Recycling 101: Common Home Wastes and What to Do with Them

Smart Living

Expert Ideas for a Healthier Home

Universal home wastes such as plastic bottles, paper, old textiles, and tin cans are often thrown in the waste bin. On the other hand, these wastes could be recycled and reused to lessen the garbage and save money too. They could also make your home organised and clean.

Yes, you could remake these wastes and make them into something useful. We have listed the possible things that you should do with the following universal home wastes:

1. Old plastic jugs and bottles

You could turn these plastic containers into a pencil tray, vase, or jewelry storage. For the pencil tray, just cut one side of the plastic jug using a pair of scissors and then put your dozens of pencils. This thing could organise your items. Also, you could make flower decorations and a door wreath out of the plastic bottles. You just paint them with different colors.

2. Tin cans

You can do a lot of things from tin cans other than bringing them into the nearest recycling center. You could make these cans into cookie cutters, in which you could make different varieties and sizes such as heart-shaped cookie cutter, moon-shaped, star-shaped, and head of Mickey Mouse, among others.

You could turn these cans into bracelets too. Dress up the aluminum with different colors and designs of ribbons or fabric.

You could also make the cans into lanterns, key chains, candle holders, pencil holders, coasters, wreath, earrings, tin boxes, and many more because they are flexible. Be creative, and you could do many things with these used empty tin cans.

3. Mixed paper, newspaper, office paper and junk mails

Yes, you could clean your window glass panes by using newspaper with vinegar too. Moreover, you may use them as gift wraps.

Use the mixed paper as doodle pads. Cut the unused space of the papers and clip them for doodling and jotting down messages. Papers and newspaper with non-toxic inks can also be a useful component of the compost pile. Tear them into small strips so that it would crack up faster. Also, these papers could wrap unripe fruit to make it ripen more quickly. You could also turn these papers into a wreath, paper dolls, DIY gift baskets, paper-mache piñata, and packing material, among others.

4. Cereal and food boxes

Cereal and food boxes can turn into useful things such as desk organizer, drawer organizer, gift tags, and mail organizer. Cover the cereal or food boxes with beautiful fabric. And place them in the drawer to organize your things or on your desk. The gift tag must be cut into a smaller size just like the tag and decorate it with patterned paper.

You could make these boxes into gift bags and gift boxes too. Also, If you are into vegetable gardening, you could convert these boxes into seed starters. Cut one side of the box and fill it with soil and seeds.

5. Old books

There are many book collectors out there looking for old books. You could sell or donate your old books. Try selling them on eBay and save money for new books.

6. Printer ink cartridges

You must not throw your printer ink cartridges in the trash because they have toxic materials. It is advisable that you bring them to a recycling center near you. Check out this site for the listings of recycling centers in Singapore. Also, if you carry your old cartridges to some office supply shop, you could get a discount for buying a new ink cartridge.

7. CD and DVD cases

CD and DVD cases can be donated to the library and use as replacement cases. You may also bring them to some electronic shops that accept used CD and DVD cases.

8. Batteries

Batteries such as lithium and button are recyclable. You may bring them to a recycling center. Meanwhile, the ordinary batteries such as alkaline, carbon-zinc, and manganese batteries are not poisonous and could be appropriately disposed.

9. Power Cords

Probably, you have a dozen old chargers and power cords. These things are considered e-waste. Do not throw these things away. You could find a recycling center that accepts these devices. The e-waste such as the power cords are disposed by burning the sheathing cable. Meanwhile, they recover the copper wire for reuse. Other e-waste is processed through melting the circuit boards and open-pit acid leaching that separates other metals that can be reused. These processes could lessen the greenhouse-gas emissions, and prevent any diseases.   

10. Old clothes

Your closet may be in full load, and there is no more place for new clothes. It is time now to reorganize your closet and donate some of your old clothes to those in need. You may also use some of your old clothes as rags.

If your excess clothes are in good condition, you may sell them on eBay too. You could save money and use it for other purposes.

11. Glass bottles

Some of the glass bottles are beautiful and could make them into the candy jar, vase, candelabra, rolling pin, a vessel for a gift, a table card holder, spray bottle, and home-made holiday decorations. You may check out this site for making homemade ornaments.

Moreover, you could convert these glass bottles into an upcycled oil lamp, storage canister, desk organizers, and toiletry holder, among others.

12. Old magazines

You could create amazing ideas out of old magazines. These include an upcycled magazine Christmas tree. Fold the pages of the magazine down halfway and turn into a shape of the Christmas tree. Then, paint it with beautiful colour such as gold or silver.

Moreover, you could make the old magazines into beautiful magazine page ceramic tiles. Get a page of the magazine with a beautiful picture and then paste it to plain ceramic tiles. To make you more creative try to make a magazine gift bag, envelope, goody bags, and wreath, among others. You could also make a sun mirror and an accordion style clock. Try them and indeed, you would be fascinated by the outcome of your projects.

13. Kitchen scraps

You can reuse some kitchen scraps such as food wastes and paper plates, among others. One example of this is the citrus peels such as lemon or orange peels that can be used to remove the stinky smell of your garbage container. You just place the peels inside the trash bin and let them remain for few hours. You may also use the flesh of the peels and place them in Mason jar. Then, put a white vinegar and let it stay for a period. After two weeks, you can use this mixture as an all-purpose cleaner.   

Also, the coffee grounds can deodorize your hands. Likewise, they can remove the smell of garlic and onions that you chop on cutting board. Meanwhile, paper plates can be made into a handmade basket for cookies, shield from dust, DIY frisbees, a hanging pocket, and a makeshift paddle, among others.

These universal household waste could turn into treasure. Besides, recycling and reusing these wastes, they could help the environment and enhance your home too. All you need to do is stimulate your imagination and creativity and follow the above ways on how to make them useful again.

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