Posts tagged "plastic"

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.

How can I reuse or recycle medical plastic tubing?

We’ve had an email from Janette asking about medical plastic tubing:

I need to know how I might reuse/recycle medical plastic tubing. My husband uses an oxygen tank and the cannula (clear plastic tubing) needs to be changed every two weeks. After the nasal clip is removed, biowaste/garbage – there’s still a ten foot length (3/16″ caliper) of sturdy, clear tubing that I would have to discard. Any ideas?

I live in the USA and the rural county recycling center I use doesn’t recycle this type of plastic.

(3/16 caliper is just under 5mm apparently)

That seems like it would be a really useful thing – the type of thing that would make a welcome addition to any tool kit. Some reuse ideas that spring to mind: using it to (softly) tie plants/trees to supports, wrapped around (and probably glued into place) a tool handle to provide some cushioning and I suspect some clever people could use it for drip-feed watering systems for greenhouses or the like.

It could be used for craft creations in its own right too: I’ve seen people making statement jewellery from tubing before; I’ve been looking at pendant light fittings recently and saw one made from loops of (albeit thicker) tubing; and I wonder if it’s flexible enough to be used for macramé or crochet/knitting – anyone seen any projects that could use lengths of tubing?

(One word of warning: apparently this type of tubing will discolour (yellow) over time when exposed to UV (sun) light.)

Finally, it might be worth containing the medical supply company to see if they’d be willing to take it back for recycling – if enough people ask, they might be compelled to do something.

Any other reusing or recycling ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle little paint tester pots?

We covered old leftover paint on the site many, many moons ago (roughly 66-67 moons ago apparently) but these last few weeks, we’ve been rather overrun with little tester pots of paint here.

I hate tester pots from an environmental point of view – usually plastic pots, sometimes with an integral brush, that are thrown away once their purpose has been served – but I’ve made enough costly paint mistakes in the past (and in the very recent past, she says knowing there is £80 worth of unsuitable-for-current-job paint sat upstairs…) to begrudgingly accept using them.

I think there are two questions here: how can I use up the little bits of paint? And second, is there anything I can do with the little pots?

The amount of paint in each tester is only enough for very small projects. I remember at uni painting a set of drawers with leftover tester pot paint – each drawer a different shade of blue – and the sides of the pots themselves tell me they’re suitable for stencilling, where you just need a little paint of each colour. Have you done (or seen) any mini-craft projects using leftover tester pot emulsion paint?

As for the pots themselves, the ones I have here tell me they’re polypropylene – plastic number 5 – which can be recycled but isn’t collected everywhere yet. The pots seal very tightly – as you’d expect from something containing paint – and so they could be washed out & reused for containing other liquid things or keeping other things dry or safe. I won’t use them for anything food related – since they’ve contained paint and aren’t food grade – and probably not anything like plant seeds either — but they’d be fine for small amounts of non-edibles/growables: like old film canisters, they’d be useful for all sorts of little fishing related things, for beads or buttons, and nuts/bolts/screws or sewing needles etc.

What would you reuse them for?

How can I reuse or recycle the nets you get around wine bottles?

Long time Recycle This friend (and very frequent commenter!) Anna has a question about the protective sleeves slipped around wine bottles:

Any ideas what to do with the plastic nets they put for wine bottles for protecting them when you buy one?

I don’t drink wine so I had to turn to my friend Google to see what those nets are like – some have big holes and look foamy, whereas others have smaller holes and look more like the thin plastic netting you get garlic bulbs in (a smaller version of orange/onion nets). I think the former are to provide some “bounce” protection while the latter just keep all the big bits of glass together in the event of a breakage. (Please correct me if I’m wrong about those assumptions.)

Either way, the first suggestion has to be reduce if you can: if they only add the netting at the shop after you’ve bought the wine, don’t let them: either take an old net to reuse or throw caution to the wind and just go nude ;)

As for reusing them for other things, the thinner/smaller holed nets can be filled with bird seed to make your own bird feeders, filled with the ends of old soap bars and hung on an outside tap for garden clean-up, or bunched up to make washing scrubbies.

I’d be tempted to throw a few of the foam type ones in with our reusable shopping bag stash for when we go to the supermarket for a big shop – they could cushion glass jars and other glass bottles to save them clinking together all the way home. Opened out flat, the foam ones would also be useful as cushioning under heavy plant pots (so they’re less likely to damage/dint the surface they’re stood on) or between occasionally use crockery to save that knocking together too.

How do you reuse or recycle those nets?

What food packaging & other household waste do you use for starting seeds?

It’s seed-starting time here in the northern hemisphere and my Twitter feed is full of exciting stories about what fruit & veg people are going to be growing this year. I’ve added half a dozen more fruit bushes to our garden this year but I’ve not sown any seeds yet — my seed box is sat on the side of my desk making sad puppy eyes at me as I type ;)

Gardeners & allotmenteers are just about always resourceful types when it comes to reusing and recycling stuff – I don’t think I’ve ever met a grower who doesn’t keep ice cream/margarine tubs etc for reuse – but I thought it would be worth having a bit of a sharing session about what you reuse for starting seeds, as plant pots or as water-catchers under plant pots, and if there is anything that you choose not to reuse for whatever reason.

At one point, a good few years ago now, I think about 90% of my seeds were started in plastic mushroom tubs — either directly in the tub or using them to catch water draining from plants pots. In the past, I also used shallow fresh pasta packaging as starter trays and multi-serving yoghurt/cream pots for the growing on stage. I know my dad keeps the clear plastic boxes used by supermarkets for muffins or pastries whenever he gets them because the lid gives the tray its own little propagator/greenhouse too – and similarly he cuts down 2ltr pop/soda bottles to make a pot with its own little cloche.

Moving away from plastic – since I do worry about putting plastic in direct sunlight/warm spots when it’s not designed to be used in that way, I’ve used newspaper and toilet roll tubes to make “plantable” pots – the former just require a little folding into shape and the latter can be cut in half to make twice the number or left whole as “root trainers” for growing carrots or parsnips.

(I also cut up plastic milk bottles & drinks cans to make plant markers for all these many, many seeds!)

So, what packaging (or other household waste) do you reuse for starting off your seedlings? What about for the growing on stage?