Posts tagged "reuse"

How can I reuse or recycle a LOT of pinback buttons/badges?

(Ooops, sorry for the absence – I was busy then ill because I’d been busy and also ill because I ate some tasted-fine-but-actually-bad out of date sausages. Yes.)

Right then, Nicole has been in touch asking about “pinback buttons”:

I have thousands of pinback buttons from a failed work campaign. Would love to make them over into something pretty and/or useful. Any suggestions?

I think “pinback buttons” are what we in Britain usually just call “badges” – which we have covered before. There are some great reuses on there (I love fabric covered badges) but I’m not sure if that’s an appropriate suggestion for Nicole – unless she wants to make thousands of them. The decorative pinboard pins idea might be better – since you’d use a good number on a pinboard at a time – unless the campaign failed so badly that you don’t want to be reminded of it ;)

Any more ideas for using up a lot of pinback buttons/badges?

(Photo by Ellen Munro)

Five fantastic reuses for plastic milk bottles

With their semi-rigid sides & strong handle, plastic milk bottles are very easily reusable – which is useful since there are bajillions generated every day.

We’ve had loads of great suggestions about them over the years but here are some of my favourites:

1. Pencil sorter
Mentioned as a featured link a few weeks ago, I love how neat and practical these containers are for coloured pencils/pens. Stored on a shelf, the lids could be painted the colour of the pencils to make for easy identification.

2. Paint caddy
One close to my heart at the moment because we’re decorating – plastic milk jugs make great paint caddies. 4 pint/half-gallon/2ltr bottles are best for this – cut out the panel of plastic opposite the handle, leave the neck intact for strength and cut down to about half way. The handle is easy to hold (or you could loop some wire/string around it to hang it from a ladder rung) and the caddy holds about 2 pints/1ltr of paint at a time – enough to do a fair amount of painting.

3. Foraging container
SandyM’s family use gallon milk bottles as foraging containers – widen the neck and add a loop of rope or a strong belt through the handle holds it up, leaving both hands free for collecting fruit. In the UK, our bottles tend to be long & thin, so possibly the wrong shape for this – but a great idea if you can get hold of those bigger square bottles.

4. Bird feeder
One of the original ideas for reusing them – make them into bird feeders. The how-to uses gallon jugs but the same theory can be applied to smaller ones too – I’ve made mini ones for our mini-tree from 1ltr/2pint bottles.

(I’ve also used a plastic milk bottle as a grit hopper for our chickens – same principle as the bird feeder but with stones/shells instead of food. It would be a cruel joke if they didn’t need the grit for digestion.)

5. Scoops
Cut away a wedge from the bottom to make it into a scoop – for scooping flour/grain/animal feed or other dry goods, or at the other end, as a pet poop scoop. Leave the lid on to avoid spills from the other end.

What are your favourite reuses for plastic milk bottles?

How can I reuse or recycle plastic recycling boxes?

Recycling boxesWe’ve had another suggestion from the wonderful Am (Delusion), and it’s a bit of a meta one:

As our council have changed our curbside collection from collection boxes for paper & bottles etc to now using our old black wheelie bins, I thought of what could be done with the old recycle boxes.

The council will recycle them and so they can be taken to the Household Waste Centre, however I am sure they can have some more uses!

I have managed to acquire 6 so far, as I am going to use one for storage of plant pots, another three are going to be used as large trough plant pots for my new Wildflower seed mix and another two are going to have their bases sliced off and buried in my borders to contain my very invasive poppies.

Any other suggestions?

I’m going on a mint growing extravaganza this year to sate John’s new obsession with mint teas and they (well, the rest of the garden really) would benefit from growing in troughs like that. We’re also constantly on the look out for lidded boxes as part of our ongoing quest to cat proof the cellar (aka the pee war ground between our cats & the neighbour stray: yes, it’s pleasant). But anything a bit different?

How can I reuse or recycle … jewellery boxes?

A jewellery box with a ring in itOn a shelf in our bedroom, I have a little collection of jewellery boxes.

My jewellery tends to be on the cheap (and/or home-made) kind but every now and then, I get something in a box – either a proper padded ring or earring box, or just a fancy cardboard one.

Given the cheapness of the items (and my laziness), I rarely use the boxes after I’ve got them (as I’ve got a proper jewellery box and a tray to fling cheap bracelets into) but as always, I’m reluctant to throw the little boxes away.

Any suggestions for reuses that would take advantage of the padding? Or do any charities collect them for reuse?

(Photo by nsoup)

How can I reuse or recycle breakfast cereal boxes?

Cereal boxesJohn and I are breakfast cereal-fanatics at the moment and are munching our way through box after box of pre-sweetened, chocolate-flavour flavoured puffed nonsense (me) and dull, wholewheat goodness (him).

Most of our favourite cereals come in plastic bags within glossy-printed cardboard boxes so we’re left with a lot of rubbish at the end of each pack.

When I was small, cereal boxes were regularly harvested for their card but I don’t do as much cutting and sticking for fun now – and when I do need some non-corrugated card, cat food boxes tend to be sturdier (if slightly smelling of fish and ash).

As with most paper products, they will compost down but some people worry about the full colour printed designs – some inks are toxic and will leech chemicals into the compost.

Any reusing or recycling for the card sides or the boxes as a whole?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Reduce the amount of boxes you generate by minimising cereal waste – reseal the bag & box every time you use it, or transfer the contents to an airtight container from the get-go.
  • Reuse – practical: Cut off the top and one corner to make files for magazines/paperwork.
  • Reuse – crafts: Use the card for stencils or making fun business cards/postcards (some printers allow you to print onto card, or you can get postcard-template rubber stamps and custom stamps for your details).
  • Recycle: Many councils accept thin card as part of their kerbside recycling or at community waste recycling facilities.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by simbncn)