Chewing gum as an art medium? Beer as a hair serum? Surprisingly, these items and many more are reused every day, playing a host of roles they were never intended for. Before items are relegated to the trash, individuals can think about ways these same items can be reused and reincarnated into several other purposes.
Today’s younger generations have grown up in a time when disposable items are de rigueur. But long before disposable items became the norm, men, women and children were forced to make due with items that were long past their expiration dates, even reusing them in new ways. While this practice might have been replaced by the convenience of disposable items, eco-conscious citizens can still embrace this old and environmentally friendly trend.
Find out if it can be fixed. An appliance on the fritz or a toy that has lost a part might not need to be discarded. Before finding the trash can, find out if the item can be fixed. It may take a short inquiry to the company or the work of a handyman to repair a broken item and set it right again, but such efforts are worth it.
Polish pots. With thorough cooking and oxidation, copper pots and even steel ones can begin to look dingy. Regular, old beer can be used as a polishing agent to get them to sparkle. Because of beer’s subtle acidity, it can help boost shine without staining the metal like a higher-acidity liquid would.
Embrace newspapers’ versatility. There are millions of newspapers printed and used worldwide. The average household may have one or more newspapers delivered each week, and newsprint is also used for junk mail and advertisements. While recycling does help cut down on newspapers, there are other ways to put old papers to good use. Line the bottom of refrigerator drawers with the paper to catch spills and eliminate odors. Use shredded paper as kitty litter or in bird cages. Wrap unripe fruit in newsprint to help it ripen faster. You can also place newspaper at the bottom of a planting bed before you cover it with soil or mulch to keep away weeds.
Give old jeans a new life. It’s hard to part with that favorite pair of jeans sometimes. Whether they’re stained or simply don’t fit anymore, you can turn the denim into something new. Doll clothes are easily crafted from scraps of denim. Or, why not turn pieces of denim into a durable, reusable shopping bag to take to stores? A patchwork quilt made of squares of denim can be used as a picnic blanket or beach throw in a pinch. Jeans can also be donated so the less fortunate can benefit from the clothing.
Swap and share. Before buying anything, find out if others might lend you things that you need. You may not need a specialized power tool for more than a day or so, and borrowing items can allow you to do a test drive of sorts before you actually make a purchase. There are social networking sites that enable people to connect with others to share and swap things they have. One may have a bounty of backyard produce to share while another may have a collection of paperback books ready to be read. Clothing, baby items, toys, and the like can easily be shared or given away. One of the more popular neighborhood activities these days is to host a clothing swap party, where participants bring a set number of clothing items they no longer use (that are in good condition) and everyone swaps things to refresh their wardrobes at no cost.
Recycle items to protect gadgets. Turn a child’s empty juice box into a case for your smartphone. Knit or sew a cover for your new tablet or e-reader with scraps of fabric or yarn. Remember those worn jeans from before? Make a pouch to store your GPS device so it can be moved from car to car.
When individuals think about the items they have around the house and how they can be repurposed, there is less likelihood those spent items will end up in the garbage.
If swapping items seems like the ideal concept for you, visit http://swapforgood.org/ and find out how you can get started swapping your used items for something else.
Newspapers can be put to many different uses instead of being trashed or recycled.