Every Tuesday evening we put in front of our house 3 big containers of trash and recycling. 3 big containers for a house of 4 (2 floors / 2 people on each floor). Every single week.
When I was growing up my mom would reuse almost everything, I don’t remember things being thrown away. She would give uneaten leftovers to chickens and piglets or she would add them to a compost pile in the backyard. She would turn her old dresses into dresses for me and my sister (my mom was a dressmaker). She would reuse jars, containers and bottles. Even today my family living on a farm in Poland (5 people) produces less trash in a month (trash pick up is actually scheduled once a month) than what T. and I produce each week. How is this even possible?
The other day when I was sorting recycling I realized that at least half of the things I was about to throw away / recycle could be easily reused and repurposed.
10 things you could use again but are throwing away:
1. Ziplock baggies
I take cookies and nuts to work as a snack. How dirty is a baggie once I am done with the nuts? Not dirty at all! It does not even have to be washed again if I am going to put nuts there again. Otherwise, if I used it for apple slices or such, it can easily be washed and reused**.
** one shall never reuse a ziplock baggie after using it for storing meat.
2. Leftover coffee and coffee grounds
Are you guilty of making coffee in the morning for just one person (or two) but actually making 3 or more cups? No? Well, I am.. I think it is pretty much safe to say that it happens every day. For each cup I make, I pour one out. Oh my, I just realized that. Wait, that means whatever I spend on coffee beans per year, should actually last me two years. Oh man, something’s gotta change here.
I like Tiffany’s ideas especially on freezing leftover coffee in ice cubes (for ice coffee) or simply refrigerating and drinking it next day. I may try that. Tiffany also has some other great ideas on how to save on coffee. Considering all of us here are frugal coffee lovers, make sure to check it out.
Coffee aside (meaning a drink), save yourself some money and use the grounds as well. They apparently make amazing body scrub. 1 cup of coffee grounds, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup olive oil. Yep, just saved myself $10 and apparently it will do wonders on my cellulite.
3. Gift bags and wrapping paper
I am always saving these for future use. Ok, even if you plan ahead and purchase them at a dollar store, they are still cheap, but free is better than cheap. So, there you go. 🙂 I am storing them flat behind a bookshelf so they don’t take a lot of room, I even go as far as ironing the wrapping paper right after unwrapping a gift. Whenever I need it, I just pull it out ready to go. Voilà.
4. Disposable plastic silverware and takeout food containers
Does disposable mean it can be used only ONE time? I lived through the Communism period in Poland when nothing was available for purchase except vinegar and mustard. Trust me, if you could buy nothing months at a time, you would consider twice before throwing anything out. Being a kid I remember cherishing a plastic cup with a marmaid on it for weeks.
Yep, these plastic cups, forks and spoons can be washed and reused and will last you the entire summer.
5. Turn last year’s Christmas cards into new ones
Do you want to put your DIY hat on? I may as well work on this one this year. I have some super cute cards that I received for Bdays and holidays that can serve as a base for this year’s Holiday cards. All one needs to do is cut out ‘the good stuff’ from the old cards, stick it to a brand new stock card and decorate it with some stickers, ribbon and whatever else suits your fancy.
6. Egg cartons
Never reused these by surely heard a LOT about it. Apparently you can turn these pretty much into anything ;). Tree Hugger has some great ideas here.
7. Shoppings bags
You gotta love those great paper bags from Trader Joe’s. They are my staple bags for collecting recycling before I can take all of it downstairs. All plastic bags serve as trash bags for my bathroom trash bin. They are perfect size.
8. Packing supplies
Are you throwing away that box you got from Amazon Prime only to buy a new one next week to ship pants you just sold on eBay? Yep, sounds about right.
9. Jars and containers
Even tough I don’t do any canning (I will be, once I settle on my dream farm) I like keeping a few empty jars on hand (from pasta sauces, store bought jams, etc). Instead of buying containers specifically for storing dry goods, I would just use those instead.
You never know when having a spare button will come handy. Even if you are not a fellow sewer or DIY nut. Before you throw away any item of clothing, take a second, cut off the buttons and add them to your ‘button jar’. It just gave me chuckle – I can almost see PG Girl’s face now – what do you mean ‘a button jar’? What the heck is a ‘button jar’? Well, this is where you keep your buttons 😉
Anything YOU would like to add to the list?