Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Re-purpose!

Re-purposing is the act of making your trash into something new. Re-purposing means you contribute less to the landfills yet the resources needed to recycle aren’t taxed either.

Obviously we can’t re-purpose everything we throw away and if you have hoarding tendencies you definitely should just pitch or recycle your waste..but for those of us who want to reduce our ecological impact and save money, re-purposing is the way to go!

Here are some ideas of items you can re-purpose, feel free to let your imagination run with it!

-Almost anything that will hold dirt can be used as a container for planting flowers or herbs, including mugs, soup cans, old boots, buckets and tea tins.

-K-cups – the packaging for those individual cups of coffee isn’t recycleable but you can reuse the cups as seed starters, and the coffee grounds can be composted.

-Speaking of compost, most of your kitchen waste can be composted, even if you live in a tiny apartment. My friend Cheryl saves her scraps in a large tub with a lid, when the tub is filled she blends it and pours over her plants.

-I pay all of my bills through online banking to save on the cost of stamps and envelopes, I reuse the envelopes that come in my bills to hold coupons, notes for teachers, etc. In the same thread, I reuse the back of almost every single paper that comes into my house.

-Small bottles and jars can be used to hold craft supplies or small hardware or used as a decorative vase. They can also be used to hold small amounts of leftovers or condiments (and my husband would add “bacon grease! Yum!”) Try turning your glass jars into picture frames or decorative lamps.

-I have a family member who eats a lot of frozen food, she saves the plastic dishes her meals come in and I reuse them as pet bowls and paint trays for my kids, I recently discovered that my 5 year old enjoys making forts out of the bowls as well.

-You can fashion a solar oven out of a box and a few surplus supplies.

While not an exhaustive list by any means, those were all pretty simple ideas, things all of us can do. If you want to take a step beyond try some of these extreme re-purposing ideas:

-Re-purpose your vehicle into a food dehydrator

-Use an old bathtub as a flower garden or a pond

-An old metal headboard or bed rail can be used as a trellis

Re-purposing items you normally trash is a great way to save your pennies and is only limited by your imagination, try googling a few objects and see where it takes you.

Take a look at how re-purposing plastic soda bottles has changed the lives of those in developing countries.


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