Since the last 1970’s, the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” has been a part of the global mindset. We all know why the 3 Rs are important for the environment but we don’t always know how to implement them in our day to day lives.
How to Reduce
This is always the first place to start. It is all about finding ways to reduce the purchase and consumption of items that are in some way disposable. It could be the item itself is disposable after a single use e.g. paper towel or it is purchased in disposable packaging.
How to Reuse
Here we are finding ways to clean up disposable products and use them in other aspects of life. The kitchen, the garage, and your car are the best places to reuse disposable products.
Why Reduce and Reuse is Better Than Recycle
Most people focus on the recycle portion of the 3 Rs, but recycling has its own baggage. Recycling plants need energy to dismantle and re-manufacture the plastic, paper, and other materials they are recycling.
As a result, reducing and reusing disposable products is more cost effective, and solves the core issue that recycling is meant to address. If there is less waste to begin with, there is less to recycle.
While reducing the purchase of disposables is the perfect place to start, it is not always practical and feasible. There is always going to be some items that find their way into your home. So the next thing is to look at ways of reusing them.
To get you started, below is a 105 creative ways to reuse disposable products. These ideas help to reduce the amount of disposables by replacing or reusing them more than once. This goes a long way to help minimize waste, plus they are a lot of fun 🙂
1. Purchase reusable and sustainable products
- Instead of taking the to-go-cup from your local coffee shop, bring your thermos or favorite reusable cup (this is mine) into the shop to get your morning caffeine jolt.
- Buy fabric shopping bags to bring your groceries home. Avoid using the paper or plastic option at the checkout counter.
- Invest in a good quality sports water bottle to decrease your use of bottled water.
2. Keep your plastic shopping bags
Let’s be honest, even if you have bought reusable shopping bags, you forget them. So when you have to use plastic bags, keep a stash in your car or kitchen cabinet to use as small waste can liners and emergency shopping bags. Try to reuse them as much as possible before putting them in the bin.
3. A candle stub will help start a fire
Don’t throw out those candle stubs. Light them and place on kindling to make starting a campfire easier.
4. Wash and reuse Ziploc sandwich bags
When you eat your lunch, don’t throw the bag out! Turn it inside out, give it a rinse and leave it to dry. I stick them on the tiles and once dry, they drop off.
This can save you a lot of money in Ziploc bags as they can be used again and again.
5. Old DVDs and CDs make great coasters
If you are a crafty person an old DVD and CD are a great canvas for fun drink coasters. You can cover a disc with fabric, ribbon, or whatever you can imagine.
6. Chilled used tea bags are great for facials
A chilled wet tea bag will aid with puffiness around your eyes. Use one chilled tea bag for each eye.
7. Use plastic bags as packing material
Moving soon? Plastic bags make great cushioning material for your fragile items. Layer the bags into a box and wrap your keepsakes in bags to protect them.
You can also use plastic bags to pad mail shipments.
8. Paper egg cartons are great plantable seed starter packs
Keep in mind that this tip is only for paper egg cartons. Fill the cups with potting soil and plant your seeds, keep it in a well-lit windowsill until the seeds sprout. Then, plant the carton to begin your garden.
9. Chop up blocks of Styrofoam to create packing peanuts
If you have a large amount of styrofoam to work with you can create your own packing peanuts for mail shipments or your next move.
10. Melting candle stubs will seal up a half-used can of paint to keep the paint moist and useable
Instead of throwing half-used paint out, melt candle stubs into the can and a poo