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Waste Reduction

Alternative Uses of Items in Your Home You Would Normally Throw Away

It can be difficult to live a waste-free life when many of the items we use every day are disposable or single-use. There are a lot of reusable products on the market, but they are not as widespread as disposables.

You don’t need to stop purchasing necessities in order to reduce waste. Reuse what you cannot refuse! Here are some other ways you can use items around the house instead of throwing it away.

EGG CARTONSYou’d be surprised at how many uses you can get out of egg cartons. You can repurpose egg cartons in many creative ways.

Use egg cartons as paint palettes or to store and organize jewelry. You can also get creative and make a birdfeeder, Christmas decoration storage, or cute holiday wreath. (Read more about plastic-free Christmas decorations and gifts). You can reuse egg cartons for many different crafts and storage options.

If you don’t want to reuse the egg yourself, find someone else who is. Kindergarten teachers can reuse them creatively in class, or farmers’ markets will sell eggs with recycled eggs.


Once you crack an egg, the shell is thrown away. What else could an eggshell do?

You can use eggshells in many ways, including composting (beginners should follow this), grinding them and adding them to your garden soil for improved condition, or reducing bitterness. Pour some eggshells into the coffee while it is brewing and observe how much acidity the shells remove.

Some people say that you can use eggshells as a way to clean your drainpipes. however, some plumbers warn this could clog the drain.

Eggshells are a great source of calcium for wild birds and chickens. For humans, they can also be used as a supplement to feed (read about the pros and cons of eggshells by clicking here). Powdered eggshells combined with baking soda and vinegar (one cup powdered eggs: three cups baking soda) can create a homemade cleaner.


Aluminum foil can become greasy or charred when used in the kitchen, but clean sheets can still be reused.

You can use aluminum foil to polish your cutlery. You can use foil to protect your garden from pests, to keep away insects, or to wrap around doorknobs to keep them clean when painting. It’s inevitable that you will throw away some pieces, but by extending the life of your sheets, you can avoid buying as much foil.


Although donating clothes is a great way to recycle, it does not guarantee that they will end up in a landfill. If they are gently used, you can sell them to earn some extra money. But there are also other ways to prolong their life. What if there were other ways you could repurpose these items?

Your t-shirts can be turned into reusable shopping bags (without having to sew!) Step-by-Step instructions are available here. You can also sew a quilt, pillowcases, or a t-shirt into a reusable shopping bag. A holey sock is perfect for a DIY reusable cup. Simply cut off the ankle and use it as a cosey to wrap around a reused glass jar.

Create a pillow pocket to hold your remote control or draft stopper for under your windows and doors.


Glass jars can be reused in a variety of ways. Glass jars are available in many forms. From pickle jars to candles, you can reuse them as often as you like.

Glass jars can be used to store coffee grounds, spices, or other food items to keep them fresh. They can also be used for food preparation. Use them to store flowers or as vases. Or, keep one near the door for spare change. There are many possibilities.


When shoes are purchased new, they usually come in a shoe box. Although it may seem simple to recycle the shoe box, you can use it in many other ways.

The cardboard can be used in many different ways. You can make drawer dividers or compost them. shoe boxes can be upcycled for shoe storage or turned into cord organizers. These boxes can be used to pack small items or fragile objects when moving.


We all forget to bring reusable bags with us when we go shopping. Plastic pollution is bad for the environment. Reusing plastic bags is a must.

Store some plastic bags inside your car in case you forget to pack reusable bags. You can reuse plastic bags as often as canvas bags as long as they do not rip. You can upcycle plastic bags if you are crafty by weaving them and making anything from decor to coasters.


Old toothbrushes are a great cleaning tool. Toothbrushes can remove stains from clothing or get into the small crevices in your bathroom tiles or kitchen sink.

Old toothbrushes can create texture for arts and crafts or even shine shoes. You can also use a worn-out toothbrush to apply makeup, especially on the eyebrows. Be sure to clean it first. Could you think twice before throwing them away?


You don’t need to throw away a newspaper after reading it just once. Newspaper can be used to remove the odor from worn-out shoes, to protect your car’s windshield against winter weather, and even as a packing material for fragile items.

The newspaper can also line litter boxes and pick up dog poop on walks. (Here’s How to Make Newspaper Dog Poop Bags). Newspaper can be used to wrap up produce and allow it to ripen.


Repurposing can help you avoid waste. Get creative and give your old sweatshirt, glass jar, or a new life.

Guest Author Bio: Cora Gold, a sustainable living blogger, is the Editor-in-Chief of the women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist. Connect with Cora via Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Jane S. King

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