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10 creative ways to reuse plastic

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reuse milk jug as watering canWelcome to Zero Waste Week 2015!

This year we’re all about the reuse.

Past generations valued everything and wasted nothing.

With their make-do-and-mend attitude, items were refurbished, repaired and reused creatively.

Nowadays we live in a disposable culture which is bad for our bank balance, our environment and even our health!

During Zero Waste Week we’re going to come up with ways to reuse items in our home and offices, giving them a new lease of life and doing our bit in the process.

Today we’re right in at the deep end with plastic.

I’ve scoured through bins to see what types of plastic people throw away and come up with some reuse ideas.

Make a scoop

Save the money you’d spend in a pound shop and make your own scoop from an old milk jug.

These are ideal for scooping out bird seed, using as a small pan – a la dustpan and brush – outdoors or scooping out small amounts of compost for your pots.

There are at least three ways to do this, as these photos show!

reuse milk bottle for scoop

reuse milk bottle as a scoop

DIY Lunchbox container

Hands up if you have tupperware containers without their lids.

I know, right?

Here’s a fantastic tutorial for turning plastic milk jugs into a lunchbox you can be proud of.

reusable milk bottle into lunchboxFeed the birds

Now you’ve made your scoop for bird seed, you need something to put it in.

Why not make one of these bird feeders from an old plastic bottle?

reuse plastic bottle as bird feeder

Strawberry planter

Is there a hole in your bucket?

Well make it into a DIY, self watering strawberry planter, dear Liza with this tutorial!

reuse old bucket for strawberry planter

 Polystyrene

While we’re out in the garden, perhaps you have some polystyrene you need to reuse.

Putting bits of broken polystyrene in the bottom of your containers before filling with soil makes it lighter to move around than using gravel.

You don’t grow anything? Don’t worry, Chris is here to help!

Chris and his team repair headsets for the Emergency Services. They send and receive around 60 – 100 parcels a day; all of which need protecting with polystyrene and he wants your donations.

Find out where to send your polystyrene for reuse.

how-to-recycle-polystyrene-chips

Watering cans

Using a watering can without a rose can damage young seedlings.

And a normal watering can is a bit hit and miss when you’re hovering over a seedling tray.

With this creative reuse of a plastic milk bottle there’s no need to worry.

reuse milk jug as watering can

Don’t forget to reuse your toothbrush

Bristles splayed on your toothbrush?

A toothbrush is a great addition to your cleaning kit. Use it to clean around faucets, for paste jewellery or to get those annoying biscuit crumbs out from between your computer keys.

reuse old toothbrush for cleaning

Net produce bags

Citrus fruit often comes in small plastic net bags.

But you don’t have to throw them away.

Why waste money on scrubbers for your burnt pans when you can make your own with this simple tutorial?

reuse produce bags for kitchen scrubber

CD cases

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have shelves full of plastic jewel cd cases.

Fortunately there’s a great way to reuse them if you fancy a DIY project this weekend.

Checkout this greenhouse – it’s a thing of beauty, right? And can be yours by following this tutorial.

reuse cd cases to make a greenhouse

Reuse convenience food trays

Black plastic trays from convenience foods can’t be recycled easily.

So reuse them instead.

Mr Green has a selection of them in his shed for storing drill bits, screws and cable ties. We use them in the house as drainage trays for houseplants. You can use them as drawer tidies to keep your stationery tamed or why not use a couple for arts and crafts supplies – they’re brilliant for a bit of organisation.

Better still, have a batch cooking day and make your OWN TV dinners to freeze; saving you money in the long run.

reuse tv dinner tray

What about you? How do you reuse plastic items around your home or office?

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Rachelle Strauss

9 Comments

  1. Avatar Cornelia Boot on September 7, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Hello!

    These are really smart ways to reuse plastic, I would rather go a step further and try to refuse the plastic. It’s difficult, especially when your local waste company collects plastic. It’s easy to say: I don’t mind, I just throw it in the bin. Every effort counts!!

    • Avatar Rachelle Strauss on September 7, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Hey Cornelia; thanks for stopping by and happy Zero Waste Week! I completely agree that refusing / reducing is better than reusing and admire you as it’s so easy for you to recycle it. Keep up the great work!

  2. Avatar Ian Bacon on September 7, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Try using plastic, in the garage and garden keep nails and screws in old bottles and save seeds in them ready for next year.

    • Avatar Rachelle Strauss on September 7, 2015 at 11:01 am

      Fantastic idea Ian; stops all those tiny things getting lost in the garage! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Avatar Helen Butt on September 7, 2015 at 11:59 am

    In my thirties, I had the benefit of sharing my home with people from countries less affluent than our. This gave me some interesting insights into reuse -e.g. The plastic tray that say mushrooms come in can be used to store your soap, scourer etc by the kitchen sink.

    There is less and less for me to reuse these days but I like the idea of the scourer made out of fruit bags. I guess you could also make a bun ring from them?

    • Avatar Rachelle Strauss on September 7, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks for sharing Helen. Sounds like your housemates were inspiring people. Love the idea of a DIY bun ring!

  4. Avatar Cherie on September 7, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Very little goes in my bin. I am still crafting my rubbish. x

    • Avatar Rachelle Strauss on September 7, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Fantastic – great to hear you’re still creating, Cherie!

  5. […] out Recycling Guide and Zero Waste Week for more creative ideas on how to reuse your […]

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