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Christ 12-17-2008 10:28 PM

Recycling tips: Why not?
I've done some thinking in the past few years.

Having lived in the country for most of my responsible life (past age 6), I'm pretty used to burning my garbage, rather than bagging it and having someone come pick it up and haul it away.

The point of stating that, was to state this: After thinking about it, I've come to the conclusion that I can't think of a single thing - that will burn reasonably in my back yard firepit - that isn't EASILY recyclable.

Given that, I've decided that I should add some kind of helpful input to the community, both here and at large, so I've started this thread.

I'd like to see everything that everyone has done at home to help with recycling. Not the REDUCE part. Not the act of bagging/tying it up and sending it away with the rest of the recyclables.

I want to see how you're - WE'RE - all REUSING things in OUR households.

For instance:

1.) The large box of Kix (favorite cereal) measures nearly 10" x 12" w/h... the average sheet of legal paper is 8.5" x 11". Empty your box of Kix, cut it in half along it's depth, so you have two pieces that are both 10"x12"x~2" deep, and tape cover/decorate them as necessary.

Take them to the office with you, or place them in your home office, you've now created mail boxes.

Any cereal box can easily be cut and covered nicely to create anything ranging from a bookend (with weight) to a magazine holder.

2.) Drink coffee? Grow plants?
* 1tsp of used coffee grounds will act as fertilizer for many household plants, due to the nitrates and caffeine in the coffee grounds.
* Keep an old butter dish handy with some clean, rinsed coffee grounds in it. When you're especially greasy (from doing your EV swap), take a finger full of coffee grounds and some dish soap. Works like pumice, only cheaper.
* Put 1-2 OZ of used (dry) coffee grounds in an old sock. Place it in a closet to help ward off odd odors.

3.) Cleaned/dried/crushed eggshells make a great additive to create texture on some projects.

4.)The average prescription pill bottle holds ~$10 in quarters... which might come in handy some day. (Always remove the label from old pill bottles, even OTC pills.. someone might mistake whatever's in it for whatever the label says.)

5.)What do you do when you're done with the butter dish? Do you purchase plastic storage bowls? Think about it for a second, then get back to me. ;)

These are very small steps, but every little bit helps. Maybe you can think of something else?

I leave this thread up to you, my friends. Anything you can think of that might aid the effort!

There is only ONE condition:

Whatever you post here must be an opportunity to REUSE something that is normally considered "trash" by the general public.

Piwoslaw 12-18-2008 01:21 AM

Christ, thanks for starting this thread:)
My Mom has been holding quarters in a pill bottle for the last 15 years. And coffee grounds end up in our compost pile.
Geez, I'd like to add something new to your list, but for the last 10 years I've been trying to reuse so hard that it's second nature by now and I don't even think about it. I'll have to look at what I'm doing around the house and then I'll give examples.

Christ 12-18-2008 01:33 AM

Bean Can - Perfect desktop pen/pencil holder. --Thoroughly cleaned, covered with glued on fabric (old t-shirt/jeans)

cardboard bits - Christmas ornaments. -- help children design and cut out shapes, 2d or 3d, and hang them with paper clips or bits of string

CD's - Coaster/mirror <(--- long shot, but it works

Old vinyl records? Make festive chip bowls! (Preheat oven to ~230*F, place Pyrex* glass bowl in oven with vinyl record on top, add weight to middle of record, when it starts to sink, take the whole thing out of the oven, and press on the weight, forming the sides however you please.)

Anyone have an idea to reuse cigarette butts?
.....I was thinking bleach them, spread them out, frame them in mesh. (makes a very effective air filter for induction applications)

Solid bits of otherwise tattered clothing - patches or patchwork -- Sew a Patchwork quilt from your old jeans/shirts/sweaters, etc... stay warm in the winter with less strain on your heating system!

More to come!

NiHaoMike 12-18-2008 02:57 PM


Anyone have an idea to reuse cigarette butts?
Don't smoke! It causes unnecessary air pollution.

Formula413 12-18-2008 05:45 PM

Not exactly re-using trash, but I often repair things that most people would throw away. A needle and thread can save many things from the landfill. I repaired my bike saddle bag this way, re-attached the faux leather palm that was falling off a pair of mittens, sewed velcro on a laundry bag back into place. JB Weld has rescued several items, including both my sideview mirrors. I also just noticed that my pen jar is actually a box from a printer cartridge, I've had it forever and never really thought about it.

Christ 12-18-2008 06:02 PM


Originally Posted by NiHaoMike (Post 79254)
Don't smoke! It causes unnecessary air pollution.

I actually quit 3 months or so ago (lost track of exactly how long, cuz I don't care enough to count, i don't consider it a great achievement, even after having smoked for over 10 years.)

Fact is, there are still 1000's of cigarette butts a day, even in your town, being tossed. What can we do with them?

Ryland 12-18-2008 06:32 PM

I recently bought a house and moved in to it with two roommates, our house warming party produced a few handfuls of trash, a tin garbage can 3/4 full of glass bottles and about 8 aluminum cans from the 50 or so guests, we did have to wash a counter full of glass caning jars that had been used to drink out of but over all it was a very clean party.
We've also noticed that we can fill up the compost bucket in about a day and a half and it takes over a week to fill up the 10 gallon garbage can with trash and almost twice as long to fill up the recycling bin of the same size.
Coffee is bought in bulk so we can fill up the jar instead of ending up with a pile of coffee cans or bags, do the same with alot of other foods as well so the trash never enters the house in the first place.
wast paper is torn in to smaller sheets to be used as shopping lists and notes.

trikkonceptz 12-18-2008 07:08 PM

Here is a creative endevour for the recycling buffs ... why not make confetti from you paper waste. Like old bills, junk mail etc. Rebag it in oversized chip bags or just about any other cleaned out plastic bag and re sell it on E-bay or craigslist.

I mean, where does confetti really come from? Why not make your own and re sell it. The packaging is irrelevant and once the public realizes how its made you could be an eco-hero.

Christ 12-18-2008 09:14 PM

I like that idea trikkonceptz! I can see a few potential issues, but that would be for the entrepreneur to work out...

I'm rather disappointed that this thread hasn't had more replies though... I thought alot more people re-used things in their daily lives.

I'd love to see some creative ideas on how to re-use things that would otherwise be wasted, especially with the holidays coming so quickly...

What can we re-use the wrapping paper for?

What about product packaging? Has anyone ever used vacuum formed plastic packaging for a craft?

C'MON PEOPLE! Even if it's something we won't all do, SOMEONE ELSE in the world might read this, and be able to do it!

Christ 12-18-2008 09:22 PM

I remember in Middle School - Junior High.

Home Ec class. The year's project was a Locker Caddy. We took an old pair of jeans, cut sections out of them, and sewed them together to make a locker caddy that had pockets in it, to help organize our lockers. Later, these were reused in my home to organize mail, hold the remotes on the side of the couch (dad's side, of course... :rolleyes: ).

Formula413 - I also try to fix stuff as often as I can, not so much with sewing and such, but I'd rather fix or part something than junk it, any day.

I wonder how many people realize what recycling through a service actually costs? It's certainly cheaper by all accounts for all parties involved to fix or reuse things as much as you can, as often as you can.

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