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Since the introduction of the EPA’s Reduce, Reuse, Recycle campaign, many have adopted recyclable waste management systems, are remembering to bring reusable bags on their grocery trips as more cities adopt plastic bag bans, and are becoming aware of their own ecological footprint. But as this great Footprint Calculator released by the Earth Day Network shows, we can always do more to consume less. Plus, by re-using items in your home, you’ll save money. Here are 10 home items you can save from the trash and instill with new life and purpose many times over:

1. Glass Jars, Containers or Cans

Glass and metal are easily recycled, but why not cut down on excess packaging and waste by reusing them? Glass jars and old coffee canisters make great containers for bulk pantry items, desk organizers or bathroom containers. And there are a million ways to reuse mason jars beyond food canning —  even many pasta sauce brands use jars that are ideal for food preservation. Got a lot of leftover narrow necked beer bottles? Make them into a set of drinking glasses! Or how about a wine rack, or display shelves out of coffee cans?

2. Gallon Jugs, Plastic Soda Bottles, Takeout and Other Plastic Containers

Beyond using jugs and bottles to store homemade natural cleaners, with a little modification, you can turn those plastic containers into useful household items like this plastic bottle broom! Make bird feeders out of old soda bottles, or food bins, shoe cubbies and dustpans/scoops out of plastic jugs. How about making reusable self watering seed pots or a cell charging station out of a shampoo bottle? And don’t throw out the takeout containers! Many are sturdy, dishwasher safe and excellent for reuse in the kitchen.

3. Newspapers, Magazines, and Paper Bags

Over run by paper? There are lots of great ways to re-purpose all the paper in your life. Get creative and create amazing and useful woven baskets and trays out of magazines and newspapers. Recycle newspapers, grocery bags and magazines as wrapping paper. How about some compostable seed pots? Or DIY envelopes out of outdated calendar pages? And if you’re really ambitious, make a gorgeous wood-like flooring with paper bags.

4. Clothes, Towels, and Bedding

Don’t toss out old towels, clothes and bedding! Cut them up into washable cleaning rags! Or check out these excellent Pinterest ideas for ways to upcycle old clothes into new! Why not turn those torn t-shirts into beautiful braided rugs? If you’ve got sewing skills, turn old flannels into resuseable dusters.

5.  Seeds

At the end of the growing season, let a couple of your veggies and flowers go to seed, collect the seeds and save them for next season for free! Here’s everything you need to know about harvesting and saving seeds to reuse again and again!

6.  Laundry Waste

If you use them, don’t toss out those old dryer sheets! They make excellent dusting rags, especially for sucking up pet hair. They work great for scrubbing off soap scum and polishing chrome too! You can even make them into a dress if you’re really determined. Collect the lint from the dryer to make recycled paper or paper mache’, or even compostable seed pots.

7. Plastic Bags

When the box of cereal is empty, save the inner bag, wash, dry and cut to wrap sandwiches. Plastic bags can be used a pet waste bags, or trash bins, or you can reuse them at the grocery store. Better yet, upcycle those plastic bags into nice-looking, sturdy reusable grocery totes

8. Bathroom Items

Save old toothbrushes to scrub hard to reach places, like grout and underneath the fixtures on faucets. Or clean old toothbrushes and reuse as eyebrow brushes, hair color applicators or for cleaning tools, electronics or other delicate or hard to clean items. Empty toothpaste tubes can be re-purposed as a funnel by cutting off the bottom, or as an frosting tube for icing cakes. Empty deodorant bottles are perfect for refilling with this DIY Deodorant Recipe!

9. Broken Dishes

Collect broken china to re-tile outdoor tables, flower pots, paths, or as a unique border for your garden. Use broken china to make a key fob or jewelry. Plant small plants in old stained coffee mugs.

10. Old Furniture

Refinish or repair rather than tossing old furniture. Re-purpose broken furniture or disassemble and reuse the wood. Hang drawers on the wall to create shelves, shadowboxes or bulletin boards.

With just a little ingenuity, you can cut down on your ecological footprint, save your pennies and re-purpose your trash! What clever home items can you think of to recycle and reuse?

Image source:  Peangdao/Shutterstock

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17 comments on “10 Home Items You Can Reuse Over and Over Again”

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Song Tann
9 Months Ago

But the lid rusts after awhile and leaves rust stain around the groove. Bit annoying on that part.


Reply
Simon Nicolas Coster
9 Months Ago

YEAH BUT THE LITTLE WEASELS IN AUS HAVE LEARNT TO OPEN THE JAR LIDS AND GET TO THE BEANS


Reply
Kungaa Joseph
9 Months Ago

that is what I have been doing.


Reply
Vita Searle
9 Months Ago

Like it is a new idea?


Reply
Anna Allen
21 Dec 2016

Sadly, some people don't think so worth reminding. I don't use any plastics (try at least) as plastic leaches into food so glass jars are used for almost everything to do with food.

Tina Gonnermann
9 Months Ago

I've found lots of uses for empty jars such as storeage for dry goods, leftovers from dinner, dried herbs & spices, buttons, elastics, paper clips, nails, nuts, bolts...they're great because you can see what's in the jar.


Reply
Cate
3 Years Ago

I really like the self-watering seed planters that you link to. Can I add that it\'s better not to use a tumble dryer in the first place though? These use loads of energy.


Reply
Beth Littell
3 Years Ago

I reuse a toothbrush but sanitize it in boiling for 2 min once a week especially after an illness.


Reply
Kathryn Stevenson
3 Years Ago

I recycle everything on this list already but the broken dishes. I rarely break dishes and if I do - I don't intend on wearing it!


Reply
Mickey Dye-Ishikawa
3 Years Ago

I do not like going to your site to read interesting info to have half the page covered up in advertisements that you can't move to read the article.


Reply
Michael Krueger
3 Years Ago

The recipe calls for 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to 4 cups of water. I do 1 1/2 cups of water to 2 Tbsp of vinegar. Use 1-2 cups per wish. Depending on hair length.


Reply


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