Recycling saves on the energy you consume by buying new products, but it still uses a little energy to recycle, melting down the metal, plastic or glass to reform it, not to mention an arduous cleaning process.
Before you think about recycling, rather see if you can reuse it!
If you can reuse a product at home, then you are taking a whole step out. Here are some ideas for reusing objects from around the house for a variety of new purposes, some wacky, some clever, some fairly obvious, but all innovative in a way.
• Planks and crates or bricks can be stacked into simple shelving for your books. These sort of shelves were popular with students in the 70s but still have a rustic minimal appeal.
• Worn car tyres make excellent garden swings when strung on a strong piece of rope. Best attached to a sturdy branch on a garden tree, you sometimes see these overhanging a pond or river, but this is for older, more adventurous types. Car tyres can also be stacked to make planting pots for medium sized trees.
• Washing machine drums make equally practical planters and have a certain futuristic look about them out of context. They also make great outdoor fire pits!
• Toilet roll inners can be glued together and cut to make handy desk tidies. Attractive when painted and a fun activity for children. A paper plate makes a good base. Kitchen roll inners can be used for larger objects like rulers.
• Glass bottles can be carefully cut off at the neck with a junior hacksaw and sanded down to make pretty and novel vases.
• Old tea chests make functional and rustic stools, and when the top is upholstered can be a nice firm seat for a kitchen table.
• Why not build a breakfast bar or outdoor table out of a reshaped old door, cut and sanded.
• Wine bottles can be good candle holders, and look great once covered in wax.
• Elastic bands are always useful, so best kept in a ball that you can bounce when you’re bored. They’re also good for making catapults with forked twigs, but make sure your children are safe using them, there’s a lot of mischief potential with a catapult. They can also be sewn into old tea towels to make plastic bag dispensers. Check online for instructions, or go it on your own, rolling up the cloth and sewing down one end and cinching around the band. String works too and is stronger, but is less elastic, obviously.
Once you’ve started doing this you’ll find hundreds of different uses for things you were going to throw out. Eventually finding new uses for things becomes more fun than buying new, and in this economic and environmental climate there is a reason there is such a growing trend of creative, crafty people making their own new things out of old and worn out products, as well as learning how to repair and mend what they have or tailor it to current tastes and needs. Have fun thinking up new uses for everyday items! You’ll be saving everything from buttons to broken books in no time…
Let me know if you have any other great “reuse rather than recycle” ideas in the comment below?
About the Author: Sam writes for businessenergy.com who help businesses get the best price possible for their energy suppliers