Re-use – 3 things you don’t need to recycle

© Kit Heathcock

Whenever I feel overwhelmed by all there is to do to make my lifestyle as green as possible, I go back to the fundamental  mantra for green living: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

Recycling is essential, but first on the list is Reduce. Reduce the amount of non-essentials you bring into your home in the first place, in the way of packaging, cheap plastic freebies from supermarkets and take-away food chains, promotional leaflets, junk mail and so on.

Then comes Re-use. Re-use anything you can possibly think of before it hits the recycling bin. This is where you need to get imaginative and creative. Re-using jam jars for your own preserves is one obvious example, but there are so many other things that will keep resources in use for longer and so reduce the carbon footprint of each item. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Jam jars – besides your own jam making, jam jars have a multitude of possible uses: vases for posies of herbs and garden flowers; water glasses when you break the last of your conventional glasses; funky containers for party jellies/jellos; lanterns for festivals; pen-holders….

T-shirts – worn T-shirts can also be re-used in many ways: holey ones can be cut up into squares for all-purpose cleaning cloths; they can be cut into strips for rag rugs; they can be used for stuffing cushions or toys. T-shirts in reasonable condition can be re-purposed as skirts, nighties or kids dress up outfits.

Envelopes – Plain envelopes in good condition can simply be re-used with a blank label covering the address. Envelopes that are slightly worn can make good receptacles for collecting your receipts together every month. Torn envelopes are the perfect size for telephone notes or for shopping lists; simply use a paper clip or other clip to keep them all together in a handy place and grab one whenever you have the urge to make lists.

Got any other great ideas for re-using common household items? Let me know in the comments, so we can share all our  best green living tips here!

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