How to Reuse Almost Anything! Project Waste Zero
I started this project years ago to reduce my household waste. I began by reducing consumable products. I switched to washable napkins and plates. In a nutshell, I stop buying things that are disposable! I did reduce my waste and I also saved a lot of money. The first step before reuse is reducing. I mentioned how I did that by cutting out disposable products, but using less will also help dramatically. Consider how much shampoo, laundry detergent, electricity you are using. Make an effort to use only what yo need.
Once you've accomplished the "reduce" step, it's time to "reuse." This is also my favorite part. Reuse is fun and will bring out your creativity. It comes before recycling, because it doesn't require as many resources to be consumed. The only energy consumed to reuse household waste is your own! Here I've collected resources for my favorite reuse ideas from normal household as waste. As I collected ideas, I placed them here.
Zero waste means a healthier planet. :) Check back frequently for more ideas on how to reuse and reduce waste around your home! Finally, don't forget to RECYCLE.
Reuse Household Waste
Most plastics in your home can be recycled. But, the berries you buy come in plastic containers that can not be recycled in most areas. Learn some creative ways to reuse them and never have to send a berry container to the landfill again!
1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse - from Amazon.com
I don't know about you, but I get a lot of boxes. Maybe that means I am shopping online too often and need to do more local shopping, but anyway, how do we reuse boxes? There are many online instructions for reusing boxes as crafts. Boxes can also be reused in your garden because they block weeds. How about reusing a box to make a solar cooker? Cool huh? If none of those ideas work for you there are a few websites that actually buy used boxes for reuse: Ecobox.com and Boxcycle.com
Reusing Household Waste as Compost
I take for granted that everyone is composting, but if you are not, there is no better time to start. Collect leaves, grass, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells and compost them. Anything that comes from nature, can return to the earth in the form of compost. Do not compost meat or fats from animals. There are many methods of composting. Some people make a frame to collect debris in a compost "pile." Some people buy compost tumblers. Others simply throw the waste on top of the ground in the garden, or area of the garden.
I prefer to bury the waste in my garden, or in the pots and barrels i use for growing flowers. My neighbors don't see my kitchen scraps and I don't need an expensive tumbler or frame to hold in the waste. It only requires dirt, something to compost and a shovel. The worms which do the compost work will come! If you do not garden, you can still compost in a barrel or planter and use the composted soil for your houseplants. They will love it!
Reusing Household Waste
I know it's odd to reuse dryer lint, but it's one of those things that you can't recycle and we want to keep it out of the garbage. If you burn wood for heat in the winter, dryer lint becomes as valuable as gold on a cold night! Throw some dryer lint and paper under your logs and you'll have a flame in no time. There is a more extravagant, long burning recipe for fire starters involving wax in the article below. Also there are more tips for lint reuse including clay from lint and reuse in your garden.
Reusing Household Waste Ideas
I racked my brain trying to think up ways to reuse paper. Of course, if one side is used, you can reuse the other side for scratch paper, or kids drawing paper, before you recycle it. You can reuse envelopes this way as well.
If you don't reuse the paper, you can break it down into pulp and create new paper with it. This is a time consuming project, but also a neat learning project for kids. You can use homemade paper for special notes, cards, etc.
Toilet Paper Rolls or Paper Towel Rolls
Reusing Household Waste Ideas
Most homes have empty toilet paper rolls as household waste, because... well the most frugal minded earthy folks still use toilet paper. Although, I have heard people discuss cloth for this purpose, this is the one product I will always prefer disposable.
So how do we reuse the empty rolls when the toilet paper is gone? Well, you can
- Use the to start fires. Stuffed full of dryer lint, they make quick and easy fire starters for winter months
- Use them to make craft projects
- Or my personal favorite ... use them to start seeds in your garden!
In addition to using toilet paper rolls to start seeds, I also use small yogurt containers and egg cartons. The yogurt containers work best for me. I rarely have a seed that fails to sprout in a yogurt container.
If you like the idea of reusing household waste in the garden, you will be happy to know there are virtually endless ways to repurpose waste in the garden. Gardens work well for biodegradable waste because everything breaks down and returns to the soil eventually. Cardboard and paper mulch is just one example of biodegradable waste that can be used in the garden. Non-biodegradable waste comes in handy for watering and supporting plants. Examples would be milk carton watering and old bike trellises. Many more ideas to reuse household waste in the garden can be found at:
How to Reuse Plastic Bottles
Another Idea for Reusing Household Waste
Here are over 20 ideas to reuse a plastic bottle in crafts. All the ideas contain photos of the finished project, so you can see what it looks like before you spend you time on it. There are ideas for reusing plastic bottles as vases, storage containers, home décor, jewelry, knitting devices, terrariums and much more.
Recycle or Reuse Your COMPUTER!
Computer Crafts for Reusing Household Waste
Technology changes quickly and while we don't often think of reusing or recycling computer, they are yet another form of household waste that is piling up in the landfills. Consider giving working components of the computer to friends or family that can use them. There are also manufacturer recycling programs for computers. Take a step back and reconsider ways to reuse that old computer before you throw it out. Here are some innovative and chic ideas for recycling old computer parts into crafts!
Reuse Your Household Waste to Make Games
Games from Cardboard, Soup Cans, Milk Cartons, or Plastic Milk Jugs
You can make puzzles, board games, counting games for preschoolers, car games and color or letter sorting games all from household waste. All it takes is a few ideas to get started. Before you know it you will be coming up with your own ways to recycle trash into games and activities for your children. Here you will also find manufacturers that specializing in making toys from recycled plastic.
Waste not, want not.
Plastics as Household Waste
Improtance of Reusing Plastic
Because plastic isn't biodegradable, like cardboard and paper, it is critical that we reuse it, or recycle it. Here are some ways I enjoy putting plastic to reuse around my home. If you don't reuse your plastic, please don't forget to recycle it, or it will end up in the landfill virtually forever.
Cut off the top of the bottle and use them to store pens, pencils, craft supplies, small children's toys like legos, leave the top on and use them to store nuts and screws in the garage.
Medium-size Plastic Containers:
Great household storage containers also.
Cut them into strips and use them to weave, crochet, or knit.
Large Plastic Bottles:
Poke small holes in the bottom of them and use them for drip watering in the garden. They allow the water to seep out slowly so the plant roots get all the water. Stake them down close to a plant and leave them in the garden all summer. When it is time to water, just fill the bottle and let the water trickle out.
Freecycle is a Reuse Group
Reusing Household Waste by Giving It Away
You can reuse items by giving them away. Reuse groups are all over. My favorite is Freecycle. Freecycle is a global organization comprised of many, many local groups. These groups communicate by email to exchange items. A few years ago, my area didn't have freecycle, so I started a local group. You can email your group offers or wanted items. You can visit freecycle at http://www.freecycle.org, to learn about the group in your area. If your area doesn't have one, start your own.
Before Reuse ... Use Less
Produce Less Household Waste
One way to limit the amount of waste you have to reuse or recycle, is to use less. Give up your consumable products, such as paper plates, paper napkins, etc. and replace them with washable permanent napkins and plates. This leads to much less trash to recycle or reuse. Also, use less water, less electricity by learning to turn things off or use as little as needed. This is the first step in Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle for good reason. Using less conserves resources.
Do you have more ideas for reusing household waste? Please leave a comment!
© 2008 hsschulte
Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on January 30, 2016:
One big thing that can be done in France and the UK at least is for tips and public refuse sites to give away or sell all the perfectly good stuff that people throw away.
anonymous on April 08, 2013:
We compost, use dryer lint for camping, and use cardboard, but the others are new to me. Thanks! We also save our altoids cans, because they make nifty little containers for all sorts of things.
anonymous on October 28, 2012:
instead of buying garbage bags...fill up the plastic bags you get at the grocery store with garbage.
anonymous on July 27, 2012:
@anonymous: broken link sorry! e-waste riches fixed
anonymous on July 27, 2012:
Amazing ideas, I think that zero waste straight in the household is an important jump to be made! Waste that cannot be converted should be recycled! e-waste especially! I mean look at all the possibilities it has! :
anonymous on June 19, 2012:
Terrific tips. I had never thought about using dryer lint to help start a fire in the fireplace. I'll have to try that this winter. Thanks.
anonymous on April 19, 2012:
Zero waste is a great idea with Earth Day coming up, just had to return to review your ideas.
anonymous on April 19, 2012:
Mim Art on March 26, 2012:
Terrific lens. Another use for dryer lint (especially in the spring) is for the birds. I save it up along with hairbrush hair and place it in little mesh cages outside (hidden from elements as best as possible) for the birds to use when nesting. It's a fun thought to think they are sleeping in some of my clothes/hair.
anonymous on March 12, 2012:
julieannbrady on March 05, 2012:
I'm trying to figure out how to reuse an Epson RX500 printer. I think it has a possibility to be fixed.
LouisaDembul on February 25, 2012:
We usually recycle toilet rolls as toys for kids....actually my daughter loves cutting them and painting them, it keeps her busy for a long time. Since it is getting time to sow seeds, though, I think I will have to use some for this!
Maritimer LM on February 18, 2012:
We recycle Dryer Lint to start our campfires in the summer.
WriterJanis2 on February 16, 2012:
Really great ideas here. Blessed!
Gayle from McLaughlin on February 12, 2012:
Love these ideas!
WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on February 06, 2012:
We have a blue box program in our city for cardboard, paper, plastics and tins. When our kids were little we donated paper stuff etc. There is also a recycling center for clothing, small appliances and electronics. Big metal stuff can also be donated to scrap metal dealers. The only thing I have to put in the garbage is food scraps because of the geese and bears. Whatever anyone can do to recycle counts. :)
shandigp on January 25, 2012:
I'm seen some really cure boxes and picture frames made from upcycled computer motherboards and keyboard keys. Great job! *blessed*
PizzaPromoGuy on January 22, 2012:
I have never quite thought about recycling like this! It puts things into a whole new perspective! Great Lens
Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on January 04, 2012:
Excellent ideas here. It will take a while to follow every one of your links. My work is cut out for me. My favorite tip on this page is to reduce the amount of throw-aways we bring into our homes in the first place. Angel blessed.
fullofshoes on December 27, 2011:
tons of great ideas here. a few which i can put into effect right now ! thank you!
anonymous on November 09, 2011:
Hey I have reviewed your squidoo lens and I really liked it. Because of this I went ahead and âlikeâ you on squidoo. Giving your lens another like.
When you have time, please take a look at my lens. It is located at
If you like my lens, please add a like to my lens as well. I am new to squidoo and I would appreciate any comments at all.
LisaDH on November 07, 2011:
Really wonderful suggestions! I never would have thought to use dryer lint in the fireplace (particularly since I don't have a fireplace at the moment!), but that was my favorite idea because it makes you realize how accustomed to throwing things away because we don't even bother to look for another use. Well done!
Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on October 30, 2011:
This is a unique lens on this topic, some ideas I wouldn't have thought about. Thanks for promoting awareness on the 3Rs...blessings! :)
dahlia369 on October 19, 2011:
My head is spinning with all the recycling ideas you've shared on here. I use many, but some, like dryer lint - were completely new. Great job, blessed! :)
poutine on October 19, 2011:
"Boxes can also be reused in your garden because they block weeds" is an excellent tip.
adamfrench on September 28, 2011:
Impressive lens, thumbs up
anonymous on September 01, 2011:
We recycle, compost, and re-purpose as much as possible, but everything? That is amazing! Thanks for the great ideas!
smithlights on July 24, 2011:
I've always thought there should be a way to reuse dryer lint!
anonymous on July 23, 2011:
Excellent ideas to reuse it all. I've never bought much in disposable or plastic containers but some do sneak into my house from time to time, zero waste is a great goal for us all. Well done!
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on June 26, 2011:
Great lens with all sorts of great ideas for reusing some pretty mundane things! I linked this lens to "The Lint Filter" blog (because of the dryer lint information, of course!).
Gayle from McLaughlin on June 25, 2011:
My mom lived through the depression and she learned to reuse almost everything! Thanks for your clever ideas.
luckygrrrl on May 30, 2011:
I love the idea about using toilet paper rolls to start seeds. Also, if you have pet rabbits, you can use toilet paper or paper towel rolls as chew toys. I used to socialize rabbits at my local animal shelter, and the rabbits really loved to play with those things!
FunkyJewelleryUK on May 15, 2011:
Great lens! I make my own jewellery using recycled products so this is really interesting. Nice work :)
LensSeller on April 25, 2011:
More outstanding ideas for recyclers everywhere.
sweetdeal on April 11, 2011:
very important ideas
shandigp on April 01, 2011:
Just began following you on Twitter! ShandiGP. Thanks.
anonymous on March 31, 2011:
You have some of the coolest recycle ideas here!
jackieb99 on February 27, 2011:
An excellent site! You have many good suggestions.
tailortoo on February 20, 2011:
You have made so many great suggestions. That first R for reduce is certainly the best starting point.
ChrisDay LM on December 27, 2010:
essential advice for all - thanks
marsha32 on December 16, 2010:
this is a nice lens....and lots of important information and good ideas....I'm heading to check out some of the other links...but not before I put in my Squid Angel Blessing.
anonymous on October 27, 2010:
It is very easy for people to just throw everything out. This is an important topic and your lens has some great information that we could all use to reduce waste.
orinel on October 26, 2010:
Great lens. Loads of ideas and some of them very different. I've learned a lot. Thanks. See what you think of this lens http://www.squidoo.com/the-wikaniko-way-to-go-gree...
orinel on October 26, 2010:
Great lens. So important to recycle as much as possible. Check this green lens out http://www.squidoo.com/the-wikaniko-way-to-go-gree...
DecoratingEvents on October 19, 2010:
This is so helpful and green! Thanks for sharing. *Blessed
WriterBuzz on October 09, 2010:
Very cool lens. Informative and fun. Thanks for sharing. Thumbs Up given.
anonymous on September 06, 2010:
This is an eco-friendly thing!
greengogreen on August 14, 2010:
Fantastic lense! Always good to remind myself of the importance of the 3 r's, thank you for the great info :) Simple Compost, Straw Bale Compost Bin
flooringcanada on August 13, 2010:
Great lens! Thanks for sharing easy green ideas for everyone to follow. We must take care of our environment for us and the future of our children :)
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on July 25, 2010:
I just smacked myself on the forehead. Why didn't I think of the yogurt containers for some plant runners I want to save starts from (ajuga and strawberries). I'll go dig them out of the trash.
priscillab on July 24, 2010:
Wow- so maany great ideas!!! Love the toilet paper rolls for seed starters!
martialartstraining on July 22, 2010:
Dryer lint? That is amazing, thank you for sharing all of this, I feel motivated now.
Obscure_Treasures on May 21, 2010:
How cool...loving all the ideas for green gifts
totalhealth on April 15, 2010:
great and fun ideas on reusing those common household waste. i particularly like the water bottle screen
kathys55 on April 11, 2010:
Wonderful Lens. There are some great ideas here.Faved you and lensrolled you to my lens.
hsschulte (author) on March 06, 2010:
@Kevin Wilson 2: Kevin,
I agree using less is the first step. It is amazing how much money you can save by learning to use cloth napkins and other reusables. After reduce, is reuse and that is what this lens is about. The final step... recycling.... I hope everyone is doing to keep our landfills from overflowing.
Kevin Wilson 2 on November 25, 2009:
Use less is the key - it's the "Reduce" part of the three R's and there's a good reason it comes first! Some ways I've found to reduce: bake your own cookies, bread etc so you have no packaging waste: use rags instead of paper towels, cloth handkerchiefs instead of Kleenex: buy less (or NO) plastic junk from Walmart :)
anonymous on July 27, 2009:
This is a great page. There is a website: altuse.com that has a whole bunch more suggestions like this.
anonymous on May 17, 2009:
When I'm at work and dry my hands with paper towels, I stuff them in my bag and take them home. I then use them for wiping left over oil from the pans before washing (don't want to spill too much oil in the drain!), pulling out hair from shower and sink drain (which is better than using strong chemical products to unclog drains) etc etc.
BTW have just started a worm composter! Yupeee
db49 on April 12, 2009:
A great site. I lensrolled it and rated it....then read it some more. Waste management has been a passion of mine for many years now, and I always love it when I find another like-minded soul.
anonymous on December 27, 2008:
Coffee grounds is also something to check out! AND REUSE
poutine on November 24, 2008:
I didn't know we could reuse dryer lint. Thanks for the info.