Most people throw way too much in the trash. A little creative thinking can go a long way in the mission to reuse and recycle. Here is a list of items that can be saved instead of tossed.
Dish soap bottles or any other bottle that can be squeezed can be thoroughly cleaned and used in various ways. Pancake batter can be loaded into the bottle. The perfect amount of batter can be applied to the griddle. Filling an iron with water is much easier with the use of a squeeze bottle. Hard to reach plants can be watered. For the outdoor chef, who uses charcoal fire to grill, water in the bottle can be used to douse a raging flame flare up.
Egg cartons, especially the well-cleaned Styrofoam variety, can serve many purposes. Cooks can use them to freeze individual servings such as herb-butter patties made from scratch, meatballs, or cookie dough. They make convenient gelatin molds that turn a plain dessert into a delightful treat. Golf balls can be stored in them. Bake sale and yard sale cashiers can use them to organize change. Seedlings for the garden can be started in egg cartons. Cardboard cartons are suitable for plants because they are biodegradable.
Beautiful mosaic art can be made from floor tiles. Unused remnants can be placed in a cloth bag and carefully broken into pieces. On a solid surface arrange the tiles into a pattern. Floor-tile adhesive is used to secure the pieces in place. Allow adhesive to dry. Using a putty knife, push grout into cracks between pieces. Excess grout should be wiped away with a damp cloth before it is allowed to set. An old table top will look like new with some large pieces strategically placed. Trivets can be made out of smaller pieces of tile.
There is a purpose for all those socks that have lost a partner to the hungry washing machine. Small toys can be kept in some of those socks. Paper clips, screws, and other odds and ends can be kept conveniently organized and stored. Putting old socks over shoes, when painting or doing some other messy thing, can save the life of the shoes. If a repairman or maintenance man shows up without protection for your floors, offer him a pair of these fine creations. Toys for cats and dogs can be made from old socks. Your dog will like one stuffed with a tennis ball. Your cat will appreciate catnip put in a sock and then sown closed.
When a T-shirt begins to look more like a sieve, it is time for it to be retired but not thrown away. A shirt that has some kind of sentimental value can be made into a decorative pillow. T-shirts can be used to line pet crates. A cleaning rag does not come cheaper than a repurposed T-shirt. When in the process of moving, use the shirts to wrap breakables.
Plastic bags can be stuffed inside paper towel rolls for storage. Those rolls can be used to keep from tangling extension cords. Roll them up and put them through the paper towel rolls. Hair clips and headbands can be organized with the use of the cylinders. Linens can be kept crease free by rolling them around the tubes. Placing the rolls inside of over-the-knee boots prevents unsightly creases from developing when the boots would otherwise slouch somewhere in the back of the closet.
Food scraps can be converted into compost. Egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps, grass, and leaves can be collected. Compost can be made from things that come from nature. Fat from animals and meat should not be composted. Making a frame and collecting debris is the approach taken by many. Others throw waste directly on the garden area. Yet another method is burying the waste into flower containers or the garden.
It may seem odd to recycle dryer lint, but it can be done. It needs to be kept out of garbage containers, and it cannot be recycled. Dryer lint and paper under logs in a fireplace serve as an excellent fire starter. Another fire starting product can be created by stuffing toilet paper rolls with lint.
Paper can also be reused in many ways. Because it is biodegradable, it can be used as compost. Paper that is blank on one side can be used for scratch paper or children’s artwork. Shredding paper turns it into good packing material. Envelopes can also be reused. Coupons can be put into a used envelope when shopping. Sending children’s lunch money to school is another way to reuse envelopes. They may also be used as containers for small objects that are hard to keep organized. Schools sometimes use manila envelopes over and over for inter-campus mail.