Useful And Fantastic: Nineteen Re-using Tips

Re-using saves more money than recycling, declares Val Yule.

Re-use saves even more than recycling.

Shopping and buying things is a lot of fun.

Enjoying what you have is even more fun.

Re-use saves even more energy and greenhouse emissions than recycling, (when recycling means sending off something like jars or paper or plastic to be turned back into its original ingredients and made all over again.)

Here are 19 ideas about re-use in the Kitchen, and four about recycling. But where do you keep things until you want to re-use them? Here is what I do. But I am lucky, I have a pantry.

Re-usables that can be re-used in many ways:

1. Berry boxes I keep a dozen stacked on a shelf handy for many uses.
2. Bottles for home-made cordial etc. In a box on the bottom pantry shelving. I keep three plastic water bottles in the fridge to fill with tap water.
3. Butchers' wrapping paper. A flat pile in the oven when I am not baking. Use instead of bought kitchen paper, and also for children's art.
4. Cardboard cake and pizza boxes and other cardboard boxes. In a large cardboard box on top of pantry shelving.
5. Cardboard grocery boxes. In the garage when they are not being used—as carry-boxes kept in the car boot for shopping, or saving things for op-shops, or used as book or toy boxes. The latter can be covered with pictures.
6. Envelopes. I re-use window envelopes, large envelopes and jiffy bags, kept in the right-size boxes.
7. Gift-wrap in good condition, or steam-ironed. Flat in a drawer.
8. Hot water. Even when you try to fill an electric kettle with no more water than you need, it has a minimum that is more than the one cuppa you may want. Put the extra in a vacuum flask for next time. My sister fills a whole flask first thing in the morning for all the cuppas during the day.
9. Jars. Glass jars for jam etc. On a shelf. Surplus goes into Recycling Bin.
10. Margarine boxes I keep a dozen stacked for freezer-containers and many other uses.
11. Milk-cartons. Plastic 2-litre cartons with top cut off and handle left on make good carriers for flower-sharing, and also one to keep jellied soap scraps for kitchen & laundry.
12. Paper bags. Under a cake-box. Re-used for lunches, fruit etc. Take them inside a plastic bag for pooper-scooping, and the paper bag and poop can both be buried as compost.
13. Paper with only one side used. In a drawer, to print on the other side, or staple for note-pads. (But still, more comes into the house than I can possibly use, and has to go into the Waste Recycling.)
14. Plastic bags. Clean. In a bigger bag on a hook, and inside my shopping jeep.
15. Plastic carry-bags, large. Over a coat-hanger on a hook in a back-room. (Also useful as gift-bags for presents.)
16. Plastic bags. Tatty. To put squelchy rubbish and bones etc in, for the rubbish-bin., and to line the bin. In a box in a corner.
17. Plastic wrappers from newspapers are often useful, eg for giving people parsley, posies, etc.. Flat, in a cardboard box in the pantry.
18. Rags. Collected in a box. Used for cleaning rags.
19. Takeaway plastic boxes. Stacked on a shelf. Useful for the fridge and as containers for gifts.

1. Bones. To make soup-stock before throwing out, or give to family's dogs.
2. Citrus peel and egg-shells. No good for worm-farms. Into the compost.
3. Food-scraps for worm-farm. Keep for the day in an ice-cream container with lid on the kitchen sink.
4. Newspaper is collected in the old council newspaper box in the pantry. It's often used for something before the box is emptied into the Recycling Bin outside. I keep interesting cuttings for later reference— some loose-leaf in a scrap-book, and some under headings in a literature sorter.

Utter rubbish:
In a bin under the kitchen table. It is almost all unrecyclable packaging. Old bones etc. go inside the packaging so I dont need to buy bin-liners.

These Re-uses quickly become habits so you don't even need to think about them.

Why do I do it? Because I have seen hunger overseas.

And in Korea in 1950 I lived with Americans whose servant had as a perk selling the EMPTY food tins at the market. I can find no use for empty food tins except to protect seedlings against snails.

If you save ALL of these things that flood into your house, you will be surprised by how much it is. Not only that, your home will soon be crammed full. When you have too much of anything, the surplus does have to go straight into the recycling bin.

© Valerie Yule


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