Instead of throwing these items away, try some handy home DIY hacks and make them into something new!
While we Ecophiles try our best to always reduce, reuse, and recycle we are all guilty of throwing away things that we could reuse from time to time. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell which items will be useful in your everyday life and which will just cause clutter. A simple rule of thumb to remember is that hard plastics and glass are almost always reusable in some way in your kitchen, bathroom, or home. Here are some with easy home DIY tricks to help you along.
If you forgot to bring your re-fillable container to the grocery store or had a sneaky iced coffee and ended up with a plastic straw, here are innovative ways to reuse that product. Less waste means a happier planet!
Turn Jam Jars into Drinking Glasses
While this may seem an obvious choice, it’s something I still have to remind myself. Glass jars are the easiest products to reuse because glass lasts a LONG time and is extremely durable. Glass is also easy to sterilize, all you have to do is rinse out the residue of the previous product and then boil the jar in water.
It doesn’t have to just be jam jars you can also reuse pickle jars, olive jars, mayonnaise, peanut butter, pasta sauce, the list is endless. A lot of products are switching to glass packaging as it is easy to reuse and recycle. Plus, you’ll never have to buy a drinking glass again!
Cut or Melt Plastic Straws into Jewelry
Plastic straws are a huge epidemic in the Western world. It is estimated that American alone use 500 million plastic drinking straws a day. That is a lot of waste for a product that is largely unnecessary. These plastic straws are small so they easily end up in our oceans where we do not want them to be. While I recommend you use metal or glass drinking straws in your daily life there is always that one restaurant or takeaway place that gives you plastic straws anyway.
When you find yourself stuck with a plastic straw, make a craft out of it. You can easily cut plastic straws up into small beads and lace them onto a piece of string for a fun bracelet. Or, if you really want to get crafty, you can melt plastic straws together to create really interesting pieces. There are a whole host of crafts that can be done with plastic straws that prevent them from ending up in a landfill.
Reuse Old Chapstick & Deodorant Containers
If you’re all done with a tin of chapstick or a tube of deodorant then don’t throw it out! Store-bought packaging can easily be repurposed to hold your own homemade chapstick or homemade deodorant. This way you’re not only saving money by re-using the same packaging but you’re also preventing it from becoming trash.
Not only are you saving money but you’re also avoiding putting a whole host of nasty ingredients like parabens, aluminum, triclosan, phthalates, and artificial fragrance onto the sensitive skin under your arms. If you make your own deodorant you know exactly what ingredients were used.
Laundry Lint & Used Cooking Oil becomes Fire-Starter
If you use a standard electric dryer then you probably generate some serious laundry lint. Laundry lint is often seen as a wasteful nuisance but never fear, there is a great use for lint. If you save your laundry lint it will definitely come in handy the next time you go camping.
Lint is highly flammable, which is the reason we remove it from our dryer in the first place. If you need some easy tinder look no further than a wad of dryer lint. It does burn fast, however, so I recommend soaking it in a bit of used cooking oil (from your last go at homemade french fries) so that it maintains its burn long enough to help your logs catch fire.
Shoe Boxes & Tissue Boxes Turn into Storage
Save your little boxes! Boxes, regardless of what they’re made out of, are incredible for storing a whole host of things from jewelry, shoes, clothes, cards, holiday decorations, you name it! Often people stress out about keeping small boxes in their home because they can pile up but I always find a use for a little box in my home.
A great tip is to layer the boxes inside larger boxes. Not only does that save you space but it also creates sized compartments within your storage boxes which means extra organization!
Cardboard Tubes Can Organize Your Wires
This trick has absolutely saved my electronics. While there are dozens of ways to reuse toilet paper and paper towel tubes, the best way is using them as separators for your electronic chords and wires. We all have that box of random wires that go to something, be it a phone charger or a laptop, and they tangle very quickly. But cardboard tubes will change that fast.
All you have to do is cut square out of the top of the tube and a square out of the bottom of the tube and wrap the chord around it snugly. Then, take a sharpie and write what the chord is for on the tube, that way you never end up keeping a chord from a laptop you used ten years ago. Do this with all your chords and then place them in a storage box (as described above) or a drawer. Not only have you reused and recycled, you’ve organized!
Citrus Peels into an Air Freshener
While many people enjoy freshening the air in their home with commercial sprays, they often contain chemical pollutants and toxins that linger. Plus, commercial fresheners smell artificial and can irritate your lungs. Instead, peel yourselves your citrus fruit of choice (oranges, grapefruit, lemon, lime etc.) and infuse your peels with high-proof vodka for two weeks to make your own homemade (and natural) air freshener.
Take the infused vodka and mix it with equal parts distilled water and combine that with any combination of essential oils you like as well as fresh herbs of your choosing. You can safely spray this into the air to make a fresh and immune-boosting air freshener.
Melt Broken Crayons Down into a Candle
Crayons break, such is life. But instead of attempting to color with broken shards of crayon, gather them up and melt them down into something new. Crayons can be melted down into a whole host of things from a new crayon to jewelry and art pieces. But the best use, in my opinion, is to make a colorful candle.
I take all my shards of broken crayons and melt them together in a repurposed glass jar with a small cotton wick. It is fast and easy to make, just don’t use anything you cook with to melt the crayons in!
Old Keys and Cutlery into Jewelry
The cool thing about jewelry is it can be made out of anything. You can utilize old keys, cutlery, broken plates or tiles, candle holders, thimbles, doll clothes or shoes, melted crayons or straws, other pieces of broken jewelry etc. and remake them into something new.
Jewelry making can be done easily with tools that you probably have available in your home already (a set of pliers is a must!) but if you want the real-deal equipment it can be purchased at any craft store. Get creative!
Applesauce Cups into Mason Jar Storage
A standard single-use round plastic cup of store-bought applesauce is the perfect circumference to fit in the lid of your mason jar. This is cool because you get extra space out of your jars but you also get a way to separate wet from dry or sweet from savory.
All you need to do is use the round flat metal part of your jar lid as the top of the applesauce cup and flip it onto the glass jar. Use the metal ring to secure both snugly in place. You can put chia seeds and yogurt in the glass portion and dry granola in the top. Or, if you partake in jarred salads use the applesauce cup to store your dressings, croutons, or seeds.
There are many other ways to reuse products you have in your home with some clever home DIY hacks. If you can’t help but buy single-use products then make sure you find creative ways to reuse them.