Don’t Recycle if You Can Reuse!

Having a sustainable mind set begins by figuring out what you need, what you don’t need, and what can be either re-used or recycled.  Many people toss their plastic, metal or glass into a recycle bin and that’s a good thing – but what is better is if you can find other uses for the items.  Wear them out before you toss them in that bin!  Here’s a few ideas for things that work well.

Altoid Tins

These metal tins are GREAT ways to store small items and keep them safe from pests.  You can spray paint the covers a solid cover then use a marker to indicate the contents.  Or decorate it and use it as a small gift box.  Place a cloth or some cotton inside and it is a lovely setting for jewelry.

Prescription Bottles

Do you have a lot of prescriptions?  Some of those bottles are fairly large, some are small.  The clear amber plastic allows you to see the contents.  This makes them great for storing all kinds of small items including:

Beads   Fish Hooks   Paper Clips   Jewelry    Sewing Needles    Buttons    Craft Items

Plastic Cups from Fast Food Restaurants

All of them can be reused as drink cups, but did you ever think to use them as gardening containers for planting seeds during the winter to grow seedlings for your spring gardens?  Just punch a couple holes in the bottom and fill with planting mix.  Clear plastic cups are fun because you can see the roots as they dig their way down from the top!

Restaurant Leftover Dishes

Many restaurants have turned to providing their customers with very useful practical leftover dishes with lids.  These are microwaveable and often the perfect size for freezing homemade meals as well!  Some of the best I’ve found in Albuquerque are from the following restaurants:

Burritos Alistante:  For people who are avoiding gluten, this restaurant makes Burrito Bowls.  These are great to keep and use at home.

Olive Garden:  The plastic dishes are dinner plate sized with inch tall walls.  You can use them for food at home, but they also are good under planting containers.  You can also fill them with planting soil for shallow rooted lettuces and set them in a south window for fresh winter greens!