Reuse It All - Zero Waste

How to Reuse Almost Anything! Project Waste Zero

I started this project years ago to reduce my household waste. I began by reducing consumable products. I switched to washable napkins and plates. In a nutshell, I stop buying things that are disposable! I did reduce my waste and I also saved a lot of money. The first step before reuse is reducing. I mentioned how I did that by cutting out disposable products, but using less will also help dramatically. Consider how much shampoo, laundry detergent, electricity you are using. Make an effort to use only what yo need.

Once you've accomplished the "reduce" step, it's time to "reuse." This is also my favorite part. Reuse is fun and will bring out your creativity. It comes before recycling, because it doesn't require as many resources to be consumed. The only energy consumed to reuse household waste is your own! Here I've collected resources for my favorite reuse ideas from normal household as waste. As I collected ideas, I placed them here.

Zero waste means a healthier planet. :) Check back frequently for more ideas on how to reuse and reduce waste around your home! Finally, don't forget to RECYCLE.

Image by HSSchulte

Berry Containers

Reuse Household Waste

Most plastics in your home can be recycled. But, the berries you buy come in plastic containers that can not be recycled in most areas. Learn some creative ways to reuse them and never have to send a berry container to the landfill again!

Reusing Berry Containers

1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse - from

1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew (1000 Series)
1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew (1000 Series)

This book is full of photo images to spark creativity. It doesn't give step by step instructions for the projects, but you will get plenty of inspiration to make up your own as you view the unique photos.



I don't know about you, but I get a lot of boxes. Maybe that means I am shopping online too often and need to do more local shopping, but anyway, how do we reuse boxes? There are many online instructions for reusing boxes as crafts. Boxes can also be reused in your garden because they block weeds. How about reusing a box to make a solar cooker? Cool huh? If none of those ideas work for you there are a few websites that actually buy used boxes for reuse: and

Reusing Cardboard Boxes

Food Scraps

Reusing Household Waste as Compost

I take for granted that everyone is composting, but if you are not, there is no better time to start. Collect leaves, grass, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells and compost them. Anything that comes from nature, can return to the earth in the form of compost. Do not compost meat or fats from animals. There are many methods of composting. Some people make a frame to collect debris in a compost "pile." Some people buy compost tumblers. Others simply throw the waste on top of the ground in the garden, or area of the garden.

I prefer to bury the waste in my garden, or in the pots and barrels i use for growing flowers. My neighbors don't see my kitchen scraps and I don't need an expensive tumbler or frame to hold in the waste. It only requires dirt, something to compost and a shovel. The worms which do the compost work will come! If you do not garden, you can still compost in a barrel or planter and use the composted soil for your houseplants. They will love it!

How to Make Compost

Dryer Lint

Reusing Household Waste

I know it's odd to reuse dryer lint, but it's one of those things that you can't recycle and we want to keep it out of the garbage. If you burn wood for heat in the winter, dryer lint becomes as valuable as gold on a cold night! Throw some dryer lint and paper under your logs and you'll have a flame in no time. There is a more extravagant, long burning recipe for fire starters involving wax in the article below. Also there are more tips for lint reuse including clay from lint and reuse in your garden.

Reusing Dryer Lint


Reusing Household Waste Ideas

I racked my brain trying to think up ways to reuse paper. Of course, if one side is used, you can reuse the other side for scratch paper, or kids drawing paper, before you recycle it. You can reuse envelopes this way as well.

Repurposing Paper

If you don't reuse the paper, you can break it down into pulp and create new paper with it. This is a time consuming project, but also a neat learning project for kids. You can use homemade paper for special notes, cards, etc.

How to Recycle Paper at Home

Toilet Paper Rolls or Paper Towel Rolls

Reusing Household Waste Ideas

Most homes have empty toilet paper rolls as household waste, because... well the most frugal minded earthy folks still use toilet paper. Although, I have heard people discuss cloth for this purpose, this is the one product I will always prefer disposable.

So how do we reuse the empty rolls when the toilet paper is gone? Well, you can

- Use the to start fires. Stuffed full of dryer lint, they make quick and easy fire starters for winter months

- Use them to make craft projects

- Or my personal favorite ... use them to start seeds in your garden!

Reusing Toilet Paper Rolls to Start Seeds

In addition to using toilet paper rolls to start seeds, I also use small yogurt containers and egg cartons. The yogurt containers work best for me. I rarely have a seed that fails to sprout in a yogurt container.

If you like the idea of reusing household waste in the garden, you will be happy to know there are virtually endless ways to repurpose waste in the garden. Gardens work well for biodegradable waste because everything breaks down and returns to the soil eventually. Cardboard and paper mulch is just one example of biodegradable waste that can be used in the garden. Non-biodegradable waste comes in handy for watering and supporting plants. Examples would be milk carton watering and old bike trellises. Many more ideas to reuse household waste in the garden can be found at:

Repurposing for the Garden

Plastic Bottles Household Waste
Plastic Bottles Household Waste

How to Reuse Plastic Bottles

Another Idea for Reusing Household Waste

Here are over 20 ideas to reuse a plastic bottle in crafts. All the ideas contain photos of the finished project, so you can see what it looks like before you spend you time on it. There are ideas for reusing plastic bottles as vases, storage containers, home décor, jewelry, knitting devices, terrariums and much more.

How to Repurposing Plastic Bottles

Reuse Waste by Recycling an Old Computer
Reuse Waste by Recycling an Old Computer

Recycle or Reuse Your COMPUTER!

Computer Crafts for Reusing Household Waste

Technology changes quickly and while we don't often think of reusing or recycling computer, they are yet another form of household waste that is piling up in the landfills. Consider giving working components of the computer to friends or family that can use them. There are also manufacturer recycling programs for computers. Take a step back and reconsider ways to reuse that old computer before you throw it out. Here are some innovative and chic ideas for recycling old computer parts into crafts!

Reuse Your Household Waste to Make Games

Games from Cardboard, Soup Cans, Milk Cartons, or Plastic Milk Jugs

You can make puzzles, board games, counting games for preschoolers, car games and color or letter sorting games all from household waste. All it takes is a few ideas to get started. Before you know it you will be coming up with your own ways to recycle trash into games and activities for your children. Here you will also find manufacturers that specializing in making toys from recycled plastic.

Waste not, want not.

Plastic for storage
Plastic for storage

Plastics as Household Waste

Improtance of Reusing Plastic

Because plastic isn't biodegradable, like cardboard and paper, it is critical that we reuse it, or recycle it. Here are some ways I enjoy putting plastic to reuse around my home. If you don't reuse your plastic, please don't forget to recycle it, or it will end up in the landfill virtually forever.

Plastic Bottles:

Cut off the top of the bottle and use them to store pens, pencils, craft supplies, small children's toys like legos, leave the top on and use them to store nuts and screws in the garage.

Medium-size Plastic Containers:

Great household storage containers also.

Plastic Bags:

Cut them into strips and use them to weave, crochet, or knit.

Large Plastic Bottles:

Poke small holes in the bottom of them and use them for drip watering in the garden. They allow the water to seep out slowly so the plant roots get all the water. Stake them down close to a plant and leave them in the garden all summer. When it is time to water, just fill the bottle and let the water trickle out.

Freecycle is a Reuse Group

Reusing Household Waste by Giving It Away

You can reuse items by giving them away. Reuse groups are all over. My favorite is Freecycle. Freecycle is a global organization comprised of many, many local groups. These groups communicate by email to exchange items. A few years ago, my area didn't have freecycle, so I started a local group. You can email your group offers or wanted items. You can visit freecycle at, to learn about the group in your area. If your area doesn't have one, start your own.

Start a Freecycle Group

Before Reuse ... Use Less

Produce Less Household Waste

One way to limit the amount of waste you have to reuse or recycle, is to use less. Give up your consumable products, such as paper plates, paper napkins, etc. and replace them with washable permanent napkins and plates. This leads to much less trash to recycle or reuse. Also, use less water, less electricity by learning to turn things off or use as little as needed. This is the first step in Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle for good reason. Using less conserves resources.

Do you have more ideas for reusing household waste? Please leave a comment!

Reader Feedback 63 comments

poutine 7 years ago

I didn't know we could reuse dryer lint. Thanks for the info.

anonymous 7 years ago

Coffee grounds is also something to check out! AND REUSE

db49 profile image

db49 7 years ago

A great site. I lensrolled it and rated it....then read it some more. Waste management has been a passion of mine for many years now, and I always love it when I find another like-minded soul.

anonymous 7 years ago

When I'm at work and dry my hands with paper towels, I stuff them in my bag and take them home. I then use them for wiping left over oil from the pans before washing (don't want to spill too much oil in the drain!), pulling out hair from shower and sink drain (which is better than using strong chemical products to unclog drains) etc etc.

BTW have just started a worm composter! Yupeee

anonymous 7 years ago

This is a great page. There is a website: that has a whole bunch more suggestions like this.

Kevin Wilson 2 profile image

Kevin Wilson 2 6 years ago

Use less is the key - it's the "Reduce" part of the three R's and there's a good reason it comes first! Some ways I've found to reduce: bake your own cookies, bread etc so you have no packaging waste: use rags instead of paper towels, cloth handkerchiefs instead of Kleenex: buy less (or NO) plastic junk from Walmart :)

hsschulte profile image

hsschulte 6 years ago Author

@Kevin Wilson 2: Kevin,

I agree using less is the first step. It is amazing how much money you can save by learning to use cloth napkins and other reusables. After reduce, is reuse and that is what this lens is about. The final step... recycling.... I hope everyone is doing to keep our landfills from overflowing.

kathys55 profile image

kathys55 6 years ago

Wonderful Lens. There are some great ideas here.Faved you and lensrolled you to my lens.

totalhealth 6 years ago

great and fun ideas on reusing those common household waste. i particularly like the water bottle screen

Obscure_Treasures 6 years ago

How cool...loving all the ideas for green gifts

martialartstraining 6 years ago

Dryer lint? That is amazing, thank you for sharing all of this, I feel motivated now.

priscillab profile image

priscillab 6 years ago

Wow- so maany great ideas!!! Love the toilet paper rolls for seed starters!

Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

I just smacked myself on the forehead. Why didn't I think of the yogurt containers for some plant runners I want to save starts from (ajuga and strawberries). I'll go dig them out of the trash.

flooringcanada 6 years ago

Great lens! Thanks for sharing easy green ideas for everyone to follow. We must take care of our environment for us and the future of our children :)

greengogreen 6 years ago

Fantastic lense! Always good to remind myself of the importance of the 3 r's, thank you for the great info :) Simple Compost, Straw Bale Compost Bin

anonymous 6 years ago

This is an eco-friendly thing!

WriterBuzz 6 years ago

Very cool lens. Informative and fun. Thanks for sharing. Thumbs Up given.

DecoratingEvents profile image

DecoratingEvents 6 years ago

This is so helpful and green! Thanks for sharing. *Blessed

orinel 5 years ago

Great lens. So important to recycle as much as possible. Check this green lens out

orinel 5 years ago

Great lens. Loads of ideas and some of them very different. I've learned a lot. Thanks. See what you think of this lens

anonymous 5 years ago

It is very easy for people to just throw everything out. This is an important topic and your lens has some great information that we could all use to reduce waste.

marsha32 5 years ago

this is a nice lens....and lots of important information and good ideas....I'm heading to check out some of the other links...but not before I put in my Squid Angel Blessing.

ChrisDay LM profile image

ChrisDay LM 5 years ago

essential advice for all - thanks

tailortoo profile image

tailortoo 5 years ago

You have made so many great suggestions. That first R for reduce is certainly the best starting point.

jackieb99 profile image

jackieb99 5 years ago

An excellent site! You have many good suggestions.

anonymous 5 years ago

You have some of the coolest recycle ideas here!

shandigp profile image

shandigp 5 years ago

Just began following you on Twitter! ShandiGP. Thanks.

sweetdeal 5 years ago

very important ideas

LensSeller 5 years ago

More outstanding ideas for recyclers everywhere.

FunkyJewelleryUK profile image

FunkyJewelleryUK 5 years ago

Great lens! I make my own jewellery using recycled products so this is really interesting. Nice work :)

luckygrrrl 5 years ago

I love the idea about using toilet paper rolls to start seeds. Also, if you have pet rabbits, you can use toilet paper or paper towel rolls as chew toys. I used to socialize rabbits at my local animal shelter, and the rabbits really loved to play with those things!

Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

Gayle Mclaughlin 5 years ago from McLaughlin

My mom lived through the depression and she learned to reuse almost everything! Thanks for your clever ideas.

Scarlettohairy profile image

Scarlettohairy 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

Great lens with all sorts of great ideas for reusing some pretty mundane things! I linked this lens to "The Lint Filter" blog (because of the dryer lint information, of course!).

anonymous 5 years ago

Excellent ideas to reuse it all. I've never bought much in disposable or plastic containers but some do sneak into my house from time to time, zero waste is a great goal for us all. Well done!

smithlights profile image

smithlights 5 years ago

I've always thought there should be a way to reuse dryer lint!

anonymous 5 years ago

We recycle, compost, and re-purpose as much as possible, but everything? That is amazing! Thanks for the great ideas!

adamfrench profile image

adamfrench 5 years ago

Impressive lens, thumbs up

poutine 5 years ago

"Boxes can also be reused in your garden because they block weeds" is an excellent tip.

dahlia369 profile image

dahlia369 5 years ago

My head is spinning with all the recycling ideas you've shared on here. I use many, but some, like dryer lint - were completely new. Great job, blessed! :)

ajgodinho profile image

ajgodinho 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This is a unique lens on this topic, some ideas I wouldn't have thought about. Thanks for promoting awareness on the 3Rs...blessings! :)

LisaDH profile image

LisaDH 4 years ago

Really wonderful suggestions! I never would have thought to use dryer lint in the fireplace (particularly since I don't have a fireplace at the moment!), but that was my favorite idea because it makes you realize how accustomed to throwing things away because we don't even bother to look for another use. Well done!

anonymous 4 years ago

Hey I have reviewed your squidoo lens and I really liked it. Because of this I went ahead and âlikeâ you on squidoo. Giving your lens another like.

When you have time, please take a look at my lens. It is located at

If you like my lens, please add a like to my lens as well. I am new to squidoo and I would appreciate any comments at all.

fullofshoes profile image

fullofshoes 4 years ago

tons of great ideas here. a few which i can put into effect right now ! thank you!

ecogranny profile image

ecogranny 4 years ago from San Francisco

Excellent ideas here. It will take a while to follow every one of your links. My work is cut out for me. My favorite tip on this page is to reduce the amount of throw-aways we bring into our homes in the first place. Angel blessed.

PizzaPromoGuy 4 years ago

I have never quite thought about recycling like this! It puts things into a whole new perspective! Great Lens

shandigp profile image

shandigp 4 years ago

I'm seen some really cure boxes and picture frames made from upcycled computer motherboards and keyboard keys. Great job! *blessed*

WindyWintersHubs profile image

WindyWintersHubs 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

We have a blue box program in our city for cardboard, paper, plastics and tins. When our kids were little we donated paper stuff etc. There is also a recycling center for clothing, small appliances and electronics. Big metal stuff can also be donated to scrap metal dealers. The only thing I have to put in the garbage is food scraps because of the geese and bears. Whatever anyone can do to recycle counts. :)

Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

Gayle Mclaughlin 4 years ago from McLaughlin

Love these ideas!

WriterJanis2 profile image

WriterJanis2 4 years ago

Really great ideas here. Blessed!

Maritimer LM profile image

Maritimer LM 4 years ago

We recycle Dryer Lint to start our campfires in the summer.

LouisaDembul profile image

LouisaDembul 4 years ago

We usually recycle toilet rolls as toys for kids....actually my daughter loves cutting them and painting them, it keeps her busy for a long time. Since it is getting time to sow seeds, though, I think I will have to use some for this!

julieannbrady 4 years ago

I'm trying to figure out how to reuse an Epson RX500 printer. I think it has a possibility to be fixed.

anonymous 4 years ago

Great ideas!

Mim Art profile image

Mim Art 4 years ago

Terrific lens. Another use for dryer lint (especially in the spring) is for the birds. I save it up along with hairbrush hair and place it in little mesh cages outside (hidden from elements as best as possible) for the birds to use when nesting. It's a fun thought to think they are sleeping in some of my clothes/hair.

anonymous 4 years ago

Great ideas.

anonymous 4 years ago

Zero waste is a great idea with Earth Day coming up, just had to return to review your ideas.

anonymous 4 years ago

Terrific tips. I had never thought about using dryer lint to help start a fire in the fireplace. I'll have to try that this winter. Thanks.

anonymous 4 years ago

Amazing ideas, I think that zero waste straight in the household is an important jump to be made! Waste that cannot be converted should be recycled! e-waste especially! I mean look at all the possibilities it has! :

e-waste riches

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: broken link sorry! e-waste riches fixed

anonymous 3 years ago

instead of buying garbage bags...fill up the plastic bags you get at the grocery store with garbage.

anonymous 3 years ago

We compost, use dryer lint for camping, and use cardboard, but the others are new to me. Thanks! We also save our altoids cans, because they make nifty little containers for all sorts of things.

Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 8 months ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

One big thing that can be done in France and the UK at least is for tips and public refuse sites to give away or sell all the perfectly good stuff that people throw away.

Pim 2 weeks ago

Reducing waste is a great thing. And it is smart to start a zero waste lifestyle at home, start small. We’ve created a symbol to illustrate Zero Waste. You can find the symbol on our website:

Feel free to use this symbol on your website.

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