The average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash daily. This comes from food packaging, plastic utensils, and everyday items you don’t even realize you’re throwing out.
As a culture, we’re growing increasingly aware of our waste. We know that everything we throw out is damaging our environment and ecosystem, but we’re not sure how to waste less without completely changing our lifestyles.
Even a few small changes can help drastically reduce your daily and household waste. Check out these 7 household items that you can easily and effectively repurpose to help save the environment and your wallet.
Have leftover glass jars from pasta sauce or cosmetics bottles? The best part about glass is that you can use and reuse it for decades (even centuries) before it starts to deteriorate. It’s also a gorgeous material with a lot of uses around the home.
Start by cleaning out your glass jars and removing the labels. If you need help removing the labels, try acetone nail polish. Make sure to wash with a gentle, eco-friendly dish soap to remove any leftover acetone.
Glass jars are great for food storage because they don’t contain chemicals like BPA (which you’ll find in some plastics), and they also don’t hold particles. This means the glass won’t start to stink or transfer tastes even after several uses. You’ll get a fresh seal each and every time you store food (as long as you wash in between uses). We also love using glass jars to make pre-made salads or parfaits that are an easy grab-and-go snack to take on your way out the door.
You can also use glass jars as flower vases, water candles, or decorative pieces. Learn more about repurposing glass jars here.
Finished your Cheerios? Don’t throw that box out just yet. You can actually repurpose both the box and the inside liner in a few easy steps.
Use the inner lining as food storage. You can cut it into squares to separate meat (like uncooked burger patties) and save space in your fridge. You can use them to wrap bread and buns to keep them protected while in the freezer. You can even use them as lunch bags if you have an at-home vacuum sealer.
If you’re a baker, cereal box linings are also a great DIY piping bag! Rinse and dry the bag, scoop the frosting into a bottom corner, snip off the corner with a pair of scissors, and get ready to pipe!
For the box itself, you can paint it or leave it as is. It’s great for storing mail, notebooks, or other flat items. You can also cut it up and use them as drawer organizers to keep office supplies or clothing sorted. You can even make your own piñatas with the cardboard from cereal boxes! Check out more uses of cereal boxes here.
Have an earring that’s missing its other half? A necklace with a broken clasp? You can turn your broken jewelry into fridge magnets in a snap! This will instantly dress up your fridge with a trendy, up-cycling style.
Simply glue the jewel on to a magnet, which you can get at any craft supplies store. If your jewels are too small, put a few together in a pretty pattern before pasting on the magnet.
We recommend using a hot glue gun for a stronghold, but be careful not to burn yourself. This will grab on to the jewels without leaving any white residue.
Plastic egg cartons are a huge contributor to landfills—but you can do something about it! Use them to transport mini cupcakes and muffins. Use them to store old Christmas ornaments or other small stuff like jewelry, office supplies, or buttons. The plastic from egg cartons is sturdy enough for storage of small goodies, but it won’t take up too much room.
Paper egg cartons are even better. You can actually split them up into each individual container and use them as seed gardens. You simply fill them with potting soil, put in the seed, and water. When the seedlings outgrow their egg carton pot and are ready to plant in the ground, you simply wet the whole egg carton and plant as one. The soggy paper carton will actually break down over time, leaving just your healthy seedling with strong roots!
Empty tissue boxes are great mini-trash receptacles. Put them in the car, on your office desk, or on the bathroom counter to collect small pieces of trash. You can throw it out when full or empty and reuse it. This is a decorative way to keep your space clean and organized.
You can also use empty tissue boxes to store your plastic grocery bags— as opposed to throwing them in a closet or under your kitchen sink, where they take up lots of room. You can even make them pop up like tissues, so they’re easy to grab and go. Slide the bottom of each bag into the handles of the next bag and roll up. Then, put in through the top of the tissue box, and pull out the handles of the first bag. They’ll pop up with ease whenever you want to reuse your plastic bags.
What do you do with the cardboard tube after you finish your toilet paper or paper towel? Not only can you use them to make fun crafts with the kids, but they’re also great for organization.
Slice an empty paper towel roll lengthwise. Slip it over the bottom of a hanger. Tape closed. Now, you can drape pants over your hanger without worrying about wrinkles or creases.
Cut the paper towel lengthwise and slip over a roll of wrapping paper. This will help keep the wrapping paper from unraveling in between uses.
You can also use it to organize cables. Tie up your cables and slip into the toilet paper tube to keep them condensed, organized, and separate from other cables. You can write the name of the cable on the tube as well for improved organization.
You can also use toilet paper rolls to cultivate seedlings as you can with egg cartons. On one side of the tube, press the edges down until there’s a flat surface on one side. Tape it in place so soil doesn’t fall out of the bottom. Then, fill it with potting mix and seeds. When the seedling is ready, you can wet the tube and plant the whole thing in the garden—and the paper tube will naturally compost over time.
Check out these 12 uses for cardboard tubes here.
One sock always happens to go missing to who-knows-where. But you don’t need to throw its pair away. Clean socks are great rags and “scraps” to clean up around the house. Put a sock on the end of a mop or broom handle to dust hard to reach places like blinds, ceiling corners, fan blades, and behind the toilet. Best yet, you can throw dirty, dusty socks in the wash (not with your other clothes) so you can reuse these rags again and again.
You can also use socks to store small pieces that might otherwise go missing. You can use them to keep track of your board game pieces or children’s smaller toys. Put a rubber band around the top and you have a sack of goodies, which is a great way for your kids to keep their rooms clean!
Repurposing your disposable household items is a great way to save money and the environment while making your home more self-sufficient. If you’re about to throw something out, stop and search for ways to repurpose that item—there are a lot of brilliant DIYers out there with creative solutions for daily up-cycling!
How do you repurpose your household items?
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