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
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!
1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse - from Amazon.com
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: Ecobox.com and Boxcycle.com
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!
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 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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 http://www.freecycle.org, to learn about the group in your area. If your area doesn't have one, start your own.
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!