• Green Iowa AmeriCorps

How to Reuse and Repurpose Everyday Items


Hello there! If you're reading this I hope you're having a great day! My name is Mari and this is my second official blog post. My first one was "10 Easy Sustainable Swaps" so if you're interested in easy ways you can help out the environment, go check it out!


In today's blog post, I'm going to be sharing with you ways to repurpose some common everyday items so that you don't have to throw them away. I hope you enjoy reading and find this helpful!:)



Glass or Plastic Jars

Jars and other containers can be used in so many ways! At my house, we use old salsa jars to store popcorn kernels and other food in our pantry. We also use old mason jars as cups to drink out of. If you search Pinterest, you'll find plenty of craft ideas, as well.




Old Pill Bottles/Altoid Tins

I like to use these to store small things like bobby pins, hair ties, etc. Not only do I use these at home, but they also come in handy when traveling. When I was a football cheerleader and we traveled to away games, I kept old pill bottles full of hair ties, clips and other necessary things.




Toilet Paper Rolls

Empty toilet paper rolls can be used to make a pretty simple craft for both kids and adults: bird feeders! This project is not only fun to create, but it also gives the birds in your area a tasty treat. All you need to do is cover your toilet paper rolls in peanut butter, (or sun butter if allergies are a concern,) followed by the feed, and then hang it up in your preferred location using string.

You can also find other uses for toilet paper rolls. Again, Pinterest has some pretty cool ideas:)




Plastic Grocery Sacks


I recently came across the idea of fusing grocery sacks and I was blown away. I had never heard of the idea before and I think it sounds pretty cool. Fusing plastic grocery sacks involves ironing them together (in a safe way) and creating a material that you can use to make anything you want. You can make reusable grocery bags, pouches, mini bags, or whatever your heart desires!


You can also crochet plastic bags to make baskets or rugs:




Bubble Wrap

I also recently found this idea that I think is very interesting: making jewelry by ironing bubble wrap. It seemed kind of crazy to me at first, but I think that it makes a cool craft and unique thing to do to avoid throwing all of your bubble wrap away...





Newspaper

Instead of just recycling newspaper, you can reuse it in a few different ways. Old newspaper can work as small trashcan liners or as mini trashcans:

OR, you can use it to wrap presents! I think this gives gifts a unique look and you can save money if you choose not to buy standard wrapping paper.





Plastic Fruit Containers

The great thing about buying fresh berries and other fruit from the store is that you get to eat healthy and delicious food! The downside is that most berries and some other produce come in plastic containers that you end up having to throw away. To try and reduce your waste as much as you can, you can save some of the plastic containers, like the ones strawberries come in, and use them as colanders or strainers for whatever you want.


There are so many other ideas out there, and I encourage you to look for them! You can search the internet for inspiration or come up with something on your own. Obviously as humans, we are not perfect and can't control our waste amount perfectly, but I believe that we can make a difference if we make some sort of effort towards limiting what what we throw in the trash (or even recycling.)

I wish you all good luck and hope to see you in the next blog post!;)

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University of Northern Iowa
CEEE 109
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0293

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