5 reuse ideas that will blow your mind…

Filed in Blog, Reuse by on August 23, 2012 12 Comments
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Tell me what reuse ideas you have too!

Well maybe not blow your mind, or even blow your socks off, but they’re pretty good.

This week I was inspired by an amazing reuse idea I was sent on the internet and it got me thinking about all the things we reuse here at zero waste towers.

None of it is rocket science but I had fun going around the home and finding some things to photograph.

First up is my absolutely favourite. I remember Granddad Green doing a similar thing when I lived at home and I thought it was brilliant.

How many of you end up with a ball of string wound around everything in the junk drawer? Well this little beauty stops it in its tracks AND you get to reuse an old coffee pot:


Next up, your favourite and mine; the humble glass jam jar. What’s not to love about these amazing creations? With or without lids, they are the ultimate storage solution. Here I’m using them for bicarbonate of soda, rhassoul clay and cocktail sticks:


Next in line is something we made for Little Miss Green who wanted a money pot. I’d bought her one in a charity shop but she wanted another so she could separate her savings from her spending money. Not about to hoof out to the shops we put our creative heads on and came up with this:

Cocoa pot becomes money pot


I buy food in bulk form a food co-op (it’s cheaper and I generally end up with less packaging). This honey pot was begging to be reused, so now it’s on my desk housing my pens, pencils and scissors.:

I was buzzy beeing clever with this reuse


Once upon a time we forgot to take our reusable containers when we went shopping so we bought some chicken from the supermarket. We found the best packaging we could which was aluminium. Instead of recycling I put two inside one another as the perfect drainage pot for my aloe vera (they don’t like too much water):

Keeping my aloe vera plants happy; these aluminium containers


Oh, and the picture that inspired me to write this post? It’s this beautiful bagel holder; made from an old CD spindle – genius!

The perfect bagel holder made from an old cd spindle case


Tell me ; what have you reused around your home that you’re most proud of? Best suggestion gets some sticky backed plastic and glue.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Carrie says:

    Oh my, what genius! I have often despaired at CD holders and what to do with them! Lots of very nifty reuse ideas. Particularly the string pot, I’m going to put that in action here. Thanks Mrs G.

  2. Sheindal says:

    I’m a never throw anything away freak (hard when a family of 4 lives in a tiny 2 bed terrace) but am always concerned about the repurposing of certain materials – I’ve seen this bagel idea before, but I’m really dubious about the food grade-ness of the plastic – who knows what might leach out into the food, especially if you have anything oily (smoked salmon and cream cheese filling springs to mind, it being a bagel) touching the plastic.

  3. Sue C says:

    Like you we have various pots around the house for pens and hairbrush holders – I decorate the sides with old wrapping paper so they brighten up and hide the Bourneville slogans.

    I also use old mugs with broken handles or chips, paint them and use them for pen pots etc etc. And last term I needed 30 drums for the Brownie meeting, so my hoarding nature came in handy and I dug out enough old icecream tubs from the garage for them to bang away on…….

    But I’m loving the bagel holder! II found a stack of old cds in the shed which I used once as bird scarers on my veg patch, will re-use them next spring.

  4. Great ideas. We save a lot of containers to use as seed starters for our garden in the spring. We also save jars to store leftover sauces or nuts and bolts around the house.

  5. Jennifer says:

    The bagel holder! How creative!! And the tins holding the plants. These are all great!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Great ideas! I love that money pot. How creative!

  7. Lynn says:

    use the cd spindle case for sring your extension cords

  8. can’t wait till next year to wish you zero waste and wishes. so whatever my two cents are worth..
    CD case; hair ribbons-pins-rubber bands-scrunchies..all in one place. nail things-or skin things..organize..
    CD case toy for toddlers, fill with colorful rubber balls large enough not to be a hazard, seal with strong tape. roll away, shake it up, make music. or put cubes and letters in it for playtime–paint a name on flat side for each child..
    bagels are the best! how clever!

  9. Irene says:

    Hi, I have always loved re-purposing items. It makes people stop and think.

    I have 3 cats, so I have an abundance of cat food bags and plastic cat litter containers.

    I use the bags to hold the items I take to the recycling center- plastic, glass, cans, paper, etc. They are tough and re-usable.

    I needed a garbage can to go inside a cabinet in the kitchen. An empty cat litter can, 35 lb. works well for that. We usually have very little trash. The goal this year is to reduce my use of paper towels and napkins.

    We live on 43 acres back on a dirt road so most food stuffs get recycled to Mother Nature and the critters in the area. Scrapings from the pot, a few bites left over, salad greens we didn’t eat fast enough, banana peels, orange peels, apple cores, etc.. They seem to like it all.

    When I went to Arkansas I saw stores selling pretty tumbled glass river rocks in various colors. Then I remembered I have lots of rocks in my yard and I don’t need to buy one more. I walked around my property for a few minutes and chose a couple of pretty ones. They are now book ends ( a somewhat matched set)and door stops.

    I use the Ball and Mason jars to hold items in my kitchen – nuts, raisins, loose tea, cornstarch, sugar, etc. The smaller little jars like baby food, or jelly and jam samples (think Christmas gift box sampler) are used to hold spices. They are clear so I know what is in them, or I can put on a label with their name. They also keep items fresh and bug free.

    thanks, everyone

  10. bob gregory says:

    I read an article in backwoodsman magazine (which by the way has a lot of ideas on repurposing things) where one guy was taking dog food bags and sewing them together to make tarps. He could make the tarp any size he wanted and was using them for working on his car on when he was doing something messy.

  11. linda williams says:

    I grew up with so many of these ideas. (I’m 66.) We didn’t waste things simply because waste is wrong. My father collected smallish glass jars, nailed the lids to 1×2’s, hung the 1×2’s on the wall, and screwed the jars onto the lids. He sorted screws, nails, nuts, bolts, washers, etc. of different sizes in each one. It’s a good system and I use it still, tho’ the selection is badly depleted since his death. Excellent fire starters can be made with the paper towels you drained the bacon on. There were no dates on food when I started preparing family meals (I have four kids.) so I never look at them. No one ever had food poisoning. If you have little kids, keep a stack of wash clothes in the kitchen. The are much better at cleaning small faces and hands than paper towels and are softer too. They also do a fine job on bottoms but do require careful washing if used on that end. Plastic high chairs last thru two and a half kids – I’ve kept track with my grandkids – but we’re still using the oak one that my grandmother sat in in 1901.

  12. without trying to be rude, honestly 🙂 why do people use paper towels or napkins at all? This just wouldnt occur to me

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