Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Reusing & Recycling Plastics

Plastic has been the buzz word for a while now.  Big talk lately has been about plastic straws!
I understand the need to reduce our plastic use - but I really don't understand the HUGE hoopla about straws.  Heck some officials are calling for arrests if you are seen in public with a plastic straw!  REALLY???  They don't have really important matters to tend to?

I recently saw a place here that now is serving paper straws - but they are in plastic covers!!!  Drinks still come in plastic cups with plastic lids - but straws are the concern. 
I don't want to get hounded by any political or extreme environmental comments - I know this is all important and we really need to get away from plastic.
We need to stop and really think of each purchase we make.

Here are some ideas for reusing and recycling those items we have in our homes.
This past week I 'saved' a lot of individual pop bottles from the trash from my neighbor.  They gave me all their individual bottles.  I thoroughly cleaned and filled them with filtered water for future use (my SHTF storage)!  These smaller bottles and 1 and 2 liter pop bottles are much better for storage than milk jugs.  Milk jugs are made a plastic that really breaks down easily and will eventually leak and leach nasty chemicals into your drinks.

I added 24 bottles of water to storage last week for FREE and saved items from going to the landfill.
Pop bottles, jugs that fruit juice comes in, that store bought tea comes in are all heavier and much better for storage.
2 Liter bottles are also great for storing dry items like pasta, bans and rice.
2 Liter bottles can be turned into wine racks or  magazine /paper racks.  Use your imagination!!

Do you get those plastic bags from the grocery?  I try to always use my own bags - but sometimes run in and forget.  I use those bags for small trash cans.  They are good for pet poo-poo cleanup.  If you keep them - you may start to hoard - as many stores are starting to  eliminate them.  Kroger just announced that they are going to start gradually eliminating. 
From what I understand plastic bags have been banned from many of our western states for years.

The bags are often cut into strips and used to crochet.  Rugs, hats, bags, scrubbies, etc.  can be crocheted from plastic.   I have seen lots of real neat items made from them.  There are groups that crochet mats for the homeless from all the bags.  Great reuse!

Any kind of plastic container can be turned into storage.  Coffee containers make great dry storage containers.  You can paint them on the outside or add contact paper to pretty up.  If for extra storage in pantry - just add a label.  They stack nicely too.
I use old spice container over and over for my dried herbs or for kitchen spices (I buy in bulk and keep smaller containers in kitchen.)
Bottles are great for storing dehydrated items as well.  I do use a lot of glass for storage - but I reuse a lot of heavy plastic as well.

I store chopped chives in a bottle and keep it in the freezer.  Whenever I need chives for cooking, I simply shake out what I want!

       How about a cute bird house or feeder?  Get creative and make some FREE and pretty gifts.

Plastic or plasticized feed bags (bird seed, etc.) and many pet food bags are great to recycle into reusable grocery bags or totes for the beach or even catch-all purses.  There are ladies at the area farm markets that sell them for good money every year.  They are sturdy and cute.  I want to make some to use as my "goody" bags for Christmas.

I just love this idea.  I get so many pretty bags from different types of bird seed and then dry cat food.
Great toys can be made from old plastic items.  I can imagine a bowling set from bottles, or paint them into imaginary characters.  They make great storage for all small toys.  Larger coffee containers would be great and light weight for holding Legos, tiny cars, etc.  They could be personalized and all!
Smaller bottles can have  items inside and be used as a rattle for kids or play toys for cats.  LIDS HAVE TO BE TIGHT so no chance of them opening.  I wouldn't do this for dogs as they will chew it.

I buy dish soap, soft soap, and laundry detergent and shampoo in BIG bulk bottles.  I keep smaller bottles to refill.  It may not be the best solution - but it keeps them out of the trash, and I am not buying umpteen smaller bottles!!
I have many scoops made from old laundry bottles and milk jugs.  They are great for scooping seed - dirt - whatever you need it for.

I see a lot of yards with luminaries during Halloween and Christmas.  Gallon milk jugs can be used.  Cut off part of top, add sand, and place a votive candle in the sand.  You can also paint spooky faces or snowmen or trees on them and they will look so pretty while glowing!

EDIT:  I forgot to mention gallon ice cream containers!  They are nice to make Easter baskets out of - good for making kids goodie baskets at holidays - great collection containers for kitchen scraps going out to compost - holding bird seed or pet food, gadgets in the garage  - oh my, the list goes on and on.........

Folks we just need to be AWARE of our every purchases - so that we are not contributing any more than necessary to the litter of the earth.
REUSE AND RECYCLE everything you can.
There are just so many neat ideas out there and so many super ways to be CREATIVE with trash!!!!!
Check out Pinterest for TONS of ideas.

WHAT are some of your creative reuses for plastic items?
I love getting new ideas!!!!!!!




  1. good post. We went to Cedar Point last week and they had no straws or plastic lids for the cups. It felt so weird but really not a problem. My sister lives in Hawaii and they've already banned the plastic bags a couple of years ago. They have gotten used to it. I carry those bags that fold up in a pouch in my purse. I carry three and always have a bag. Just takes a little thought. Have a good day Cheryl

    1. Thanks Vickie. I think it will get easier and easier for all of us as time goes by. There are just so many things in this world that come in plastic. It is kind of crazy!

      Maybe we all need to get ourselves metal straws that we take with us!
      Have a good one.

  2. In one of my groups, someone posted a picture of a little cloth roll-up thing she had sewn, with little pockets, and it all rolled up and tied shut. She kept it in her purse, and kept silverware in those little pockets, along with a reusable straw, so she didn't have to accept any single use plastic at the store. I thought that was a GREAT idea. My purse is very tiny, but if I ever move to a bigger one, I'll absolutely make myself one of those things!

    I'm trying to be more conscious of single use plastics. I reuse what I can (plastic utensils get washed and reused in my son's lunches until they break, etc). I really wish there were a better alternative to food in plastic bags (like tortilla chips), or vegetables that come in trays wrapped in plastic (or those plastic vegetable/fruit bags). I hate buying something that I'm just going to throw away at home, that really bothers me.

    1. What a really neat idea! That would be very easy to make and would make a wonderful gift. Just gave me an idea!

      It is aggravating all the single use stuff. I wash plastic cups and utensils whenever we have them. I have several styrofoam cups that I keep and wash and reuse.

      I don't like to buy salad mixes or bags of veggies - I try to buy those that you have to bag yourself and then I use my net bags.
      Plastic is every where.
      Keep on working on it!

  3. Food for thought on straws: So many are used annually in the US alone they fill 46 school buses.

    I agree. precycle, recycle. I wish when I started using cloth shopping bags nearly 35 years ago, that I had tracked how many paper and plastic grocery sacks I avoided. I know it's a ton because I acquired cloth bags until I had enough for a big grocery trip. That was 7 large cloth bags. Likely would have been 12-14 plastic d/t weight.

    The new recycling rules are making me crazy. For instance, I can't get olive oil in glass :-( or mustard, mayo, ketchup....all containers now in the garbage. So sad!

    1. Elle makes me wonder how many buses would be filled with plastic cups and lids then. It is truly crazy how much plastic is out there.

      I don't like it either and plastic is just so wasteful and damaging. I can and do buy olive oil in glass containers - but no on condiments. So many items could be put in glass, but I am sure the manufacturers don't want the extra cost.

  4. Cheryl, I finally got my internet hooked up again and I tried to reply earlier. At the comments section it would only give me the option to post my official Google name, which is my husband's full name. I don't want to do that. I just want my own Debby in Kansas signature. Do you know how I can do that? Yours seems to be the only site that isn't giving me the option. Thanks!

    1. You are showing up as Debby in KS now. I really don't know what could be the problem.
      I am sorry if you are having problems. I am not very savvy about the behind the 'blog' stuff.
      You are showing up correct on this comment.

  5. I haven't used a plastic disposable straw in ages. I have several reusable cups that I use. My daughter got me metal straws for my birthday. They work great and make everything seem extra cold which I love.

    My daughter also made me produce cloth bags. I bring them to the store as I do my reusable grocery bags. I try to never take plastic bags. So many items come in them so I also use them for dog cleanup. Bread, english muffins, and rice cakes all have plastic bags on them. My sister gives me hers too so there is never a shortage. The stores where I live now charge 5¢ a plastic bag so it is more incentive to not use them. I try to buy used items or better quality items instead of cheap plastic items that will break in a few months. I just filled up some soda bottles with water. Hurricane season is upon us. It is a very cheap way to store water.

    If everyone was more aware of what they used everyday, it would make a big difference.

    1. Good for you!!! charging for bags is a great incentive to get people to use cloth. I love it. We used to have a store that gave you 5 cent credit for every cloth bag you used. They are since gone.

      You are so correct - everyone needs to be more aware and charge harder. It would make such a difference.

  6. I have a reusable silicone straw that I use at home. We have several of those on hand. I like the idea about you saving those bottles from your neighbor, that is a great idea. Also, I've read that bowling pins can be made from pringles cans. There used to be a site that was specifically made to show how to reuse things, but has since been deleted. She took an old peanut butter jar and used it to make over a bird feeder where the plastic part was no longer usable. There is a photo of it on my blog if you want to see it.


    1. Love that so many people are using reusable straws. that is neat.
      Oh there are so many things that can be done with our 'trash' that is useful. It just takes a little time and imagination.
      Thanks Belinda.

  7. I am an environmentalist. It was my career. I know the reasons about the straws. No, I do not talk about environment at all on social media. Politics, religion & environment topics seem to bring the worst out in people. I am like "That is my career that I spent years researching. People that is your opinion." :) Good way to ward off things like that, lol.

    I think threatening people with arrest is terrible. Education not arrests. Sadly, my town does not want to get rid of bags and actually discourages us from using our own. Straws are a plenty and recycling is expensive and hard to do. I don't like my town, lol.

    I agree recycle, recycle, recycle. I am big on giving things new life. I know some people will laugh or side eye me for this. I have this silly view that those things were life at one time or history and should be respected.

    1. Yes some subjects can bring out the worst in people and 'haters' can be every where. I try to just give new ideas for things and not be critical to anyone else's opinions.

      I agree - education is the answer. Sad of you city. Most grocery stores here have barrels at the front of the stores that allows you to return bags for recycle.

      I try to find new ways for things too. I want to keep the planet nice for future generations.
      Keep up the good work.

  8. Good morning, Out here in Oregon we are encouraged to recycle our soda bottles at a recycles place. We receive 10 cents per bottle. I do recycle my bottles and plastic as much as I am able as China doesn't take the plastics like they used to. I try very hard not to buy anything that comes in a plastic clam shell but if I can't avoid it I reuse it. Very hard to get the food packagers behind the concept of no plastic. Especially the veggies and fruit producers.
    I think the people that do the Imperfect Produce have the right idea, they put everything in a cardboard box.

    1. We used to have rebates on glass bottles for pop - but that ended years ago - as did glass bottles!
      I wish we had a rebate as some other states have - it sure would help promote recycling

      It is very hard to not find fruits and veggies in plastic. I think we all need to quit buying 'ready made' or 'ready for use' items - that would eliminate a lot of waste. If we just picked out what we want and then reuse mesh bags it would be best.

      There is just so much aste in this country.

  9. I am a big offender when it comes to plastic straws. I use one a day and buy mine from IKEA. They are longer than regular straws and fit in my reusable double-walled stainless steel cups (with plastic lids - they haven't made lids in stainless yet). I get them IKEA because they are longer. Just yesterday I looked into paper straws the length I need. I can buy in bulk - 5,000 for $750 or I can find them in Michaels for 14 for $4, neither is acceptable to me. When I don't use a straw my front two bottom teeth become horribly tea-stained. There are loads of kids who have drinking and swallowing problems (my nephew among them) who use plastic straws (kids tend to bite them), to get their liquids. Stainless steel straws are not good on their teeth. I don't use a dishwasher and am always afraid to use any product I can't get my hands into to clean. I know that stainless straws come with a cleaning wand, I just don't trust them. There are so many ways to recycle plastics. I saved the top off a can of powdered lemonade. I am cutting it down this evening so that I can make a drain for my canned tuna and to make macaroni/tuna salad for the next couple of days. It will be washed and reused probably forever, saving me the cost of one of the plastic ones in the stores. I have been using a plastic iced tea gallon jug from the store when I make iced tea for myself. After so many uses, it needs to be bleached, so it is sitting in my sink right now with some detergent and bleach. If it doesn't look clean when I get home, out it goes and my 2 quart glass pitchers get put back into service. At least I can get my hands in them to wash them. I also have 2 "food boxes" that are glass with lids that have a little lip that set into the container making it air tight. They are very old and were probably from the 1950's. I found them in an antique store I mainly use them for leftovers.I also use wide mouth quart and pint jars for storing leftovers. Just a few of my thoughts.

    1. I can understand the need for straws for different ailments. I never thought of that. I have a bunch of plastic straws here - that I have received with drinks - I do reuse them. I scald with hot water and they are reused many, many times. I feel they get plenty clean as liquid is all they had going though them.

      I like 'making' nee items too. No since spending money and bringing another item in the house - when something else will do.

      I LOVE those glass storage containers from the 50's and 60's. They are so neat and reusable and they fit nicely in the frig. I use glass jars a lot too.

  10. I think the straw thing is silly too.
    It’s the trash from all fast food that is a problem. On the rare occasion I take some of grands for fast food, I am just amazed at the trash on our table from our food wrappers, containers, bags, disposable silverware that is wrapped, little containers or condiments, napkins, cups, and lids, Oh of course those pesky straws. I am thankful I don’t contribute to that mountain of fast food waste very often.

    Milk jugs can break down and leak in a short time. I know this because a stored emergency water in our hall bathroom in some. It was a mess I didn’t discover until it had runined a shelf.

    1. It is pretty amazing how much trash fast food creates - I agree.
      Yeah I found out that milk jugs leak after a while too. I still have several put back for flushing and the sort - but they are now sitting on the basement floor! That is why I decided to start 'begging' others for their pop bottles. They are much heavier.