There are so many reasons to recycle!
One, of course, is environmental reasons. Making the most of what we have before sending it to the landfill is becoming more common.
Savings for your bank account is another. Not spending money when it’s not needed on supplies we don’t really need, is just being thrifty and not wasteful.
However, I think the number of household items that we have that can be reused would blow most people’s minds.
So here are some common items that you can reuse, sometimes for years, giving what would be considered a single-use purpose, a much longer life.
Now I did a video up on this with more detailed explanations, for those of you that are more visual and like video. So if that’s you, click on the link and let me know if this gives you any aha moments on things you can use!
For those of you that like reading and pictures better, well keep reading 🙂
- Plastic yogurt, cottage cheese, and margarine or butter containers. We have stacks of them in this house, and they get used for seedlings in the spring, in the greenhouse. I take and burn a small hole in the bottom for drainage. This seals the edges and it doesn’t crack the plastic the way a knife can. This was a job my mom gave us kids when we were like 9 or 10, and fascinated with fire. It was a way to teach us proper safety (having your hair tucked back, not leaving matches lying around, and only using fire as a tool, etc). As well as being in an outdoor, and well-ventilated setting. It took care of any pyromaniac tendencies too, because by the time you’ve burned holes in ninety-seven containers, the novelty has worn off. Yes, I’m a child of the 70’s and we learned stuff like this. I think kids should still learn stuff like this.
- Coffee tins. If you get your coffee in tins, save them, and their lids. Punch some holes for drainage in the bottom with a nail and hammer. Again, a great job for little people. If you want them to last longer, you can give them a coat of rust-proof paint, and decorate them. It’s a great craft project for a rainy weekend. And while they will rust out eventually, you should get a good season or two at least, out of them before consigning them to the rubbish heap
- Toilet paper rolls. The center from your toilet paper rolls makes great seed starters. Cut in half, fill with dirt and compact enough to hold the dirt. Give it a water, and top up if necessary. Then plant your seeds. Once they are big enough to transplant into bigger pots, the whole plug can be put into a bigger container or out in the garden. The cardboard will decompose, feeding your soil and earthworms.
- Milk and juice containers. I especially like the cardboard ones for this, but definitely use whatever you have. When your container is empty, cut the top off, and give it a quick wash with some warm soapy water. Have a place for tossing these through the year for your garden. Cutting off the top two inches of a full-sized container gives you two things. First, is the remaining container itself. Punch some holes in the bottom with a knife or pair of scissors. This provides drainage, and you can use them for seedlings. Eventually, the remains end up in my compost heap for the earthworms to deal with, for the cardboard ones. Normally I get at least two, if not three seasons before they deteriorate too much to use. Now the two-inch strip from the top has a whole other use. When you are planting your cole crops (cabbages, broccoli, etc) whether by seed or transplant, bury this two-inch ring around it so about half an inch is above the ground. If you have cutworms plaguing your cole crops, this will stop them. Understanding how cutworms work is essential to why this works. These are those nasty grubs that stay in the soil, find your nice juicy broccoli, and eat out the stem. All of a sudden, one morning, you discover that your whole crop is dead. Now, these guys are very specific in their habits. They travel along just under the surface of the soil, about a half to one inch. If they encounter a barrier, they go around. So the two-inch strip will protect your coles from these jerks. The cardboard ones will eventually break down and your earthworms will take care of them.
- Old cotton sheets or pillowcases. Once your old sheets are too far gone to use anymore, rip them into long strips an inch or two thick. Use them for tying up your tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Back to plastic sour cream and yogurt containers. These can be cut into strips and used as markers for your rows, and pots for seedlings. Instead of buying more stuff, use what you already have!
There are so many other things we can use, and I would love to hear from you what you reuse in your garden in the comments below!