Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WAIT!! Don't throw that away!

In my attempt to lead a "greener" life, I've found different uses for some of my everyday garbage. Of course, you can just toss it in the trash can....but, please consider these different techniques before you do. You just might feel a little better about adding less waste to the landfill. It's possible that you'll also save a little extra money in the process or have fun crafts to complete!

1. Fabric softener Sheets & dryer lint

Yes! There are various uses for your used fabric softener sheets and dryer lint. Two great ways to reuse them before tossing are as follows:

*Rub the sheets over your clothing and even your hair to reduce static!
*Use the softener sheets and/or dryer lint to wipe down surfaces such as your washer and dryer. My laundry detergent leaks on the top of my dryer and these sheets help clean the dried up sticky mess right up! You won't have to waste a paper towel, use harsh chemicals, or use a clean rag.

2. Liquid Laundry Detergent Bottles

Think they are empty? Think again! Set your "empty" bottles in the corner until you have 2-3 saved up. Cut a hole in the bottom of the bottle (careful not to injure yourself) and pour the remaining liquid into the cap. You should have enough for 1-2 more loads of laundry!

3. Toilet paper rolls

Have little ones around? Let them decorate the toilet paper rolls and then tape one end closed. Add beans, rice, etc. in the other end and tape closed. It's best to place a small piece of paper or fabric over the holes before taping them. They now have a musical instrument to experiment with! No little ones? That's ok! Check your local schools or preschool, they normally ask for these rolls to use in projects.

4. Empty Baby Food Jars

Remove the label and clean well. Shape playdough around the jar while leaving a clear opening on the bottom and let it dry. Add little figures such as foam shapes or various other objects such as plastic cubes with words into the jar. Shake in some glitter and add water. Glue the lid onto the jar and let it dry. Now, you have your own little jar resembling a magic 8 ball! You can add a splash of food coloring to your water before sealing the jar as well. Use your imagination!

Or, you can donate the jars to local schools.

5. Broken Keychains

Remove the rings and create your own fun keychain! Again, please donate these to local schools before tossing in the garbage.

6. Soda pop bottles

There are many uses for soda bottles if you are unable to take them to the recycle bin. One of our uses might not be suitable for you, lol. My dogs LOVE playing with the bottles. My lab will play "fetch" if you throw a bottle out in the yard. I like to fill them up with water first.

You can use bottles for fun science projects, fill with water for on the go drinking, use them to water your plants, etc. Look around the internet for other ideas!

7. Candle jars

I enjoy cleaning my old candle jars out and using them for a way to store objects or even use the nicer jars as plastic floral vases. Most candles are sold with lids which make storage much easier!

8. Large bird seed jugs

5lb plastic bird seed jugs are perfect for storing items! I use mine to store flour, corn meal, and seasoning packets. There are so many great uses for these if you clean them out with hot/soapy water first. So, if you are purchasing these jugs to feed your pet birds or feed wild birds, consider reusing the jugs. They are made of thick & durable plastic. Easily able to store them inside of a large cabinet side by side.

9. Empty dog food bags & plastic grocery bags

I use empty dog food bags in the laundry room to dispose of little pieces of trash I pull out of pockets, lint, dryer sheets (after reusing them!), etc. It normally takes awhile before the bags are filled so each time a new bag of dog food is purchased, I'll take the old bag around and find other things that may need tossed to help fill up the bag before I take it out.

I use my grocery bags (I forget to bring my totes...I need to remember!!) for the bathroom trash, store clothing or various other items to donate, bringing a change of clothes, donating food, etc. There are hundreds of uses for plastic (or paper) grocery bags. If you wish to just dispose of them, please ask your local grocer if they have a bag recycling box or call around to different establishments.

Some meat processing centers use bags to store processed meats (we did!) and bags were very welcomed. Some preschool centers use the bags to dispose of dirty diapers or keep soiled clothing in cubbies.

10. Packing peanuts, empty boxes & bubble wrap

I dislike packing peanuts like the next person and I find them very wasteful but, there are uses for these pesky things. If you decide to dispose of them, I've put them in a bucket and poured hot water over the packing peanuts until they disolve.
You can use them in craft projects, moving, storing, etc. Donate to your local preschool or post on freecycle to find new owners.

Empty boxes filling up your trash can? How about the back of your pick up truck (Yes...I have been guilty of this and my husband was unhappy with me, lol). Use them to store items in. You can even decorate the boxes with fabric or paints! If you'd like to dispose of the boxes, post an ad on freecycle as there is always someone in need of boxes for moving.

Bubble wrap!! I love popping bubble wrap, it's soothing and let's face it...I love the sound. Consider this though, know that statue that you purchased for Aunt Kathy and have nothing to protect it during shipment? Yeah, I knew you would see where I was going with this. Let someone else pop the bubble wrap next time if you can resist temptation!

I hope you enjoyed reading some of the ways I use my garbage and I hope you find uses for these items as well. Our environment and world residents can use our help! Even if you're not going "green" all the way (We haven't, we're just learning to add "green living" to our life), save yourself a little pocket change and help the environment here and there. Even a little "change" is good "change"!

Don't forget to recycle your cans, bottles, and newspapers! By the way, you can use newspapers to protect items during shipping/moving, and line the bottoms of your birdcage!



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