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25 Things You Can Re-Use At Home

Mobile made of re-used CDs © Zo Zhou

Lots of fun ways to re-use products and packaging at home, to help us avoid, reduce and re-use.

Australians are great at recycling packaging at home like aluminium cans, bottles, jars and newspapers, which helps keep down the amount we send to landfill. By re-using packaging and other items, we can reduce our waste even further, as well as saving money and resources by avoiding buying something new.

Below are some of the many fun and easy ways we can re-use and recycle at home. For more info, lessons plans and fun recycling activities for home or work, visit RecyclingWeek.PlanetArk.org.

  1. Old CDs make funky coasters! Just stick two together and paste felt underneath if necessary.
  2. Melt the remains of a lipstick together with a small pot of lip balm - makes a great lip gloss!
  3. worm farm and bokashi
  4. Make a tin can telephone. Take off the lids and then tie two coffee tins together with a long piece of string for the desired effect - kids love it!
  5. Create ice blocks for your esky - fill up old milk cartons with water and freeze them.
  6. Want to keep the kids amused? Empty roll-on deodorant bottles can be used as paint pens for small children. Wash the plastic ball and bottle, then fill with paint and replace the ball and lid. When storing, keep it upside down with the lid on tightly.
  7. Get yourself a worm farm and feed it all of your food scraps. One kilogram of worms can eat and recycle one kilogram of food every day, giving you nutritious worm castings for your plants and vegies.
  8. Put your steel bottle tops and jam jar lids into an old steel can. When the tin is half full, squash the top together so the contents are held in - then put it in your recycling bin.
  9. Open up the bottom of a used milk carton and plant a tree seedling inside it. The carton will protect your seedling from weather and pests, and when planted it will degrade as the tree grows.
  10. Going on a picnic? Squash your cans and bottles and bring them home to recycle!
  11. Save your corks in a jar on the window ledge. They can be used as a stamp when painting, or you could even make your own cork noticeboard by gluing them to a plank or corflute!
  12. Clear plastic lids can be placed under oil jars in the cupboard or aerosols in the bathroom to prevent oil or rust marks on your shelves.
  13. Make your own gift wrap! Wrap your presents in the comic pages from your local Sunday newspaper, magazines or comics. Kids (and even adults) love it!
  14. steel can with bottle tops in
  15. Why not store your food scraps temporarily in an old ice cream container, before you put them onto your worm farm or compost?
  16. Pour old cooking oil and fat into a used milk carton or jar and put it out in the rubbish. It clogs the drains if put down the sink. Newspaper can also be used to wipe out oily pots.
  17. Old wet-wipe containers make great string dispensers - try it out!
  18. Collect branches from the garden to make a Christmas tree. Have a fun time arranging them in a vase or pot and then hang on the decorations!
  19. Get creative making Christmas and birthday cards from old cards, postcards, photos, stamps, pretty paper and more. Your family and friends will love the handmade greetings! For more recycling ideas with cards, check out FestiveRecycling.PlanetArk.org
  20. Keep old jeans to use as patches for other jeans.
  21. clothes
  22. Save old lip balm pots and small toiletry containers. Refill these from your large bottles to make travelling packs.
  23. Placing bottle top or jar lids under your chairs or sofa is a great way to protect your carpet.
  24. Has your pillow gone flat? Then why not fold it over and put it inside a new cushion cover?
  25. Got some old clothes or furniture that you don't want anymore? There are plenty of charity shops that do want them, so why not donate your unwanted items to your local op shop? Search RecyclingNearYou.com.au to find your local shop, and give them a call to check.
  26. Save bread bags and other food or newspaper bags to take as doggie-doo bags when walking the dog.
  27. Use newspaper to line the kitchen bin. Give the bin a quick rinse when needed, pouring it out on the garden.
  28. Glass jars or take-away containers make great storage containers for cake decorations, leaf teas, buttons and many other things!

For other recycling info and activities including lesson plans and a guide to hosting a swap party, visit RecyclingWeek.PlanetArk.org.