Other ways to reduce and reuse waste
Everyone knows the importance of recycling right and the positive impact it has on our environment. But recycling isn't the only way to reduce waste, save resources and money.
We can extend the life of many items that appear to have come to the end of their useful life by re-using them in some way. So, before you throw away something - even before you seek to recycle it - stop to think if it could be used again in the same way or for some other purpose. This will mean you get double value out of your products while helping the environment to minimise waste and maximise recovery.
Below is a list of re-use tips for around the home, school and work:
- Collect used paper and reuse the blank side for note pads, or as draft paper in fax machines and copiers.
- Reuse envelopes by placing a label over old addresses and/or use reusable envelopes for inter-office mail. Window-faced envelopes can also be reused.
- Portable USB flash drives and portable hard disks are a great alternative to burning CDs and DVDs.
- Install reusable towel units in bathrooms instead of using disposable paper towels.
- If you must use plastic bags, then there are many ways that you can re-use them, whether for their original purpose or as bin-liners, for instance. Paper bags likewise can be used many times over for their original purpose.
- Glass jars and bottles are ideal for storing sauces and jams or in the garage for screws, nuts and bolts.
- Egg cartons, ice-cream containers, margarine containers: Speak to your local school and preschool to find out whether they can use them for craft activities.
- Buy products that can be reused. This includes items that can be used for the same purpose, such as rechargeable batteries and refillable wine bottles. Regular use of these products limits the total amount of waste that you generate in your home, especially packaging waste.
- Placing coffee jar lids under your chairs or sofa is a great way to protect your carpet.
- Got a stain in your shirt or cuffs? Then rub in your stain remover with an old tooth brush before soaking your clothes.
- Make a portable dog poo shovel out of a 2 litre plastic milk bottle. Cut out a shovel shape, making sure that the lid and handle are left on the plastic shovel. Use the leftover plastic to scrape the poo into the shovel. When you get home, put the dog poo down your toilet and rinse the scoop and scraper after with a hose. It's great when taking your dog for a walk!
- Make a tin can telephone. Take off the lids and then tie two Milo tins together with a long piece of string for the desired effect - kids love it!
- Create ice blocks for your esky - fill up old milk cartons with water and freeze them.
- Want the perfect shape for a scone? Then remove both ends of a baby food tin and use the can as a scone cutter. For big biscuits, use a fruit can instead.
- Compost your food and garden waste at home - it makes great fertiliser for your garden. Place anything organic except meat, fish, bones and animal droppings in there.
- Get yourself a worm farm and feed it all of your food scraps. 1kg of worms can eat and recycle 1kg of food every day, giving you nutritious worm castings for your plants.
- Clean plastic pill bottles can also make great salad dressing containers as well.
- Can't cut gift wrap paper in a straight line? Then put it in an old cling wrap box that has metal serrated edges - your problem will disappear!
- Want to keep the kids amused? Empty roll-on deodorant bottles can be used as paint pens for small children. Wash the plastic ball and bottle, then fill with paint and replace the ball and lid. When storing, keep it upside down with the lid on tight.
- Clear plastic lids from fresh cream containers can be placed under shaving aerosols to prevent rust appearing on your bathroom surfaces.
- Make your own gift wrap! Wrap your presents in the comic pages from your local Sunday newspaper, magazines or comics. Kids (and even adults) love it!
- Old wet-wipe containers make great string dispensers - try it out!
- Open up the bottom of a used milk carton and use it to plant a tree seedling in. The carton will protect your seedling from weather and pests and will degrade as the tree grows.
- Going camping? Plastic milk containers are also great storage devices for sugar, flour and other foodstuffs.
- Has your pillow gone flat? Then why not fold it over, stitch it together and put it inside a new cushion cover.
- Give unwanted items like old clothes or furniture to charity shops that want them, or donate your unwanted items to your local op shop.
- Got an old electric blanket that doesn't work? Just remove the wires and it can become an under-blanket instead.
- Purchase your fruit and vegetables loose instead of pre-packaged in plastic.
- Take your own bag when you shop and refuse plastic bags or ask for a cardboard box.
- Rather than buying bottled water, reuse your bottle by pouring in your favourite refreshment. Plastic bottles can be used multiple times as drink bottles for work, school and when exercising. This can save you time and money.
- Use newspapers or empty bread bags for bin liners.
- Use reusable containers rather than cling wrap to keep food fresh.
- Buy second hand items.
- Save your corks from wine and shampoo bottles and give them to , 218 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042.
- Use ball point pens that take refills, or a fountain pen with a refillable cartridge.
- Take your own mug to places where tea/coffee is served in disposable cups.
- Use old stockings to tie up tomato plants.
- Give away your unwanted items and in return receive items from other people for free. Help minimise waste ending up in landfill. Log onto www.freally.com and start exchanging today.
- If you are renovating, ask your tradesperson to resell or reuse items.
If you have any other re-use tips for around the home, school of work, please email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and help minimise waste and maximise recovery.