Archive for the "items" category

How can I reuse or recycle a wheelie bin?

Hi. Long time no blog! Sorry about that.

This has annoyed me so much though that I feel compelled to post!

Bradford Council has started charging for their previously free garden waste collection service. Only about a third of eligible household have signed up so the Council estimates there are around 55,000 “brown bins” no longer in use around the district.

The Council estimates around half of those 55,000 will want to keep their wheelie bin as a spare or for other usage, and are starting to collect the other half.

However, a local councillor doesn’t think that many people will want to keep them. Cllr Rebecca Poulsen, the local Tory spokesperson for waste, said:

“I can’t see most people wanting to keep them for other storage purposes, really.

“I can’t think there’s an awful lot to do with them.”

Then you don’t have much imagination, do you Rebecca!

On our allotments, old wheelie bins are prized possessions – a couple of holes drilled in the right places and they easily become sturdy water butts or compost bins.

They’re also cheap, dry storage for plant pots, canes, plastic sheeting & netting, and woodchips.

At home, I use old bins for storing my chicken feed and my in-laws use them, with an access hatch cut in the bottom, for storing firewood and multifuel.

And they’re not just for grow-your-own hippies like me: I know other people who use them for storing kids garden toys, sports equipment and patio cushions out of season.

And they’re just some of the easiest, most boring reuses!

I’ve seen them cut in half to be used planters or wheelbarrows, and my old neighbours in Leeds even once transformed an old wheelie bin into a go-cart!

  • What other ideas are there for reusing wheelie bins? What would you do with one?

How can I reuse or recycle a wooden shoe rack?

There was a neighbourhood “give and take” event near me at the weekend – people took along their unwanted items and took home anything other people had donated that took their fancy — all for free. It was mostly small things – crockery, household knick-knacks and books – but there were some larger things too – old TVs and other electronics, rugs and other bits of furniture.

We didn’t “take” anything in the end: I was tempted by a pretty coffee pot from the kitchenware table until John pointed out that we already have one which we don’t use, and I was also VERY tempted by a lovely black cat who was keeping an eye on the proceedings, though I’m not to sure he’d have been happy to be taken. But we did give away a box of things we no longer needed, and it felt good to have a clear-out.

I did though rescue a simple wooden shoe rack from the “to go” pile at the last minute. I thought it had been thrown out when we replaced it in the porch with built-in cubbies but apparently it had only made it as far as the garage. As it hit the “to go” pile, I declared I could think of “a thousand” uses for it here and demanded to keep it. Thankfully John didn’t ask me to list the full thousand but my brain did start ticking away.

My first ideas were it being a shoe rack in other places in the house — something that’s especially useful coming into winter where there are invariably muddy boots and shoes near every door. Or there is always stuff in the kitchen to go into the garden – I could put shoes on one shelf and have the other shelf for flower pots and what not.

Speaking of the garden & pots, my greenhouse staging is awash with empties at the moment – some extra (albeit small) shelving would be useful in there, and in the spring/summer, it could be useful for holding plants – hopefully the slats would discourage some slugs too. Or I could mount the shelves from the shoe rack onto a wall with strong bracket to make a new potting bench – perhaps with tool hooks underneath.

I made a similarly slatted “tray” for drying homemade soap and before we moved here, I used the very shoe rack in question in the “jumpers” part of my wardrobe as an additional shelf (so they all weren’t piled up in one big heap and the slats allowed air circulation).

Flipped onto an end and lined with an old pillow case, it could be used as a laundry basket and if it was sturdier, it might make a good bench for children.

So that’s about nine alternative ideas – any suggestions for the other 991 reuses? :)


How can I reuse or recycle old glass blocks/glass bricks?

We’ve had an email from Whitney, asking about reuse/recycling ideas for glass blocks (or glass bricks, as they’re also known):

We just bought a house and making a lot of renovations. We removed some glass blocks from an old bathroom window and I want to reuse them for something. I love glass blocks and since they didn’t get broken in the renovation process I’d love to do something with them. I’d love to be able to drill holes in them and place lights for outdoor use, but don’t know how to do it. I was also thinking about just placing them around the garden, but am looking for some more innovative ideas.

I love the idea of using them in the garden – for bed/path edging for example, or if you have a lot of them, as a privacy screen/divider. I imagine in time the edge seals might become damaged and bugs or greenery may creep inside but that could look pretty cool too :)

More creatively, I’ve seen them used effectively as the “legs” on simple tables – panels of glass blocks at each end of the table top, though I’m not sure how it was all fixed together – any ideas?

Any other practical or creative suggestions for using them either inside or outside of the house?


How can I “reuse” fresh eggs that we can’t eat?

(Hi! Sorry to regular readers for the stupidly long break in posting – I’ve been reading all the comments as usual as they come in, just not posting any new content myself due to a combination of busy-ness, illness and laziness. I’m hoping to get back to regular scheduled blogging again now though!)

This question is a bit like the one I posted six years ago (!!) about ways to use up no longer fresh eggs but this one is a little different. We’ve got our own chickens now so always have super-fresh eggs – but sometimes, like this last weekend, I have to give them medication or treat their coup with things that mean we shouldn’t eat their eggs for a few days.

The eggs look perfectly fine but there is a risk of contamination so we can’t eat them. I can’t bring myself to just throw them in the compost though – or even throw them at my boyfriend when he’s not paying attention… ;)

I know egg yolks can be used as a hair conditioner or for a face mask – does anyone have any favourite recipes/techniques?

I’ve also heard some people using them as a fertiliser boost for plants – do any plants particularly benefit from an eggy treat (especially at this time of year), or is there any that definitely shouldn’t have it?

Any other suggestions?

And finally, less on topic but critically important, did you all have a good summer? (Or good winter, if you’re on the southern side of things?)


How can I reuse or recycle toilet seats?

Apologies for the break in blogging – I’ve been super busy with other things over the last month. And in my absence, Recycle This had its sixth birthday! Happy Birthday website! :D

Anyway, moving on: we’ve had an email from Stephanie about toilet seats:


I just came into about 25 toilet seat all different colors (red, yellow, green, blue….) I know they can be reused but I’m stuck. I thought the game horse shoes but they don’t have the open front, I was even suggested picture frames! Please help.

An unusual thing to suddenly acquire but they would make very fun (ok, silly) picture frames in a bathroom.

I’ve got half an idea in my mind about using them to hold open rubbish bags or laundry bags – I can’t quite formulate it into an actual reuse — after a few weeks of not posting, I’m clearly out of practise at coming up with ideas so I’ll had it over to you guys.

What would you do with some unwanted toilet seats? Do you know anywhere that would take them to reuse for intended purpose? Or can you think of any fun or practical reuse or recycling suggestions?

I’m presuming, because they’re different colours, that they’re plastic but do feel free to make suggestions for wooden ones too in case anyone has those to use up instead.