items to recycle or repurpose

13 Everyday Household Items That You Can Recycle Or Repurpose

The amount of trash we produce is a real concern and all things that end up in landfills contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

While throwing things in the trash bin is a convenient way to rid ourselves of the things we no longer need, the consequences are devastating.

Being eco-friendly should begin before we buy things. We should always think of each product until the end of “their lives” – that is we should always consider at the time of acquiring how we can dispose or rid ourselves of all items.

You’d be surprised to see how many items inside your household you can recycle or repurpose. As you recycle, you can skip hire prices and bring them to a recycling center, and they’ll handle all of the appropriate recycling processes. Moreover, listed below are the everyday household items that you can recycle or repurpose: 

1 Old Paper

If you have plenty of random papers lying around in the home that you no longer need, you might want to add them to your recycling pile.

Since they’re mostly black and white, recycling centers can work on them quickly. However, if you have plenty of old papers lying around, it would be helpful if you could sort them out first. It will help to separate black and white papers from colored ones.  

Alternatively, there are other uses for old papers. Instead of bringing them down to the recycling center right away, you might want to consider using the blank back pages for your note-taking or for your children to draw in or create beautiful crafts with. This way, you can fully utilize every corner of the paper, front and back. Once you’ve used up every possible space on the paper, you can now bring them to your nearest recycling center. 

2 Plastic Bags

Even when taking our own shopping bags to the supermarket and finding alternatives to plastic bags, avoiding soft plastic is nearly impossible!

recycle plastic bags
Soft plastic take several years to break down

Whenever you shop for something, there’s a high chance that it will be packaged in plastic bags. We all know plastics aren’t very friendly to the environment, no matter how biodegradable. It’ll still take years before they can fully decompose. 

For your plastic bags, check out your local grocery and see if they’re offering a recycling program. Alternatively, you can use it at home as another bag when needing to hand out an item, as a trash bin liner, or even as a poop bag for your dog’s messes and cat’s litter. 

3 Glass Containers 

Some company uses glass containers to store their product. It could be a scented candle, condiments, essential oil, coffee syrups, and more. As you empty the containers, it’ll be such a waste if you’re going to throw them out, especially since you can repurpose them inside your home. 

For your glass containers, you can use them as a refillable condiment container, hair tie holder, pen holder, or anything that fits inside. If you’d like to be more decorative, you can wrap it with gift wrapping paper or plain paper as you doodle your way around. Just ensure that you place them on a secure surface as glass can break easily. 

4 Old Clothes

Every household has old clothes lying around their closets. If you’re no longer feeling its style, you can choose to donate them to charity so that someone can make use of them. However, if the condition of your old clothing is no longer appropriate, you might want to consider chopping them up and using them as rags to clean your house. 

old clothes for goodwill donation
Every day, an enormous amount of old clothes end up in landfills

Apart from making rags, you can use the fabric from your old clothes and make something more useful. You could create a baby dress or even a pillow case. If there’s only a small area you can use, you can sew it and try to make a scrunchie.

5 Ice Cream Plastic Containers

Finishing a tub of ice cream will leave you with a large plastic container. However, if you love devouring in ice cream tubs every week, you might stumble yourself with plenty of empty plastic containers on hand. Instead of just throwing them away, you can use them as a container for anything. 

For your ice cream plastic containers, you can use them as mini tool storage, a first aid kit, a cable holder, or even for your frozen food storage. Don’t worry, as they can keep your foods safe and sealed, protecting them from any possible bacteria contamination. 

6 Newspaper

While you can always bring your old newspapers to your local recycling center, you can also repurpose them into something better.

Newspaper cuttings make great carbon-rich matter that is essential for a healthy compost.

For your old newspapers, you can use them as an eco-friendly gift-wrapping alternative. You can even use fun and colorful comic pages for the kids to enjoy. If you think using a newspaper as a gift wrap is too plain, you can always finish it with a jute string for a rustic yet economic touch.

newspaper in the compost
Newspaper cuttings are carbon-rich and great for the compost

Alternatively, if you’re an e-commerce seller, you know the importance of packing your items securely so they’ll arrive at your customer in their best condition. Luckily, you can use a newspaper as a filler inside the box. It’ll give added protection without the additional cost. 

7 Old Jars

If you have plenty of old jars lying around that you can no longer re-use for condiments refill, you might give it a second thought before throwing them away. For your old jars, you can use them as an oil container. Before washing the pans you used to cook bacon with, you can pour them down the old pot and throw them away. This will help to save your pipes from getting greasy and getting clogged. 

Apart from storing oil, you can also use old jars to start growing indoor plants. If you’re a green thumb and would like to save the roots of your vegetable, you can use your old jars to let them grow and be ready for transferring to their soil. 

8 Plastic Bottles

Having plenty of plastic bottles around might help to pursue you to carry them to your nearest recycling center so you can help to save the environment. However, before you bring everything, you might want to leave some so you can repurpose them at your home. 

For your plastic bottles, you can cut them in half as a planter for your seedlings. You can also use them as your kid’s piggy bank instead of purchasing one at the store. Alternatively, there are plenty of craft ideas that you can try, which can be an excellent activity for your kids that’ll help to keep them busy. 

9 Food Scraps

There would always come a time when you may not be able to finish your plate, or there would be plenty of things that you can no longer use while cooking, such as eggshells, chicken bones, and shrimp skin.

There are many clever ways you can reuse food scraps for new meals.

bokashi bucket with food waste scraps
Food scraps can turn into nutrient-rich soil

For everything else, you should consider diverting all scraps to a compost or Bokashi bin. For your garden, compost makes good nutrient soil where your plants can thrive.

10 Used Rice Water

If your household usually uses rice for your meals, you might want to save the water that you wash your rice with. While they won’t harm the drain, this can help you reduce your water consumption at home. 

For your used rice water, you can save them from watering your plants. Amazingly, they could gather the nutrients from the rice water, allowing for a healthier plant. Alternatively, you can use them as toilet water. Instead of hitting the flush, pour the rice water instead. It’ll be a great addition if you’re using rainwater as well.

11 Wine Corks

Having wine night every Friday might leave your kitchen with numerous corks.

Natural corks are safe for the compost – provided they don’t have added synthetic materials.

Before throwing corks out, you might want to search for liquor companies with cork recycling programs. This way, you can bring them to their center and do all the recycling work for you. They might even give you a discount for your next purchase.

Apart from recycling wine corks, you might want to use them for a crafty project. It could be creating lids, coasters, or simply for decoration. If you’re not feeling crafty with corks, you can search online for cork crafters who are looking for corks to work around with. 

12 Used Toothbrush

Dentists recommend that people should replace their toothbrushes at least every three months. But before you throw out your old toothbrush, you might want to keep them as they could come in handy for bathroom and kitchen cleaning. 

For your old toothbrush, you can use them for scrubbing hard-to-reach areas inside your kitchen and bathroom. It would work well with tile grout underneath the fixtures and corners. Alternatively, you can use an old toothbrush as an electronic cleaning tool or hair color applicator. 

13 Old Furniture

Once your old furniture is starting to get flimsy and unusable, you may want to tear them down for your family’s safety. You can take out some wood materials and build them into something else. 

When reusing wood, you can create a hanging shelf, display ladder, small table, or any decorative pieces that you could think of. You can always finish it off with paint to allow it to look brand new. Just ensure that you nail them securely so they won’t quickly fall once you put something on top of them. 

Final thoughts on items you can recycle or repurpose

Before acquiring new things, we should think about what we will do when the item is no longer needed.

Moreover, before throwing out anything from your home, always give it a second thought and see which way you could repurpose it. If you no longer have use for them, you can always bring them to your local recycling center so they won’t end up in the landfill.