Easy Ways to Reduce, Reuse
By Mara Strom
Want to live a greener life, but don't know where to start? It's simple -- practice the three Rs! Reduce, reuse and recycle.
Before you toss something in the recycling bin or garbage can, ask yourself: Can I still make use of this in some way? Convinced you can't? Read on: Here are 15 tips for reusing your possessions, even the ones you think are garbage.
1. Wash out glass spaghetti jars to store grains or leftovers.
2. Use clean plastic yogurt cartons to start seedlings.
3. Save the lint from your dryer and place it near a tree in the springtime -- birds love it for building their nests.
4. Shop ebay, Craiglist, thrift stores and garage sales for new-to-you purchases. At least you'll be reusing someone else's stuff!
5. Rehab old furniture and furnishings. Even that old bedroom door can make a great crafting table, when balanced against two bookshelves or filing cabinets.
6. Use plastic grocery store bags to line your bathroom garbage cans.
7. Keep good condition wrapping paper for next year's gifts. Better yet, ditch the store-bought wrapping paper altogether and wrap your presents in fabric scraps, old maps, or your children's artwork.
8. Print on both sides of the paper. Or give your kids one-sided copies to color on the backside.
9. Turn old socks and t-shirts into cleaning rags.
10. Save packing peanuts to ship out your next fragile package. If you can't stand the clutter, give your local shipping store a call. FedEx, Mail Boxes Etc. and UPS have all been known to reuse packing peanuts.
11. Store old moving boxes for your next move, share them with a friend, or list them on Freecycle.
12. Sprinkle used coffee grounds in your flower beds or vegetable gardens. They are a great natural fertilizer.
13. Write your weekly shopping list on the back of used envelopes.
14.Demote your month-old kitchen sponge to cleaning floors. Kill any lingering bacteria by nuking the sponge in the microwave for one minute or washing it in the top rack of the dishwasher.
15.Turn broken crayons into beautiful molded coloring sticks. Heart-shaped molds are perfect for Valentine's Day.
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