From refurbishing old furniture to ditching plastic straws, there are plenty of environmental hacks people have been adopting. But so far, it’s not enough—the average person still creates almost five pounds of garbage each day. So in a year, that amounts to over 1,600 pounds of waste per person. This skyrockets up to 6,570 pounds per family of four.
The point is, to really step up your sustainable lifestyle game, you need to make the most out of the items you use each day. Trust us—when it comes to all the stuff lying around your home, there’s more than meets the eye.
With that said, let’s explore 10 ways to repurpose and reuse common household items. Reducing household waste begins today.
1. Glass Jars
Old pasta sauce jars, pickle jars, candle containers…the list goes on. If you have empty glass jars sitting in your cupboard, there are several ways to reuse them:
- Create a gift jar: Bring your loved one a gift jar filled with cookies or donuts during the holidays.
- Make a flower vase: Turn your jar into a flower vase. You can paint it or add a ribbon for decoration.
- Freeze soups and broths: You can always put your extra chicken broth or chili in your glass containers and freeze them.
- Ferment foods: Whether you’re making a batch of sauerkraut or kimchi, any glass jar can be used to ferment your food.
2. Plastic Bottles
All those soda and juice bottles have to go somewhere. And it certainly shouldn’t be the landfill.
Plastic bottles can be reused and recycled in the following ways:
- Rainwater catcher: Cut off the top of large plastic bottles and keep them outside during rainy days. Use the collected rainwater to water your plants.
- Cooking tool: If you have dish soap or any squeeze bottles, you can use them to dole out a perfect amount of pancake batter onto your griddle.
- Planter: Cut off the top part of your bottle, paint the bottom any way you’d like, and pot your next plant!
3. Newspapers and Magazines
Here are some ways you can reuse and recycle newspapers:
- Cat litter box liners: This can make it easier for you to clean up after your furry friend.
- Firestarter: Do you have upcoming camping and bonfire events planned? Save your newspapers and use them to start the fires.
- Shoe deodorizer: Combat smelly shoes during the summer by stuffing newspapers in them. The newspapers will absorb the moisture and bacteria.
- Wrapping paper: Using old newspapers and magazines to wrap gifts can make them look pretty chic.
4. Leftover Food
Each year, U.S. landfills carry almost 140 million tons of waste. The most predominant type? Food.
- Freeze meat bones: Freeze and save leftover meat bones to make broth.
- Roast peels: You may not need potato peels when you’re making mashed potatoes or potato salad, but toss them into an oven and you’ll have a delicious, crispy snack. The same goes for apple peels. You can turn them into apple chips with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.
- Compost: If you’re into gardening, you know how vital it is to have high-quality soil. Your leftover food can be incorporated back into the earth and enrich your soil. Read all about what you can and can’t compost.
And for more food-recycling tips, be sure to dive into our clever ways to use up old food.
5. Paper Towel or Toilet Paper Rolls
Using paper towel or toilet paper rolls as storage is an easy way to reduce, reuse, and recycle them.
Here are some simple and fun examples that’ll help you become a better recycler:
- You can stuff your plastic bags or electronic cords in the rolls.
- If you have a ton of hairbands and hair clips that keep going missing, you can wrap and clip them onto the rolls.
- During the holiday season, use the rolls to hold your extra wrapping paper rolls in place. You can wrap the paper around the roll so it won’t crease.
- You can stuff the rolls with newspaper or dryer lint and use them to start cozy bonfires in your backyard or campground.
6. Plastic Bags
Aside from storing your plastic bags in paper towel rolls, you can use plastic bags as:
- Shelf and garbage liners. Just cut them up and lay them flat. They can make cleaning up your kitchen cupboards (all of that flour, sugar, etc.) a lot easier. You can also use plastic bags to line the garbage cans lying around the house.
- Sandwich bags. Instead of buying a pack of Ziploc bags, use your plastic bags (you can also use those plastic cereal bags!) to create reusable sandwich wraps. All you have to do is wash, dry, and cut them. To take this project one step further, you can sew them onto a piece of cloth and attach velcro to them to turn them into cute and fun lunch wraps.
7. Clothing and Bedding
Instead of tossing out your old clothing and bedding, use them as:
- Cleaning rags: Get rid of the mess around your home with your old clothing and bedding. You can toss them in the wash and reuse these old items.
- Wrap breakables: The next time you move, you can use them to wrap all your fragile items.
- New pillow covers: Especially if your old clothing and bedding have fun designs on them, using them as pillow covers can lighten up your living space
8. Bottle Caps
Use your leftover soda or beer bottle caps to create an adorable wind chime. You can hot glue the caps to a few strands of string and tie them to a leftover mason jar cap or an empty coffee can.
Hang your DIY wind chime outside, and it’ll sing a sweet recycling song for you as the wind blows.
9. Styrofoam Containers
Whether you’ve received a delivery box or ordered take-out, your items may come in styrofoam packages. Instead of tossing the styrofoam, repurpose them into:
- Shipping pellets: Break up the styrofoam into smaller pieces. They can serve as protection the next time you ship fragile items.
- Kickboards: Take a kitchen knife to cut a panel of foam into a kickboard for your pool.
- Sole shoe padding: Do your feet feel tired or sore after walking? Try adding a piece of styrofoam into your shoe for support.
10. Shower Curtains
Another unique household product that can be reused is your shower curtain. Here are two ideas:
- Drop cloth: If you plan on repainting your walls, you can save your curtain and use it as a drop cloth.
- Windshield cover: Frost buildup can get pretty troublesome during the winter months, but your shower curtain can serve as a windshield cover and cut down on the hassle. Cut the shower curtain to the size of your windshield and hem in magnets so the curtain will stick to your vehicle’s metal windshield frame.
Stay Green with Kiwi Energy
Curious about additional ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle? Check out Kiwi Energy’s blog to learn how you can reduce your carbon footprint and create a cleaner and greener future.