine corks outdoors is for fire starters. Fill a glass jar (also reused) with natural wine corks and rubbing alcohol and let them soak. Place the cork in the fireplace and light to get your fire started quickly.
- Used coffee filters: Most people use coffee filters once and then throw it into the compost bin. However, you can use coffee filters four to five times before they stop being effective. Coffee grounds have many beneficial purposes, they can be used to fertilize your garden and repel pests and insects outside. They can also be used as a cleaning scrub, and even on your body to exfoliate your skin! So instead of tossing the filter after your morning coffee – separate the grounds and reuse them around your house, and throw the filter back in your coffee machine for a second use after it dries.
- Tea bags: Reusing tea bags doesn’t just mean making a second cup of tea. Did you know tea bags are great for your skin? Use tea bags to reduce under eye circles, hydrate dry skin, soothe a sunburn, fix your chapped lips, or just throw them in your bath tub for a relaxing soak.
- Dryer sheets: Dryer sheets reduce static and are a great dusting tool. They are especially good for electronic products, such as a keyboard, to keep them dusted without spraying cleaning liquids. Use them around your house to keep things fresh and reduce sneezing!
Many of these items have multiple functions, and are a great way to start reducing and reusing items right away. Almost everyone has these items currently sitting in their cupboards, so next time think twice before throwing them into your trash bin.
We can reduce the amount of waste being recycled and disposed of in landfills. We have the power to make a change today, and it starts right in your house.
At Green Schools Green Future, our schools will follow the three R’s of the environment. The children will be taught the importance of reducing waste and reusing items with creative solutions. It is an important learning tool and helps to maintain Mother Earth for the future generations to come.
Written By Cassandra Briscoe
Photo credit to South-Agency on iStock