Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Oddball Re-purposing

I am trying so hard to get back into recycling and repurposing everything I can.  I kind of got out of the habit over the winter.  Well, I decided it's time to get serious, and this year is my year to drastically reduce waste.

There are a lot of oddball things that just seem to have no other use.  Guess what?  Many do.  Here are a few ideas.

  • Save all the 'crumbs' from the bottoms of candle jars.  I keep LIKE scents together in baggies (winter scents, summer floral).  I use them in my melt pot instead of buying melts.  I also use them to make new candles - all original scents!
  • I keep the corn cobs from squirrel corn - and barter with my brother.  He runs the cobs through his chipper and I loan him my small tiller (he'd do it any way!).  I then put those chips in the garden.
  • This year I will be using cobs from any fresh corn I get to make cob jelly (kind of like corn syrup)
  • I make apple jelly/syrup with the peels and cores of apples I used to make sauce with.  I have also just learned how to make my apple cider vinegar.  Will do that this year.  You can do this with about any fruit - peaches, pears, etc.
  • Citrus peels can be used in a citrus cleaner - I love that stuff.  I also like to zest the outer peels and freeze the zest for later use.  Citrus peels can also be candied or used in homemade marmalade.  Pulverize in water and pour around plants - minerals.
  • Sour milk (I hardly ever have that happen) - is frozen into cubes and put in a marked baggy.  I use in making biscuits (like grandma did).
  • I keep all rubber bands and twist ties (no matter what they come on).  I keep them in bags and they are ever so useful
  • Egg shells - I wash them off and keep in a bowl at the sink.  They go DIRECTLY  into my garden - as does coffee grounds (all year).
  • Egg shells can also be dried and pulverized and used as bone meal on plants.
  • Keep the water from boiling eggs or potatoes - let it cool and use to water your house plants or ANY plants.  Lot's of minerals in that water.
  • I use my scalding canning water (when I am done) to pour on weeds in the fence row.  They die EXTREMELY quickly.
  • Broken clay pots are great to use a drain material in the bottoms of other pots.  ALSO can use squished pop cans or  Styrofoam peanuts for drainage.
  • Cat food cans can be used to make adorable pin cushions (use crunched foil in the ball) - it sharpens pins and needles.  Cat food cans can also be used as candle holders for homemade candles (a pretty piece of ribbon around outside or paint).  They also make great MINI baskets (think a tiny gift for workmates).  They are great as office/kitchen drawer organizers.
  • Keep those pull tab lids  - wash and flatten - then use as plant name tags for the garden.  Hang from tomato cages or tack on to stakes.
  • Bags from rock/bark/dirt etc. use as a weed barrier. 
  • I have been keeping large (16 lb. or bigger) cat food bags and critter feed bags that are made of a plastic like material.  They make the cutest reusable bags.  Just cut a sew.  All other large bags can be used for trash collection.
  • I cut the wrappers on 12 packs of TP on the side (shallow end) and use them as small waste basket liners.
  • TP and paper towel rolls can be cut and used as seed starter pots as well as cardboard egg cartons.  These can be planted directly into the garden without disturbing the plant roots.
Notice the sheen to the plasticized type bags.  These are incredibly  strong and can be sewn into cute grocery bags.  They sell them at flea markets here for a chunk of change!!!  Any type of bag can be used - chicken feed, wild bird seed, pet food, etc.

These make great seed starter containers.  Can be planted directly into garden.
How creative can you get with trash??  Let us know some of your repurposing ideas.  I have more that I will post at a later date - but I am curious how creative everyone is!!  We all need NEW ideas!  Let's help save this beautiful earth!!!


  1. After the coal burner ash has cooled in a metal trash can, we bag it in empty dog food bags for the refuse pickup. But we have to store the empty bags also in a tin can for the winter garage mice like to chew on them!

    1. Do you ever use any of your ash in your garden? I have a pampas grass plant that I cut down and burn on garden every year. I also use ash on my berry plants.

    2. There is some discussion on the internet about using coal ash with garden food. I think most of it focuses on the potential for heavy metals.

      I definitely use wood burner ash though! Even what we get from cooking outdoors on our briquet fire (wood briquets, lump charcoal). It all goes in the compost pile and gets churned up in the spring and then a put-to-bed-for-the-winter churned up in the fall for the winter.