How can I reuse or recycle unused incense sticks?

Over on the Suggestion page, Jill asked:

How can you recycle old, unused, unwanted incense sticks?

I was cleaning and found an old box of them. I hear you can still burn them, but I’m not into smelly stuff any more and I hear certain kinds may have toxic ingredients (which is why I don’t want to try composting them).

Short of giving them to someone else, do you have any ideas?

I think a lot of people will be in the same position as Jill – nearly full boxes of them tucked at the back of cupboards after they’ve decided they don’t like the smell or don’t want to use them any more.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some good reuses for them in the past but searching now, I can only find suggestions for things to reuse as incense stick holders – so I’m going to have to defer to the wonderful Recycle This community — any ideas?

(Photo by LittleMan)

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8 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle unused incense sticks?”

  1. Alice says:

    Donate to charity shops? Someone else might like the smell.

  2. Bobbie says:

    How about painting them different colors, then putting them in flower arrangements? I think they’d look really pretty, provided the paint would stick. I no longer like scented anything, fresh air is all I need!

  3. BrendaSue says:

    Have you ever seen those pick-up-sticks games? There is one where you pile sticks and have to take them one at a time without disturbing the others.

    You could collect the incense sticks and paint them bright, child-friendly colors and have a game to play with your kids or grandkids!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Put them in a stew.

  5. Bobbie says:

    Oh anon, you are such a clever thing aren’t you?

  6. Jane says:

    I use incense sticks to scent clothing – put them in drawers amongst the lingerie, t-shirts, etc, scatter them in the bottom of the wardrobe. Use a fine-mesh bag and hang them among the hanging clothes.
    After a while they lose their scent, as the volatile oils evaporate, but you can then break them into pieces and get a few more months of scent. After that, I throw them into the log fire during winter.
    Large incense sticks can be stuck around potted plants to discourage the cats from using the soil as kitty litter.
    PS I wouldn’t let toddlers play with them, in case they chewed them.

  7. limewire says:

    wow amazing info bro.

  8. I too use unwanted incense to scent drawers. I keep them in their original boxes to stop the dust from getting into my other things.

    And when the incense sticks finally lose their scent, I break them into pieces and drop them into my firestarter kit. To make a firestarter kit, cover one end of a toilet roll cardboard core with a round piece of cardboard cut to fit over the toilet roll core, and tape it in place. Add bits of candle stubs, pinecones, twists of paper, sawdust and incense bits into the toilet roll core. When the toilet roll core is full, add melted wax into the mixture and seal the other end shut. Bring your firestarter with you on your next camping or barbecue trip. Sure beats paying a bomb for those store-bought firestarters and Magic Wicks!

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