Reduce, reuse and recycle are the big mantras for eliminating waste and helping to save the planet’s resources and stop the mountain of rubbish getting higher and higher. Here are more recycling (and reusing) ideas.
* Instead of throwing flat beer down the drain, use it as slug and snail bait. Bury a container (e.g. a jam jar, margarine container or old Marmite jar – another form of reusing) so that the top is level with the ground. Fill it with flat beer. The slugs and snails will be attracted to it and slither in to drown. Alternatively, flat beer is supposed to be good for the hair – all those B vitamins from the yeast and malt – so it can be used as a hair rinse.
* Old cotton reels can be used for doorstops. Alternatively, they’re great wooden blocks for kids. Larger ones are safe for babies – too big to swallow. A third use for old cotton reels is to nail two on the wall with enough space in between for a broom handle – the broom head will rest on the reels so you can store it easily.
* All sorts of things can be cut up to make guitar picks. Old credit or EFTPOS cards and ice cream containers are good old favourites for this.
* An old garden hose that has split can be used as a sprinkler system. Punch a few more holes in it so it can water all your garden at once.
* A Church of England vicar I know cuts up ice cream containers for clerical collars (the traditional “dog collar”) instead of buying new ones if one breaks or gets lost in the wash. He also has been known to use a white plastic toothpaste tube, inserted with the inside (white) side showing. Don’t inundate your vicar with ice cream containers, though – ask first. That being said, ice cream containers are great for frozen food, so may be useful if your local church (or any other organization, for that matter) has a food bank.
* If you don’t already compost orange peel, dry it and use it as pot pourri or as a moth repellent in your wardrobe. You can check the peels when doing your regular domestic cleaning London and remove the old ones.
* Old plastic bags can be stuck into Wellington boots if they’re wet inside to stop your socks getting wet. You can also use them as a waterproof lining inside hiking boots, but your feet will get sweaty.
* Large clear plastic containers make excellent bell cloches for protecting young plants in cold weather, so you can get lettuce in winter time or help your pumpkins/marrows get a head start on the growing season.
* Egg boxes (cardboard) are great for starting off seedlings. Plant seedlings into each compartment. When the plant is big enough, simply cut up the egg box and plant it directly. The cardboard will rot away as the plant grows. Larger cardboard cartons can be used in a similar way – just make sure that they aren’t plastic coated.
* The top of soft drink bottles makes an excellent funnel.
* Old shower curtains can be made into small tablecloths or for babies’ bibs. Alternatively, use it to make a rain cape or poncho.
* Those irritating plastic rings that seem to be attached to the bottom of nearly every bottle with a screw-off lid make good bubble wands if you pinch one part of the ring into a point and stick it into a drinking straw. The bigger the ring, the bigger the bubble.
* Old pantyhose can be used by fishing enthusiasts as an attractant. Fill the toe with cat food or some other nice, smelly bait and dangle it in the water for a while before putting your hook in. This also works for attracting eels.
* If a boy has worn holes in the knees of his trousers, cut the legs off and let him wear them as shorts. The same applies to adults’ clothing.
* Save old, holey jeans to make patches for other jeans. Denim is good and strong and can be used to patch most things.
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