Eco-Living Magazine

Five Things You Thought Were Trash

By Karlaew1 @simplelivingfam

Five of the Most Reusable Household Items

Five Things you Thought were Trash
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. These are the three “Rs” of a better environment. Many people may try to reduce the use of hazardous materials which can affect the environment, while others vehemently recycle old electronic waste, plastics and cardboard materials. Most people, however, skip the middle option: Reuse. People consider most old items trash. Used coffee grounds = trash. Worn out blankets = trash. Broken mirrors and mirror frames = trash.

Objects you initially consider trash may actually be reused inside your home. Coffee cans may be reused as small storage bins. Old Chinese takeout containers can transform into an ambitious art project. Worn-out toothbrushes can turn into cleaning products, but instead of cleaning teeth, they can clean hard to reach areas of your bathroom. Any student pursing a degree in environmental studies or biology teacher can inform you the great deal of help reusing old products can be for the environment. Here are five such examples:

  • Coffee Grounds – When your refrigerator, shoes or even home become infected with repugnant smells, your initial reaction is to run to the supermarket and buy some type of spray to mask the scent. Don’t waste your money. Old coffee grounds can serve as the perfect odor reducer. From your smelly fridge to your stinky gym shoes, coffee grounds can eliminate the toughest odors. Simply grab a baggie, fill it with your used coffee grounds and stick it inside your fridge or shoe.
  • Okay, so perhaps coffee grounds to replace your standby box of baking soda may not be for you. You can also reuse the coffee grounds outdoors. Forget buying expensive bug spray. Brew up some coffee and stick the grounds into the cracks around the foundation. The scent of coffee keeps insects away from your home. Instead of wasting $15, $25 or even $35 on bug spray, coffee grounds can do the trick.
  • Tired of having to spray your plants with bug spray to keep them from being eaten to death? Coffee grounds mixed into the soil keeps it healthy and free from bugs. As with the bug repellent, grounds in the soil have the same effects.
  • Blankets – It’s stained. The fabric no longer shines as it once did. It may even have rips around the exterior. Don’t just throw away an old blanket—reuse it for a quilt. Sure it may have stains. It may even be ripped. You can always buy fabric cleaner and expel that ugly stain.
    You said the fabric is ripping? Sew it back together. Want a fun side project? Rip up portions of the blanket and reuse it as one quadrant of a new quilt you’re making. Old blankets don’t have to succumb to the bowels of a landfill. They can become whole again with minor alterations.
  • Furniture – Most wood-based furniture will break down over time. The wood will wither and even break. Instead of writing it off as trash, reuse it. Sure, you could break down the wood into pieces and buy new furniture. Why not turn the old wood into firewood? Instead of throwing out the old glass that comes with the broken coffee table, see if you can put the glass to use in a side project.
    Some parts of an item you can salvage; other parts may have to go to the landfill. If you can salvage a piece of wood, it can go toward building a new item like a bookcase, a drawer or even doorstopper. These old items can be the perfect item for an art project for school or just as a hobby.
  • Electronics – Okay, most electronics do contain electronic waste items inside of them, such as batteries and light bulbs. Most people throw away their old electronics either to upgrade or because the item no longer works. If your item belongs to the latter group, you can salvage the old pieces and reuse them in new items.
  • Take, for example, a broken iPod. The glass or plastic screen you can dump as many cannot be reused into anything new anyway. What you can keep are the old parts inside the device: for example the touch panel that senses the finger gestures. The hard drive can be sold to vendors or go into a new computer, while the processing chip can help power another device you want to use it for (maybe to operate a small robot or a tablet computer you’re building).
    If you don’t have technical abilities to disassemble and reuse the old parts for another electronic, you could always just resell the broken device. Certain companies pay $40, $50 and even $100 for an old electronic device – depending on condition. You may not be able to reuse the device, but you can collect some of your original investment back.
  • Containers – Everyone has old shoeboxes, unused plastic containers or empty coffee canisters. Don’t just throw them into the garbage bin. Reuse the items for storage. Water jugs make for the perfect piggy bank. Shoeboxes work great as a place for keeping necessary receipts. Plastic containers, old soup cans and even spaghetti sauce jars can become some type of storage bin for paper clips, rubber bands and even miscellaneous knickknacks.


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