Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. From a young age, we are taught the “three R’s” which can help save you and your community money, energy, and natural resources. While each tenet is important, the most effective way to reduce waste is by not creating it from the start. Reducing and reusing are the most effective ways to live sustainably. If you take a look around your home or office, there may be items that can be reused instead of recycled or thrown in the garbage. Here are some of our favorite ideas to get you started.

In the Garden

Your garden is an excellent place to reuse some of your household items. For starters, composting is one of the best ways to prevent food from going to waste. Any fruit or vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds, and even tea bags can be added to your compost pile, producing rich, nutrient soil for your garden. Also, save your paper/cardboard egg cartons to create homemade seed starters. Keep some milk or water jugs on hand as well to create your own slow drip- watering system. Simply poke four holes equally spaced apart on the bottom of the jug, bury the jug next to the plants you’d like to water with its mouth exposed, and then fill it with water. Refill the jug when you notice it’s empty. If you want to increase the bird activity in your backyard, you can make homemade bird feeders out of plastic pop bottles.

In the Kitchen

The kitchen is a hub for items that can be reused. Glass jars can be used over and over again to hold pantry items and even leftovers. Or, keep them on hand to decorate your dining table – fill them with water and float a lit tea light candle in it, and you have an easy DIY centerpiece. Egg cartons can be reused here too. They can help you store individual portions of cookie dough, meatballs, and more in the freezer. Speaking of cookie dough, do you have a recipe that calls for a greased pan? Did you know that you can use the butter residue on butter wrappers to do just that? Once your butter stick has been all used up, place the wrapper in a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge for a quick pan greaser later.

Do you have a condiment or dressing that’s running low? If it’s stored in a plastic bottle with a screw cap, keep the bottle on hand for the next time you’re making pancakes. Place the batter in the bottle, put the cap on, and then you can squeeze out the batter in the portions you’d like, with very little mess.

In the Bathroom

If your groceries come in plastic bags, save them in an empty tissue box and then use them to line your bathroom wastebaskets. Glass jars can be handy in the bathroom too – they are the perfect containers for your homemade beauty products. If you’re feeling crafty, you can upcycle your old towels into a DIY bathmat.


If you run out of cleaning spray, try a homemade cleaner recipe and put the solution in the previous spray bottle. Keep your old toothbrushes to scrub small nooks and crannies during your cleaning routine, such as your grout. Mascara wands can be repurposed in this way also. Old t-shirts and towels make excellent cleaning rags. Wadded up mesh vegetable bags can also serve as scrubbies. Even dryer sheets can be reused in your cleaning routine as dusters.

Miscellaneous Ideas

Save your toilet paper rolls to organize cords and cables and keep them knot-free. You can then place them all in an old shoe box to keep them organized. Shoe boxes make great containers to organize items in your closets and drawers. If you want to decorate them, try wrapping them in wrapping paper or hot gluing jute rope to them. Old newspapers can absorb odors, so try placing them in your wet shoes or workout sneakers to decrease their smell. Plastic grocery bags can be used as protective packing material in your next fragile mail delivery.

As you can see, with a little bit of creativity, you can reuse lots of things in your home. Doing so can be good for both your wallet and the environment. If you have additional Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling tips, we’d love to hear them. You can share them with us by emailing stories@ n

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap