Before you toss that empty egg carton, mayonnaise jar or wine bottle into the bin, put on your green thinking cap – and come up with creative, eco-friendly ways to recycle them for your home.
Why re-use? If you have hard time cutting down your taxi costs or sorting your recycling is still something you are figuring it, then at least have fun by re-using some trash into useful treasures. The planet would ever be so grateful! And, it gives you an excuse to get crafty. (Get the kids to join you!)
• Bead organizer
Are you into beaded jewellery? Then use the different egg “cups” to classify beads and stones according to type and colour. The different compartments are also perfect for keeping small jewellery parts — like jump rings, crimping beads, bell caps and clasps — separate from each other.
• Starter garden tray
With scissors or a blade, cut the lid off the egg carton and set aside. Turn the egg carton upside down, and punch a hole at the bottom of each egg compartment to allow water to drain. Set it upright, then place soil inside each compartment (but don’t fill the cup all the way). Water the soil and put not more than three seeds in each compartment. Use the egg carton lid as a tray, placing it underneath your starter garden to protect the windowsill or table surface from moisture.
• Mini pastry carrier
Cardboard egg cartons are a great way to transport mini cupcakes or tiny pastries. Not only do they keep the pastries from bumping into each other, they can be done up with décor to serve the cupcakes in.
• Foreign currency coin bank
If you travel often, and have loose change in mixed currencies jangling in your pockets or wallet, an egg carton can help you organize them.
Plastic paint buckets
• Toy organizer
Several five-litre paint buckets can be recycled into containers for Lego pieces, blocks, and other tiny playthings to keep your children’sroom tidy. Paint the child’s name on the side of the can and add cutedesigns to make it more kid-friendly.
• Tennis ball carrier
The plastic paint buckets from your recent flat renovation can be cleaned up and re-purposed. Fill them with tennis balls, which you can easily carry to the courts and use for practice drills.
• Vase for cut flowers
A sanitized paint bucket can be used to keep cut flowers fresh — perfect for flower shops or carts.
• Cocktail glasses
Save jam jars and re-purpose them as cocktail glasses with loads of character. At your next barbecue, channel a New Orleans Mardi Gras vibe and mix a Louisiana Jam or Mojito and serve it in these jars with mint leaves. They’re more charming than paper cups — and eco-friendly too.
• Tea-light holders
Place tea-lights inside several small jam or jelly jars to light up a dining or living room, giving it a romantic ambience.
• Room Fragrance Diffuser
A narrow-mouthed glass bottle makes a great decanter for your own DIY reed diffuser. Concoct your own home fragrance (you can combine your favourite essential oil with some baby oil), pour into the bottle (use a funnel to prevent spills), and pop in a few reed sticks — although any porous wood material can work to wick the fragrance from the bottle into the air. A few wooden chopsticks from a Japanese restaurant will do the trick.
• Reusable storage containers
Empty screw-top wine bottles are great for storing grains, lentils and coffee beans in the cupboard or pantry. To make the bottles reusable, swipe the surface with a bit of chalkboard paint (available at Spotlight outlets). Let it dry, and then label the bottle’s contents using chalk. When it’s time to fill it with something else, just erase the label.
• Outdoor oil lamps
Using extra long wine bottle wicks (available online from candle suppliers), you can convert used wine bottles into oil lamps for your next outdoor dinner party. Fill up three-fourths of the bottle with water, and then fill the rest of it with lamp oil. Slip the wine bottle wick in place, light the lamp, and you’re set. For safety reasons, make sure not to leave your DIY oil lamp unattended.