Before you chuck it, think! What could I use this for?

I hate waste. Of anything. I get annoyed when people take large amounts of food then leave it on the plate, throw perfectly useful and usable items into skips, say things like, ‘It doesn’t matter if you buy cheap clothes and they only last a season. You can just throw them in the bin and get new things’ ( a quote from the hairdresser yesterday). I make my cheap clothes last as long as I imagecan and try to buy decent quality secondhand when ever possible!

My wallet cannot afford to throw stuff away and, more importantly, neither can the planet. We only get one of those. We really need to start looking after it.

Fortunately a frugal lifestyle is also a planet friendly one . We don’t buy what we don’t need and we don’t waste stuff!

imageSo, I was playing a little game with myself whilst I was having my hair cut. What use can I find for items to extend their lives? Rather than throw something away, or even recycle it, how can I reuse it?

These sprang quickly to mind:

Bread and fruit bags- once they are emptied of their contents they can be used as sandwich and freezer bags
Loo roll tubes – I used these around my leeks to blanch them last year, but for children’s crafts they present endless possibilities. You can also grow seeds in them and plant then straight out
Black bananas – you like cake, right ? Over ripe bananas make the best cakes and muffins. You can freeze them in their skins until you need them
Apples/ any fruit past its best – cakes crumbles, fruit sauces for meat, fruit puree
Ring pulls/beer cans – having seen George Clark’s Amazing Spaces on TV I now know that these can be strung together as decorations, fly curtains, etc. The chap featured actually clad his whole house in used beer cans and it looked fantastic! Personally I would never drink this much but if you work in a pub …?!
Stale bread – bread sauce, gazpacho, breadcrumbs, bread pudding, bread and butter pudding
Crayon ends – melt them down and pour into moulds for multi coloured jumbo crayons
Soap ends – melt or squeeze together and keep using
Veg peelings – great for stock
Old sheets – dust sheets for DIY, Halloween and Roman toga costumes
Old towels – rip up for cleaning cloths and dusters
Leftover rice – use to thicken soups and stews, mix with cheese and vegetables and bake, make a risotto or rice salad
Old jeans, cut down for shorts, use as patches, turn into cushion covers and all sorts of craft projects
Cooked veg- freeze and add to soups and stews
Bones – they make fabulous stock
imageThere are so any items that are worth keeping as a kids’ rainy day craft box: ends of wool and string, lolly sticks, odd bits of coloured paper, the wrappers from a box of sweets, milk bottle tops, ring pulls. My children loved this on a rainy day.

Over to you: any ideas to add to my list?

2 thoughts on “Before you chuck it, think! What could I use this for?

  1. I’m with you on saving a recycling. We have a recycling center here, but the only thing they do not take is glass. We use empty jars for items in the garage, and I reuse good ones for storing jam, etc. If you buy good quality clothing (on sale, of course), you can usually get a few bucks out of them at the resale shops. Or you can make life a bit better for someone by donating to many of the available church second hand stores. The soaps at the hotels…if unused take them for donations to overseas projects.

  2. I love to reuse and recycle but could I make a plea that toilet roll innards are not used with children due to the possibilities of infection. Sounds daft I know, but in my previous life we were not allowed to use them after an outbreak of lurgy which was widespread and nasty. I am currently making some festive decorations from recycled tshirts.

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