Suggest an item

Do you have something to reuse or recycle but you just don’t know what to do with it? AND we haven’t had the decency to feature said thing on “How can I recycle this?” yet? Gosh, we’re terrible, aren’t we?

You can either leave a message in the comments section below or send us an email if you have any ideas. You can include a picture too if you’ve got one to hand. We’ll give you a thank you nod when we make the post and you’ll, hopefully, get lots of ideas about what to do with your item.

Email us at:

If you want to make something reusing or recycling things (for example, how to make a piggy bank, or a shopping bag, or jewellery), or repair something, or reduce your use of something, we’d also love to hear from you. Again,

Email us at:

Or have you reused or recycled something in an interesting, clever or creative way and want to show it off, but can’t wait until we get around to featuring that item? Just tell us what you did and send a photo if you can, and we’ll feature it on the site when we can.

Email your ideas to:


328 Responses to “Suggest an item”

  1. Bertie says:

    I’ve been cutting up an old Margerine tub this weekend to make some plastic labels for seed trays & wondered if there are any other ideas for using these thin plastic tubs?

    I searched but couldn’t find anything

  2. Wendy says:

    We recently bought a new mattress after our Sleep Number bed (piece of junk, don’t get one) malfunctioned. We’ve saved the frame, which is made of black plastic and a lot of the cloth-like stuff that went around the air part. I was wondering if anyone had some nifty ideas for using this stuff. I am considering using the frame for raised beds or even a sand box.


    • Cindy says:

      I just took our old mattress topper and made a sofa-legnth pillow out of it. Our sofa is getting old, so I layed this under the cushions and our sinking sofa feels like new again. Maybe if the material is similar, it’s an Idea…or throw pilllows…

    • Jeri says:

      sorry to hear you dont like your sleep number bed we have had our for 5 years but we got it cause someone sold it for $200. We actually love it. no ideas on how to recycle

  3. Meghan says:

    my husband does snus with the camel aluminum cans and also plastic cans. they collect quickly. what can i do to reuse these can? i was thinking a bird feeder but i’m not sure. any ideas?

    • tammy gary says:

      Meghan look up Altered tins under “Images” on your Browser and you should see a ton of cute ways to use them. I don’t know if they will hold much but may could be a mini First Aid Kit for a scout troop or church youth group project. Spray paint and put a tiny pack of neosporin, alcohol wipe and couple of band aids.

    • You could consider smelting the aluminium and making casts. There is a lot of info on the web about this. AL melts at a low temp so its relatively easy to melt down. You can even concentrate sunlight to melt it down for free! Google ‘fresnel lens’ and be amazed.

  4. Cindy says:

    They’re great for keeping small items in your purse(a little nail kit, an emergency sewing kit…). I don’t know what I’d do with too many, though. If you can do stamped metal, they might make some nice, almost rustic, ‘lanterns’ or candle holders for outside in the summer. Use citronella candles and keep the pesky bugs away.

  5. jan says:

    Had a job as a garden caretaker, enormous garden and lake with koi fish. guy spent a lot of money for flowers. Unfortunately army of snails was invading the whole garden and flowers were eaten daily. wwhole flats of plants were lost. I didn’t like an idea of poisoning snails- and it would take a ton to do the job and then remove the carcases. Since the pond was home to 50 fish that I fed daily with fish pellets, I decided to experiment by picking up snails at dawn and dusk- the only time you can spot them. A gallon plastic bottle of milk/juice/detergent – would cut the top saving the handle and fill it fast. compare the size of pellet and big snail- apparently not an issue to koi fish. the fish loved it. They can swallow any size. First it will test and play- when sure its OK will eat.
    Nature recycling. Owners save on feed and pond/lake fish enjoys new variety diet.If you haven’t pond take it to city park where there is pond, or river or ocean ( bet seagulls will love it).

  6. Jeri says:

    I work at a beauty salon and we just got new aprons so I collected all the old black ones and all the old polyester smocks that they were going to throw away. They were just putting them in the trash so I rescued them now what can I do with them?

  7. Izzy says:

    How do I recyle granite worktops?

  8. bookstorebabe says:

    Broken umbrellas were done a few years back, but most of the suggestions were reuses for the umbrella fabric. How about specifically the metal frame, as is or taken apart? Any clever ideas, anyone?

    • The metal is usually too delicate to bend, so they must be used more or less as is. Spread out, they can be used to train climbing plants.

      • Kathleen says:

        I’ve been thinking of covering with clear plastic to make another umbrella type structure to use as a little greenhouse cover over tender plants in the springtime. Haven’t tried it yet, but it’s not too hard or time consuming to try. Would have to hack saw off the curved handle so that the pole could then be stuck in the ground. What do you think? Worth a try?

      • Kathleen says:

        Here are some other thoughts: Hang the umbrella from a tree branch outdoors, but fix the broken part so the shape is nice again, and having already recovered with permeable material (burlap?) for airflow or water drainage. Use as a bird feeder or even a sun-based dehydrator for apple slices or to sun-dry your parsley crop, or even just to dry that special sweater you hand washed. What do you think?

  9. Nicole says:

    I’ve had two straighteners/flat irons (to straighten hair) die on me. Is there a way to recycle these other than tossing them?

  10. Karen says:

    I’ve got 8 cartridges from my boyfriends work. They were going to throw them away. I thought they would fit in my computer, but they are the wrong size (HP size 11). I tried selling them on ebay (or even give them away free) but (and I didn’t know inkt cartridges had this) the experation date is oktober 2006. Nobody wants them, even for free. Is there anyway to recycle them? I find it awfully wastefull just to throw them away. Thanks!

  11. Valerey says:

    I work in the medical profession and I open and use medications all the time. I was wondering is there any way to reuse the flip seals on the top of the single use vials. I have a quite a few and need some suggestions….thanks.

  12. Jim Gallo says:

    My father left me a lot of vintage tools eg. Saws ,wrenches, Planes etc.. How can I recycle them

    • Janet says:

      depending on what you have, you might be able to sell them! a lot of people are interested (including my father) in vintage or antique tools. You can also give them to a museum (if they’re old), or donate them to a local secondary school (if they’re still useable) with a craft/technical dept! :)

    • Everyone should keep a basic tool kit in the home. Older tools are more likely to be better made than cheep tools today, so keep some of them for yourself or friends.

      It is very unlikely that the tools are ‘valuable’, though this term can mean different things to different people. To me a valuable tool is anything worth over $100. In general, condition is more important than age. Perhaps the most ‘collectable’ old tools are the planes, but most planes are not valuable because they are not rare.

      There are many sites on the web that deal in old tools. Check for any brand names on the tools and google them. It should not be hard to get an approximate value for any branded tool, assuming it is in good condition.

      Any tool marked ‘superior’ is unlikely to be valuable.

      Any tool that is hand made or unusual in some way can be valuable, BUT production tools that have been modified or repaired are generally not valuable.

      There could be many items among your father’s tools that you do not recognise as tools. They might just look like bits of junk. These mystery objects can be valuable antique tools. So take a long look at everything before you clean out the shed.

      Someone in your family may be more interested in family history or DIY than you. I’d ask around first before disposing of them outside the family. The good will you could generate in your family is worth far more than the cash value of the tools. If the family isn’t interested, old tools also make great presents.

      As for recycling tools: Old saws can be cut up into scrapers to finish wood. Old wrenches make great bending irons for blacksmith work. Almost any bit of old junk will be useful to an artist or sculptor, so ask around if you don’t know any personally.

  13. Karen says:

    Hi! I found out of date instant soup packets. Any ideas?

    • Kathleen says:

      If they are high in sodium, I would flush the contents down the toilet. If they are not high in sodium, I would mix up some whole wheat flour, and soup content of packet, and some water and bake some doggie biscuits.

  14. Amanda says:

    I make popcorn using a popcorn popper, and always seem to make to much, and end up with stale popcorn the next day. It has butter and salt on it. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make some use out of it?

    • Kathleen says:

      My mini-doxie prefers shak-um cheese on hers. Do you ever have any left over with cheesy topping? No really–just put outside on the ground but not near the house. Something eats everything.

      • Julia says:

        I make popcorn the same way but I usually seperate what i will eat and what I won’t. The unsalted popcorn is always good to throw out to the squirrels and I usually eat the salted stuff :]

  15. Shar says:

    I have increasing numbers of empty Purina one cat food bags.
    Because they are plastic foil they are not accepted by my local council for recycling. [I’m in uk]
    Bag has a zip lock. Sturdy item. Not sure what to do with them. I would gladly donate them to somewhere if I knew a place that re-used them.
    size: 23 cm width / 27 cm height. Folds flat. At present these add to landfill. {cringes} Any ideas how to recycle / re-use? [I do not have a garden or balcony, so no independent outdoor space]

  16. Kathleen says:

    I think you should first call the company and tell them how much your cats enjoy their product, but since the material they use for packaging in your country cannot be recycled, you cannot in good conscience purchase it any longer. Purina doesn’t use paper with aluminum in the US. They use paper with a shiny coating but I can recycle them. Ask them what they use in the US and why they don’t use that in the UK. Tell them no, you don’t want coupons to purchase more of their product.! You want them to use materials for packaging that can be recycled.

    Those that you have can be filled first with some pebbles and houseplant charcoal for freshness, and then with good houseplant soil and planted with coleus, or better yet, with catnip seeds for your cat’s future enjoyment.

  17. Carolyn says:

    Every two years my husband’s blue handicap tags for the vehicles expire. The county gives him new ones at no cost.
    What can we do with the expired tags, made of heavy but flexible plastic?
    They are about 3.5″ x 6.75″ plus another 2.5″ for the hook at the top.

    • There are an infinite number of uses for them. I’d put them with your tools and they will come in handy sooner or later.

    • Raynor says:

      You might give them to a gardener. They are very weather proof, and with cutting them in strips (so as to not have them lifted away by would be parkers) could be marked with permanent markers and used to identify rows of planted garden seeds or flowering plants.

  18. Emily says:

    Would anybody have any ideas for reusing the bags that stock feed comes in? They are some sort of plastic and not recycleable

  19. Kate=) says:

    p.s. i find lots of video on youtube,but is there one lava lamp without the alka-something tablets? give suggestions! i will definitely appreciate ur suggestions =)
    p.p.s how can u make a crusher for unuse things with recycled items like newspapers,glass,cans,etc?

  20. Stephanie says:

    My DH bought me a Nook Color for our anniversary! But it comes in this awesome heavy duty box with magnets that close it/keep it open. It’s not really practical for storing the nook but I’d love to see it upcycled into something. Any ideas?

    • Bee says:

      Without really knowing what it looks like..
      Perhaps put a faux book cover on it and make it a hideaway book for your bookshelf?
      Or if it can rest on a flat surface, perhaps put in some dividers and make it into a travel kit for stuff like crafting supplies, med kit, sewing kit, ect.

  21. tammy gary says:

    Would love ideas to reuse the Stax potato chip cans.

  22. joan raftery says:

    A deceased good friends photo albums need to be disposed of. Mainly of family friends and her cats, loa
    thed to just chuck them in a bin, other than that, what do I do?Help…..

    • Id try to locate next of kin and ask specifically for anyone who is interested in family history.

      Failing this, what to do depends on the age of the photos, and how much time you want to spend on the project. You can toss the recent domestic snapshots, (duplicates and duds) but any image that includes something or somewhere identifiable, is potentially of interest to historians, special interest groups or collectors. Almost any photo taken before 1980 is worth keeping. Also check the backs for notes or dates. You could hold the key to someone else’s mystery.

      If your friend was organised enough to keep albums, she probably has boxes somewhere full of negatives and prints she wasn’t interested in. These could be far more interesting to other people.

      If storage space is a problem, take the photos out of the albums.

  23. Janet says:

    I have several combs that I don’t use.Can they be re-used or recycled?

  24. Tina says:

    what can I use sweetcorn plants for?
    I like to eat or use as much of my plants as possible, before composting the rest. There must be a million uses for corn plants, but can I find any? help!

  25. Karen says:

    I had bought a lavender plant but it died, because I guess I didn’t give enough water. I was going to throw it away but thought of this site and save the (dried) lavender branches. I put it in a plastic bag to use later. Was thinking to use as a scent bag in my closet. When I opened the plastic bag after a week, the smell was a lot less. Did I do something wrong? My question is: how can I use my own lavender to make a scent bag, that will smell/last longer?
    Thanks! Karen

    • Janette M Hursh says:

      With your next plant you need to clip the branches as the blossoms begin to open. Gather the bottom of these cut branches with string and hang them upside-down in a cool area away from sunlight so air can get around them. After drying remove the blossoms (they’ll still have the lavender color) and spread them on a cheesecloth square about the size of a man’s hankie. Then just pull it together and tie with string, leaving a loop at the top to hang in your closet. I’ve done this for years at times overlapping the cheesecloth covered lavender “ball” with a good quality lace and tied with color satin ribbons. They make great gifts! PS: best not to store cut plants in plastic unless you’re assured they’re completely moisture-free. Plastic can leach-out oils and scents.

  26. Lizzy says:

    Which is worse – matches or lighters ?

  27. Karen says:

    Our plastic patio table just broke. The leg snapped straight off. The legs are rounded on the bottom, so it would be hard to replace. I saw the post about discolored patio furniture, but is there any way to fix/reuse the table? I will have to throw it away if not!

  28. rachael says:

    hi, how can recycle some slippers? do shoe banks take them? thanks

    • Thin wood can be bent using heat and or steam. That is how they make the sides of guitars and violins. The simplest way to bend small pieces of wood is in a microwave. BTW This is a good reuse of a working microwave you no longer use in the kitchen. You cut the wood to fit in the microwave, soak it in water for 2 days. Set up a work area and bending form (any heavy duty cylinder will do). You will also need some towels and tongs for handling the hot wood. Together with some cheep clamps from a $2 shop. The great advantage of the microwave method is its speed. It only takes 1m 30s to make the wood pliable. Take it out, shake it off and clamp it down. Curved wood can be used for countless art and craft projects.

  29. Gail Haass says:

    I am wondering if someone would have a craft idea where you could use faux wood blinds. I have so many left over because of having to take them out for the length of my windows. Please contact if any ideas. Thx

  30. Tabitha says:

    How can I recycle the plastic spoons you get in children’s medicine bottles? Thanks ;oD

  31. Bettina says:

    How can I reuse cookie cutters? Other than as soap molds.

  32. M.Devine says:

    I have quite a few old watches that don’t work. Any ideas??

  33. Bee says:

    What can I do with a lot of wood ash after it has been leached? I have a large firepit, and I plan on saving and leaching the ashes… but I’m very leery about tossing that much slag ash onto the compost heap. I’ve found lots of info about ashes before leaching, but practically nothing about after leaching.

  34. hi my name is amanda and i have just started up my own non profit charity for all the animals in need of our help. Our name is Animal Ark Ireland and we are in an enterprise centre at the moment, but we are working round the clock to try and get a proper shop, where we can operate properly from. The shop we want to open will not only be a charity shop but also an information centre for any questions or help people may want about animals eg… nearest vet, pet purchasing, how to look after your pet, lost and found animals,animals being ill treated etc.,Above all we want anyone whos pet has passed away to be able to talk to us and have our support. Now to the reason i am posting this comment , we have been givin a lot of different pieces of material from a very kind lady who runs her own fabric business and we will be getting it on a weekly basis. we are looking for volunteers or organisations who could make us up things we could sell in our shop, out of the material. Maybe book marks, quilts, rag dolls, xmas decorations or whatever you think we could sell. We would be very very grateful for any support anyone out there can give us. we are based in Dublin Ireland and are looking forward to hearing any suggestions you may have. yours gratefully Amanda.

  35. Joel says:

    My wife just bought a new toaster oven. The previous one had problems in her eyes, because the spring-loaded door didn’t work as smoothly as when new, and the unit, after three years, had a couple unsightliness issues.

    The door is not much of a problem, as far as I’m concerned. It does stay shut reliably when you shut it. So, okay, now I’ve got this little heating unit that I can take to my shop. It seems the controls function as-new. Thermostat system works. Heats up to 450* F.

    People are using old toaster ovens for flow soldering, for un-soldering components on circuit boards, and for powder-coating of small objects. Right now, I don’t do any of those things… but you never know

    Got any other ideas as to how it can come in handy?

  36. snigface says:

    my little girl buys earrings in claires accessories that come as 20 pairs or so. Every earring has a little plastic holder to keep the butterfly back on – they’re like little clear beads. They look really useful so I always save them but I have no idea what I can use them for – I guess they could be used for jewellery making but I’m not that crafty – any ideas?

  37. Ariana says:

    How can i recycle laminated paper? I have lots of laminated paper which I would like to find a way recycle / upcycle, would love to hear if anyone out there has any ideas as to what to do with this? many thanks x

  38. Jane says:

    How can I recycle unused cigarette filters. I recently stopped smoking and have found a few boxes lying around. They come in boxes of 165, I am sure someone could come up with a crafty use for them. Unsure what they are actually made of but they melt in nail varnish remover.

  39. anna says:

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

  40. snigface says:

    how can i reuse the wax from babybels? I was bored at my desk one day and squiged the wax into a shape, so I was wondering if the wax can be used for anything else>?

  41. sasank says:

    please suggest me anything useful made out of a tape recorder not in a working condition

  42. Roberta says:

    As a community carer I have lots of unopened medications, bandages and unopened packs of incontinence pads and pants. Can anybody tell me where the best place would be to send them otherwise they will all be thrown away. Such a waste!

  43. Kamilla says:

    any ideas for use of some of the many many drawing my kid brings home (mostly just lines and skribbels in different colurs). I made a few birthday card for grandparents and so. And they (sorry) are not that pretty to just hang up

  44. julia c says:

    any uses for those fabric eyeshades you get free on airlines?

  45. Jacky says:

    My son has a number of work t.shirts which have his name embroided on them. Not happy about a charity shop donation, any ideas where we can send these to be used?

  46. cecily says:

    can i recycle framed pictures, CDs and old tapes??

  47. Chris Jordan says:

    Has anyone got a use for old bicycle tyres and inner tubes? At Spokes CIC, which is a subsidiary of The Emily Jordan Foundation we finish up with a lot of old ones which nobody seems to want. If anyone has a use for these they can come and collect as many as they like!

    At the unit we are helping young people with learning disabilities to gain some skills to enable them to get into work. We do this by training them to rebuild second hand bikes that are donated by the public, so we are always looking for old bikes as well!

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