Ways to Reuse Common Household Trash

In our society where everything is seemingly disposable, it takes effort and creativity to reuse things that we commonly toss without a second thought. Here are some of the ways to reuse common household trash:

Glass Jars

  • Buy items in glass containers as glass can be recycled endlessly while plastic can only be recycled a limited number of times before they are discarded. 
  • Use glass jars to store dry goods (pasta, flour, nuts, etc.) and herbs. They make great drink mugs as well!
  • Glass jars make versatile decorative pieces! In fact, we used mason jars as vases at our wedding!
How to Remove Labels from Glass Jars (The Natural Way):
  1. Some labels come off easily so try to remove them first before pulling out the big guns. I find paper labels are often removed easily without much effort.
  2. If the label is stuck, try soaking the jar in some water overnight. This usually softens the label and glue. This works wonders for paper labels (think Classico pasta sauce jars).
  3. For heavy-duty sticker labels like the ones on Kombucha bottles – Pour hot water in the container and let it sit for a few minutes. The hot water should start to melt the glue and the label should come off easily. (Comes in handy when making your own Kombucha)
  4. Now for the pesky residue – what I find works is a mixture of oil and baking soda. No specific recipe here but you are looking for a paste-like consistency to apply to the exterior of the sticky residue. Let it sit then scrub and rinse with hot water.

BLACK PLASTIC CONTAINERS

  • They were made for takeout so why not reuse them for takeout! Many establishments allow you to bring your own container to avoid the waste.

  • Use them as storage containers around the house. They are especially useful to separate small items, like extra nuts and bolts, pens and pencils, etc.

  • Use them in the freezer! Freeze fruit like peeled and cut banana which are perfect for smoothies.

  • Use them for meal prep! Store portions of pre-cut vegetables and and precooked grains to make a quick and easy weekday meal.

  • Remember: black plastic cannot be recycled and needs to be thrown in the garbage in the City of Toronto

Zipper bags

  • Always wash and reuse zipper bags whenever possible to extend the life of them before they are ultimately worn out. Remember, they are only single-use if you use them once!

  • Use them as freezer bags! Commercial products that come in zipper bags, such as large bags of frozen veggies or fruit, can be used as a regular freezer bag after they have been cleaned
  • Use them as bread bags! Have some in handy to avoid taking more plastic bags when buying things like bagels and croissants from the supermarket.

Elastic bands

  • Use them as grippers! Wrap a thick elastic around the edge of the lid and it works as a grip to help open those hard-to-open jars. 
  • Use them to make things slip-proof! Wrap elastics around a cutting board to make it budge-proof on the kitchen counter.
  • I will have to try this out this year but I heard that some farmers market vendors will gladly take elastic bands to reuse for their own produce.
What other household items do you reuse? Let me know below!

TL/dr – try to reuse common household items that we normally throw out to reduce our waste footprint!

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