Start Today to Recycle and Reuse To Help Save Our Planet
Recycling is such an important way to help save our planet. Recycling is more than just putting your papers and plastics into a bin for pickup when you are done. It is also about finding ways to reuse your everyday items. Taking the time to recycle the items in your home that you use on an everyday basis can go a long way in keeping our planet safe and healthy. Recycling, reducing waste and reusing can prevent pollution, because it reduces the need to harvest new, raw materials. It can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and allows products to be used to their fullest extent while reducing waste.
Learning how to recycle and reuse household items can help the environment and your local community by saving energy, money and natural resources. You just need to know how to get started!
Items to Recycle and Reuse
There are both state and national programs in place to help promote recycling and to help make sure that all people are doing their best to help the planet. However, it all starts on the individual level. One of the best things about recycling is that it is so much easier than many people think. The key to helping our planet through recycling is for everyone to do their part and to start recycling and reusing everyday home items.
In addition to knowing what to do with the items that are already in the home, there are things you can do when you are looking for new items for your home. You can buy used (you can find anything from building materials to clothing) and look for products that use less packaging. One of the easiest and best ways to do this is to buy in bulk—plus, it helps save you money. Once you have your everyday items, make sure you know what you can do to extend their life. If you are looking for some examples and inspiration, here are a few everyday household items you can start recycling and reusing today.
1. Glass Jars
Glass jars from things like pickles, jelly and canned vegetables may be common staples in your pantry, but they can do so much more when you repurpose and recycle them. You will notice on your jar that these pieces are meant to be recycled, and if you aren’t going to use them—then make sure that you put them in your recycling bin. However, there are plenty of other things that you can do to repurpose and reuse these glass jars on your own. You can keep your glass jars and reuse them to store other food items, or keep them to store small nails, buttons or other items in the home—in fact, this is one of the most popular ways to reuse old glass jars.
Those two-liter plastic soda bottles should be recycled after you are done using them. Some people don’t realize that these plastic bottles belong in the recycling bin, not the trash. If you decide not to recycle them, you can also keep these bottles and reuse them in your home. Two-liter soda bottles actually make great bird feeders.
There are also a lot of fun crafts you can do with a plastic soda bottle. For example, cut off the bottom to make the soda bottle into a stamp for crafts—just make sure to throw the rest of the bottle into the recycling bin!
3. Empty Egg Cartons
When you are done with a carton of eggs, make sure that you put them in the recycling bin. Have you ever thought about the material that is used to make those egg cartons? There is a reason why they are so unique feeling—they are made to be recycled! Some people like keeping empty egg cartons to organize small items or they just save them to reuse them for holidays like Easter. Another great way to repurpose egg cartons is to use them as a holder for small earrings or buttons in an organized manner.
Magazines are another thing that many people ultimately throw in the trash when they are done using them, but these magazines should be going in the recycling bin. There are even more ways you can reuse them, too! When you are done with your magazines, consider donating them to a local nursing home or a homeless shelter. Both of these places are in need of extra magazines as a way to help keep their residents entertained. There are also many libraries that have magazine donation bins available where you can leave the magazines you read for organizations in need.
5. Plant Seeds
Did you know that you can recycle and reuse plant seeds? There are many community gardens that are in search of unwanted seeds to help keep their gardens up and going. There are also many women’s shelters who have programs available where they welcome in plant seeds so that they can keep a group garden up and running. If you want to recycle and reuse your seeds for yourself next year—you can also put your seeds in some water and a waterproof container and keep them there for a few days, then you can dry them off and store them for several weeks until you are ready to use them.
6. Flint/Laundry Waste
That annoying flint and laundry waste that piles up in your dryer can actually be recycled and reused! So, next time you go to clean out your laundry machines, don’t just turn and throw them away. You can take this laundry flint and reuse it in these ways:
To make fire starters (after all flint is notoriously flammable).
Create pet bedding, particularly for rodents like guinea pigs, hamsters, rats or gerbils.
Stuffing small crafts.
To help prevent weed growth and erosion.
As a main ingredient in making paper mache.
To make paper (a fun craft for kids).
To help soak up spills like motor oil.
Next time you plan on throwing that laundry flint away, just think of all of the ways that you could repurpose it into something else!
7. Dish Soap Bottles
The dish soap bottles that have the squeeze top on them are a popular fixture in most kitchens, and when they are empty they should be recycled. They can also be reused. They make a great container for shampoo, crafting glue or cleaning products. The pour-out spout makes these bottles quite convenient. Another great way to use them? To create your own safe and natural cleaning solutions at home. Of course, if something happens to the bottle, you should recycle the remnants when you’re done.
8. Plastic Bags
If you choose plastic over paper at the grocery store and have a lot of extra plastic grocery bags sitting around, there are many ways you can reuse them before they end up in the recycling bin. They can be reused as a waste basket liner for small bathroom garbage bags, or make an alternative to buying new waste bags for your dog.
If you feel like your toothbrush has been used enough and is ready to retire, don’t just throw it in the trash bin when you’re done. Get ready to reuse it! Toothbrushes are a great cleaning tool for those small, hard-to-reach areas in the home such as in between grout tile or cleaning window ledges. They are also great for floors and cleaning in the bathroom.
10. Old T-Shirts
Sometimes, no matter how much you love your old t-shirts, there comes a time when you can no longer wear them out. Don’t just throw your old t-shirts into the trash—reuse them. There are a number of ways that you can recycle the old t-shirts in your home. You can donate them to a homeless shelter or an organization like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If your shirts are so warn down that they can no longer be worn, you can also repurpose these old t-shirts as rags for cleaning.
Old t-shirts even make a great alternative to a towel for your long hair. You can wrap your wet hair up in an old t-shirt after you shower and enjoy the absorbing powers that cotton t-shirts have.
11. Old Dishwasher
If your old dishwasher is past its days of use—don’t fear there are ways you can recycle it. There are many companies out there that will help remove appliances for you for recycling. Plus, by replacing your old dishwasher with a more energy efficient option is good for the planet too!
The steel in these appliances can be recycled and steel is not only the most recycled material in the United States, but most appliances are made up of about 75 percent steel. Plus, most major utility companies will provide you with a credit if you are recycling your old appliance in favor for a more energy efficient one.
12. Wine Corks
Once you finish off a delicious bottle of wine, there are several things you can do with the cork from the top of that wine bottle. Cork is a very sustainable material and should be recycled. While of course you can make crafts out of wine corks, you can also donate your corks to programs like ReCork. This organization is North America’s largest natural wine cork recycling program. It encourages people to donate their wine corks so they can be repurposed into products including shoes!
It is Time to Start Recycling These Home Items
Now that you have some inspiration for ways you can recycle and reuse these everyday household items, it is time to start looking at your home items in a completely different way. Remember, there are things you can do with these items in your home when you are done using them. Many of them you can simply place in your recycling bin for pick up, but all of them can be reused for different everyday uses around the home.
Karen A Mulvey is a personal social blogger and mom with 14 years of experience in the every day world of motherhood and sustainable product research. Karen is on a mission to help everyday families select sustainable, non-toxic organic products, stop stressing about uncertainties on sustainable home goods and apparel, and start living the life they’ve always wanted.