Saturday, February 02, 2008

5 Ways to Reuse Common Items in Other Ways

(MS) - Recycling is certainly about those blue and green bins parked at your curb. But it is also about how you can put items you would normally toss in the trash or recycling bin to other uses.

Anyone who has shopped at retail giant Target recently may have noticed that their shopping bags list ways to reuse the bag after it's served its purpose of toting home your low-priced goods. This may have gotten you thinking about other things that can be reincarnated for multiple purposes.

Every time you use an item for an idea beyond its original manufactured intent, you have increased the validity of that product and, in turn, keep people employed. You also discover ways to reduce waste, and that's a good thing.

Here are just a few items, with five ways to use them in new ways.

Aluminum Foil

It's more than just for warming food. Rinse them off and use foil scraps for these reasons.

1. Layer about seven pieces of foil and cut through them with scissors that are dull. The foil will sharpen the scissors again.

2. Use a ball of spare foil to clean baked-on pots and pans. It works just as well as steel wool.

3. Foil makes great gift wrapping in a pinch.

4. Think about how many children's dress-up costumes can be created with foil. From robots to martians to angels.

5. Use a double-thickness of foil as a piping bag when doing cake decorating.

Paper Bags

Sure, it may seem that paper bags have faced extinction, but as more people realize the benefits of going green, paper bags are making a comeback. They can do a heck of a lot more than just carry groceries.

1. Do we even need to mention that paper bags are the primary material of choice for covering textbooks?

2. Kids can cut bags into placemats to bring along to restaurants or other people's homes. Just pack along crayons and they can color while waiting for food.

3. Durable paper bags can be used as recycling collectors and easily sort recyclable items.

4. From masks to aprons, paper bag costumes are limited only by the imagination.

5. Crumple bags to form a way to add textured paint applications to walls and furniture.

Baby Food Jars

Moms and dads out there know that a hungry baby goes through dozens of jars of baby food a month. That's a lot of recycling! There are ways to reuse baby food jars, though.

1. Many baby food jars are just the right size for holding a votive candle.

2. Use these cute jars for storing buttons or other small notions that inevitably get misplaced.

3. Use the jars to hold homemade spice blends. You can also transfer store-bought spices to the baby food jars so all spices are in uniformly sized containers for a more organized pantry.

4. Personalize your paint palette by using jars to mix paints. They can also hold paint for young artists.

5. Hardware storage is easy when you keep small nails, screws, bolts, or whatever in sealed jars.


If the washer and dryer mysteriously consume a sock and you're left with a spare, or if your socks are past their prime, you can use them for other things.

1. When dusting or cleaning, simply slip the sock over your hand and use it to wipe down anything in the home.

2. Fill a sock with rice or wheat, heat in the microwave for a few seconds, and use it as a heating pad.

3. You can certainly make a sock puppet, or two, or three .

4. Put a ball inside and tie off the end to make a tug toy for a dog. Or fill with catnip for a kitty.

5. Fill with leftover soap pieces and use in the washing machine for washing delicates.

CAPTION: Recycling ideas are stacking up. Use leftover newspaper for cleaning windows, as scrap note paper, to create craft projects for children, and so much more.


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