5 Ways to Reuse Throwaways as Household Items

We can help reduce our garbage by re-purposing throwaway containers and other types of packaging in our daily activities. Here are a few ways to substitute a recycled item for a new purchase.

Easy ways to use recyclables as household items - Preschool Toolkit

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We make choices almost daily about what things to keep and what to throw away.  In the spirit of being environmentally friendly it is helpful to reuse as many items as possible for daily living.

Crafting with kids is a great way to make use of recyclable materials. But I find myself looking for other ways to use items that simply get thrown away. These are some of my best attempts at re-purposing recyclables and throwaways.


Throwaways to use in the kitchen


A recycled jar can be substituted for a store bought glass container

The store-bought glass jar on the left can be used as a cookie jar or as storage for crackers. The peanut butter jar on the right can easily serve the same purpose. 


Recycle berry box as storage container

 The plastic produce box with lid on the right can be substituted for a store-bought plastic bowl on the right to store baked goods. 


Recycle produce container for rinsing fruit and veggies

 Produce purchased in a plastic berry box like the one on the right can be rinsed right in their container, without requiring the use of a store-bought colander like the one on the left.


Glass jam jars can be used as drinking glasses

 A glass jam jar like the one on the left can just as easily serve as a drinking glass as the store-bought one on the right.                     

 Divided packaging can be reused as a serving dish

 Divided packaging, such as the kind in a bag of cookies, can take the place of a store-bought serving dish for cheese and baguettes.                                   


Bonus tips: throwaways to use for crafting


Use broken clothespins as craft sticks

 Save broken clothespins and sticks from frozen for kids projects instead of buying craft sticks.


Using recyclables for household use

 Recycle a plastic mini muffin package for painting activities instead of purchasing a paint palette. 


Characteristics of throwaways that may limit their usability

1) flimsy plastic that is not sturdy enough to hold food or drink 
2) narrow impressions in plastic that are hard to clean
3) lids that don't seal securely

Use these items as paint pots in the art corner, or as containers to hold crayons and other craft materials.

Along with our expectations that manufacturers generate environmentally friendly packaging, as consumers we can also be diligent and creative in how we make, restore, buy and discard items everyday.


Tips for recycling
  • purchase items without plastic packaging whenever possible
  • shop with your own cloth bags
  • balance prepackaged foods with foods prepared at home
  • shop for lightly used items such as clothes, furnishings and appliances when appropriate

Many of these practices we already know or follow, but sometimes it is good to remind ourselves what we are currently doing to be environmentally friendly and reflect on what more we can do.

Can you suggest other items you have re-purposed with success?



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