Recycling: Good / Reusing: Better

9 years ago

Turning over your recycling to your town every week is great and everything, but think before you fling your more useful trash into the recycle bin.  Recycling still swallows resources and some materials may have plenty of remaining life before they progress on their spiritual path toward reincarnation.  Here are some ideas for getting extra mileage out of your food packaging through creative repurposing.

Egg cartons

Take a page from elementary schools across the country and start your sunflower seeds or other seedlings here.  Given my particular set of gardening skills, I don't have personal experience with this but it seems theoretically possible.

         

The blog at FamilyCorner.com has 18 more ways to reuse egg cartons.  Often, local farms are happy to take your extra egg cartons off your hands, too.

Milk cartons

The possibilities for milk jugs are endless: as scoops for the sandbox or filled with water to weigh down your sauerkraut during the fermentation process.  I also use mine as semi-disposable compost buckets.  

         

They’re light and have handles so I can send the kids up the hill to the compost bin.  They think it’s fun, and I delight in their convenient delusions.  Previous buckets have gotten disgusting after a while.  Milk jugs work well because when they get too gross, I just hose them down and then recycle.

DailyEcoTips also suggests using plastic milk bottles to protect young plants in the garden from non-human foragers.  The greenhouse effect is an added bonus.

Cardboard six-pack holders

         

Inspired by the local pub, these can be used as handy caddies for outdoor dining.  Carry utensils, condiments, and salt and pepper back and forth to your picnic table.  Flatten one of the interior separators to fit napkins.  It also gives you a good excuse to pound beers.

Jars and bottles

I use empty spice bottles for bud vases and mason jars for larger arrangements.  That’s not true, exactly.  Husband does all the flower arranging around here.  I suck.

The Paisley Farmhouse has lots of other ideas for mason jars, too.

Anyone else?

Tammy Donroe can also be found documenting the messy collision between food and life on her blog, Food on the Food.

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