Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Change the World Wednesday - reuse, not just recycle

Last Wednesday the green thing to attempt for the week was about reusing items.

Here are the details:
This week take one item from your home/office and come up with new uses for it. For example, rather than toss a vegetable can, consider all the ways it could be used (pencil holder, planter, etc.). The idea, here, is to focus on one item and list as many (re)uses as possible.

Or ...

Write about 3-5 items which are recyclable but which many people toss out. For example, the plastic safety wrap around the neck of a mouthwash bottle is recyclable but often overlooked and tossed.

Or ...

Investigate the various types of recycling in your area and try them out. For example, our area has a metal recycling center. Let us know what you found out and whether it changes your recycling habits.

Each night that I did the dishes I thought about the different things I was rinsing out to be recycled.  I tried and tried to think of uses for them around the house and for the most part I came up empty.  Therefore I'm going to just tell you about some of the ways I already re-use and one way that I did re-use something new.

Kleenex boxes
I wish I could take the credit for this idea but I read it on a different blog awhile back (and of course I don't remember which blog it was).  Instead of recycling a kleenex box, reuse it to hold plastic bags.  Yes, as much as I use my own bags when at stores, we still end up with some plastic bags in the house.   I have used two kleenex boxes for this idea.  I remove the plastic part from the box, then I stuff as many plastic bags in it as I can.  The previous owners had put a storage unit on the inside of the closet door in our laundry room, the storage unit has several shelves to it. I have the boxes on two of those shelves. It's out of the way and organized.

Mint Tins
I've been re-using mint tins for a long time now.  There are so many different things they can be used for, here are some of the ways I use them.
I have two at work. One holds change and one holds my nail clipper/file.
I have a handful in my sewing box.  One holds bobbins, several hold pins, one holds needles, etc.  There are so many uses here because sewing accessories are so tiny.
I also have a handful in the office.  These hold things such as paper clips, push pins, rubber bands, etc.  It keeps my office supplies super organized and didn't cost me anything extra. 

Plastic food containers, such as sour cream, cottage cheese, etc.
I do what most of you do, I keep some on hand in my Tupperware cabinet for guests to take home leftovers. However one thing I also use them for, that I'm not sure many have thought of, is for paint.  When painting a room, I think we all put paint in something smaller for when we are doing the trim.  Why not use a sour cream container instead of buying something?  It can also be re-used for other painting projects because once the paint is dry, the paint easily peels off the plastic. 

update - I just thought of this!  Probably because I was thinking of the glittery mess I made the other day in my craft room.   These small plastic containers would work great for storing glitter, flock, and embossing powder (and other similar items).  I was trying to put some glitter back into the smaller glitter container and of course it didn't all fit and now there is glitter everywhere. Why not use one of these containers and just store the glitter in there!  Easier cleanup and I bet it would be easier to use too.

My newest re-use item for the week, a cool-whip container.   It's just big enough to hold all my running accessories.  I hadn't thought about how disorganized I was with them until I was looking at the cool whip container and trying to think of something I could do with it. Then I happened to glance on my ipod that was on the kitchen island.  Then I glanced at the inhaler and the lip balm that was on the bar (also in the kitchen).   Hmm...running accessories are everywhere!   So I went to the office and grabbed my sports watch, then I went to the bedroom closet and grabbed my roadID.   I put everything into the cool whip container and it fit.  Now, I can't put the lid on it, but I didn't really want to anyway.   I do plan to cover the container with scrapbooking paper though..just to make it more decorative instead of just having a cool whip container in the kitchen.   Now I have this on the bar and everything is on one place.  It might seem weird to you that I would keep this in the kitchen, but let me explain.  When I get ready to leave for a run, I always stop in the kitchen to get water, so it's natural for me to put on lip balm and take my inhaler while there.  When I come in from a run, I head straight to the kitchen to make a protein shake and I always put down my ipod on the kitchen island, where it either stays or ends up by the lip balm.  Knowing that the kitchen is the one room I am always in when I leave for a run and when I come back from a run, it's only nature for me to keep all my accessories there. (and just so you don't think I'm weird and would walk around the house randomly shredding running accessories...the watch ends up in the computer room usually because I upload the data from the watch to Nike's website and need my pc to do that..then the watch stays there because I never knew where else to put it.  The RoadID I was just putting on top of my shoes since it goes around my ankle, so it's convenient for me to put it on when I also put on my shoes.) 

Hopefully this gave you some ideas as to what you could re-use items for.   I know that I'm personally looking forward to what others came up with during this past week.  I really need idea's for food cans. I recycled 4 of these during this time and couldn't come up with a use for them.  I'm feeling very un-imaginative. 

Oh, and one last thing.  Have you noticed those dumpsters at schools and churches that are for paper? I don't know about you but it seems like everywhere I go in St. Louis I see them.  Well, did you know that the organizations get money for that?  I don't know how much but I assume it's per filled dumpster.   Instead of putting my newspapers and most paper in the recycling container that gets picked up curbside, I drop it off at the local schools.  It doesn't cost me anything, I'm driving by anyway, why not help them get some money.


  1. Wow ... you gave me some great ideas ... love the cool whip container idea. What I really liked, though, was the whole idea of consciously looking at every item and thinking about how it could be used. If everyone did that, I wonder how much less would end up in a landfill. I didn't know about the recycling at schools ... what a great idea! Thanks, Kris!

  2. Thanks! I didn't realize the schools got money for the paper recycling either until my Grandparents mentioned taking the paper to one, and then I looked into it.

    I thought of another use for sour cream (etc) containers too..I'm updating my list to share with others.

  3. I really like the Kleenex box idea! Like you, I am trying to limit my plastic bags. I have then in a larger bag that I never know where to put. Now, I can neatly store them until I take them to my local super market for recycling!

  4. Inge - so glad you are able to use one of my ideas! I couldn't believe how much nicer it made the shelves in the closet.