Whether you are an old pro at recycling, or you are just trying to learn about ways that you can use it in your own life, there is a lot of information available out there for people like you, who care enough about the environment to do things that will make a difference for the better.
- Kleenex boxes – Store plastic grocery store bags in them. You can then grab the bag just like you grab a tissue out of the box.
- Envelopes – Carefully open the envelope and turn it inside out, so the address is on the inside. Re-glue or tape the flaps down. Or make your own envelopes out of scraps of paper, wrapping paper, newspaper, old phone book pages, or wallpaper scraps.
- Happy Meal boxes – Save the boxes, and when your child needs to be cheered up, make them their own happy meal! Add your own nutritious foods and a favorite toy. Or pick up inexpensive items from the dollar store: stickers, special pencils, etc. as the toy.
Recycling facts report that fifteen years ago, the U.S. recycled roughly fifteen percent of our waste materials, which today has doubled to more than thirty percent!
- Tennis ball – Split it and hide your valuables inside.
- This is a tip to help keep the children happy. Coffee cans (big ones) – Make toy “stilts”! Poke holes (with a can opener) on either side of the can and thread a jump rope through and they can walk on the cans while holding the jump ropes. Cool!
- Old clothes – Use to make quilts, pillows, and blankets. Always save the buttons.
20 years ago there was one curbside recycle program in the U.S. There are now over 10,000 with 12,000 drop off recycling sites.
- Nylon mesh bags from veggies – Cut the mesh into several pieces and use for plastic scouring pads to clean your dishes.
- For impossible to clean pots and pans – fill with water and a used dryer sheet, let sit for awhile, and stains will be easier to clean. Also great for removing soap scum from shower doors!
- Empty paper-towel roll – Store extension cords inside. For small cords save the toilet paper roll.
Did you know there are now over 450 recycling material recovery facilities that buy recyclable material, sort it, clean it, and sell it again to companies who then use it in production?
- Frisbees – Use as paper plate holders at a picnic.
- Mouse Pads – Use as a paint pallet. Use acrylic, oils, or most any paints. Wash when done, and reuse!
- Newspaper – Use to clean windows, line trash cans, wrap presents. Use in place of peanuts when mailing packages, as fire starter, or as garden mulch.
Recycling facts state that one of the most important parts in the recycling process is you – the consumer. As you buy recycled products and then recycle them again, you continue the cycle.
- Shoulder Pads – Use them to make padded hangers. Just sew a pad on each end of the hanger.
- Wallpaper books/samples – Use to make book covers, decorative envelopes, or wrapping paper. Or make your own beautiful envelopes: take apart any envelope you have, and trace the pattern onto the back side of the wallpaper, then fold and glue or tape.
- Film canisters – For those of you that haven’t gone digital yet. Store small items such as buttons, sequins, and small nails, tacks, etc.
Recycling glass can be done if it is clear and unbroken. Broken glass or ceramic pieces cannot be recycled because they are too hard to sort and process.
- Pantyhose – Use for ponytail holders, to secure plants, or buffing your shoes.
- Coffee filters – Use to clean and polish silver, or as a replacement for cheesecloth or paper towels.
- Glass jars & bottles – Use as a vase, for canning, or melt and pour wax in for candles.
Metal cans, lids, bottle tops, etc. are all candidates for recycling. Just make sure you clean them first. You cannot recycle magnetic metals, full cans, or cans that have paint or other hazardous materials in them.
- Plastic grocery bags – Donate to local Salvation Army. They deliver meals on Wheels to elderly and are a non profit organization and need bags to put food in to deliver.
- Baby food jars – Fill with salt or cornmeal and use for paperweight, use for crafts, and for storing small items. Wonderful for use in the garage or in a sewing room. Even in the office for little things, paper clips, etc.
Also use the baby food jars for individual Jar Mix Gifts: 1 cup of coffee mix, 1 cup of hot chocolate mix, or 1 cup of tea. Decorate jar, glue on ribbon, and attach gift tag with instructions.
Plastic is another great recycling product. Find plastics that are marked number 1 or 2 and the recycling symbol. Lids are not always made of the same plastic, so check them for a number. If it is not marked, then it is not appropriate for recycling.
- Socks can be used in crafts, to hold soaps, or to wash the car. They can also be used to dust the furniture or the chandelier with all the crystals.
- Soap Wrapper – Place it inside your shoe cabinet or shoe box. It’s a cheap way of filling the air with a nice smell.
- Pill Bottles – Use to carry pins, vitamins, or fill it with Vaseline to use as lip gloss.
Newspaper is a one of the primary recyclable materials. It can be recycled if it is clean, dry, and not moldy. To recycle newspaper, tie it together with natural twine or pack it tightly in a brown paper grocery bag.
- Junk Mail – Put it through paper shredder and use as packing material when shipping gifts.