Friday, December 20, 2019

Guest Post: 7 Household Items You Can Reuse to Reduce Waste

Kate Harveston is a political writer from Pennsylvania. Her favorite topics are feminist-focused, but she writes on a wide variety of social and cultural issues. If you enjoy her work, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

Landfill pollution continues to create problems for the air and the oceans. Citizens have recently started putting increasing pressure on big corporations to reduce the incredible amount of waste and pollution they put out into our world.

These are multifaceted problems that require widescale measures to solve. However, in the meantime, we can each do our part at home to reduce waste. One way to do this is by reusing materials you'd typically discard. The holidays are approaching, and while many of us have plenty of merry things to be thankful for, this is also a time of year that’s arguably become too focused on collecting material items. It’s worth considering how you can avoid contributing to more needless waste.
Where can you get started? Take a look around you. Chances are, you can find multiple objects in every room that you can supply with new life. 
1. Soup Cans and Food Containers
When was the last time you enjoyed a bowl of vegetable soup or emptied a carton of almond milk? That container may have been designed to hold food, but that's not all you can do. You can create many arts and crafts projects with them and give them to family members as gifts.
If the winter weather has you down, you can also do a kind deed for our feathered friends by building a birdhouse. You can save seeds from your vegetables and start seedlings in the containers. You can also use them to hold other objects, like pencils and crayons. Cut a piece of paper and decorate it, then glue it to the outside. 
2. Toothbrushes
The last time you rolled up your blinds, did a cloud of fairy dust appear in the sun's rays? Chances are, you don't have a tribe of pixies living in your house. Give your blinds a professional cleaning using an old toothbrush to get between the slats. 
Hopefully, you change your air filters each month, but sometimes debris builds up on the metal slats. This buildup creates a mess quickly if you have four-legged friends — all that fur! Use the toothbrush to remove lint. 
3. Paper Towel and Toilet Paper Rolls
If you toss these into the recycling bin, that’s great! But you may actually be missing out on some of your household's best organizing tools. If you have long hair, you probably have a stash of ties cluttering up a drawer. Loop your scrunchies around a roll, and voilĂ ! Your hair accessory drawer is neat and tidy. 
The same goes if you have extension cords. Cut a small slit at either end of the roll. Tuck one end of the cable into one slit, then wrap it and secure the other. You can do the same with your Christmas lights when the holidays end. 
4. Shower Curtains 
When your shower curtain starts to get filmy, it's time to replace it. However, don't throw that sheet of plastic in the trash where it will make its way to the ocean. Instead, eliminate the need to scrape your windshield ever again by turning your shower curtain into a windshield cover to prevent frost build-up
Cut the plastic to size with a bit leftover at the top and bottom. When the forecast calls for ice or snow, tuck the base under your wipers. Secure the topside with paint-safe tape, and you won't need to shiver while you wait for the defroster to work in the morning. 
5. T-Shirts 
You can use old tees or nearly any fabric waste to create new wares. Bring new life to your living room throw pillows by creating new covers for the ones you have. Does your child's dolly need new clothes? Use the fabric to make some. 
If you know how to knit, you'll never throw out anything with yarn — new rolls cost a pretty penny. You can reuse pieces from old, worn socks to make a new pair. 
6. Egg Cartons 
Do you need a new ice cube tray? You could head to the local discount store. But why waste the additional plastic when you can create uniquely shaped ice cubes in an old egg carton? 
Egg cartons also come in handy when it's time to sort small objects. If you have a sewing kit, you can separate buttons and needles. Do you enjoy acrylic painting crafts? Save the product by squirting only the small amount you need into one of the spots. 
7. Wine Corks
Maybe upcycling the corks won't spare you the full embarrassment of taking your wine bottle-laden recycling to the curb, but these pint-sized wonders do come in handy. You can make individualized keychains using the corks, or a wreath for nearly any holiday with a round mold and some acrylic paint. Alternately, you can make a bulletin board for hanging the honey-do list. 
Reduce by Reusing Everyday Items
You can keep many common products out of landfills by reusing them for another purpose. Doing so can save you money while giving the planet a much-needed hug.

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