Recycling just makes sense. Making the effort may not be simple in a world of consumerism where most items are built to be replaced instead of repaired, but you too can recycle some common items into profitable pieces with a little ingenuity. Try these 6 ideas out at home to get started.
1. Skids. Recycling skids has become one of the favorite pastimes here on the farm. We have used plastic skids to make shelters for chickens, stray cats, and dogs. The sturdy construction means these houses hold up terrifically. We’ve also found that many skids are made from hardwoods. We took these hardwood skids apart, had the local Amish lumber mill plane them down, and made a nice floor for our storage room – all for the price of the planing service and a little varnish and sealer.
2. CDs and DVDs. We’ve all got a collection of irreparably scratched CDs and DVDs, but rather than throw them out, why not put them to use? Tie an old CD to a post with a length of fishing line in the garden to scare away birds. The CDs twirl and glitter in the sun and wind, effectively scaring off crows and other seed pecking birds.
3. Old jeans. Kid’s jeans seem to be plentiful around here, but once they reach the last child, they’re pretty beat up. My grandmother always cut them up into strips and tied them into rag rugs. However, we’ve found several crafty uses for old jeans, including this three ring binder cover that we made for all the school-aged girls in our family. You can also cut the tags off old clothes before getting rid of them, and sew the tags together for a tag blanket that babies love.
4. Baby diapers. More often than not, your little one seems to move up a diaper size overnight, leaving you with a few leftover diapers in a too-small size. You can always give these leftovers to your favorite little girl to put on her baby dolls, or you can save them up to make a diaper cake. A diaper cake is a fun project to give away at a baby shower. You make the “cake” out of rolled diapers and blankets, and decorate it with baby items such as rattles, ribbons, hair bows, and small toys.
5. Plastic jars. One of my pet peeves is the pile of cat toys that always seems to be underfoot. Previously, we tossed them into the cat bed, only to have her drag them out again a few minutes later. To solve the problem, we recycled a large plastic cheese puff jar into a cat toy holder. We cut a small hole in the bottom so the cat can reach in and fish for what she wants, and the kids decorated the jar pictures of mice and tuna. You can also recycle peanut butter jars to hold just about any small item, such as this Lady Bug Jar.
6. Newspapers. Old newspapers make great mulch when shredded, keep weeds down in the garden when placed around plants, and clean windows like nobody’s business (use with your vinegar or your favorite cleaner instead of paper towels).
Here’s one more! If you know how to crochet, or are willing to learn, you can finally put to use that stash of plastic chopping bags you have living in a cupboard somewhere. Simply cut the bags into long plastic loops (cut off the handles and bottom of the bad, then cut into strips) and crochet away. These make great beach bags, camping mats, and other water-resistant items!
What’s your favorite recycled project at home?