The most important thing to remember about plastic bottles is that you need to reduce the number you use. By fitting a filter tap to your cold-water feed, you can save buying bottled water and use a reusable bottle instead. Investing in facilities that can help contribute to caring for the planet may seem to be a large investment, but the money you save over time makes it a worthwhile investment. You can get them fitted to your existing cold supply, or you can use loan companies such as Bonsai Finance to help you find a company to spread the cost. However, what do you do with all the bottles you have accumulated so far? In the house, you can use them to reduce the water used by your toilet. Simply put one filled with water in your tank and then it will fill with less water. In the garden, you can use them as mini cloche by cutting off the bottoms and placing them over your new seedlings. Not only will it help to keep them warm, but it will also protect the plants from slugs and high winds.
There are many uses for old foil in the house; you can use it to sharpen your knives by folding it up many times. You can also use it to clean your jewelry buy lining a bowl with it and adding some water and laundry detergent. Add your jewelry and leave for 1-2 minutes, then remove and dry. In the garden, you can use foil to scare birds away by rolling into a ball and placing at the top of sticks among the plants, or you can cover card with it and use the reflective surface to scare them. You can do the same scaring tactics with old CDs or DVDs. You can tie a string through the middle and hang them up around the garden.
Plastic bags are another item that everyone is now actively starting to reduce. However, you probably still have many plastic bags laying around the house. One of the obvious uses is to take them with you to the grocery store and use them instead of buying new bags. It can take a while to get into the habit, but eventually, you will find it second nature. You can also use them to line wastebaskets, so you can quickly remove the rubbish. You can cut them open and use them as mats to protect your table when your kids are painting or gluing. You can also use them to wrap up items you intend to store away in the attic or garage. Be aware, though, that they can disintegrate after a long while. In the garden, they can be useful to keep your boots dry if they are outside or in the shed, and they are also great for keeping boxes of seeds dry.
You might have a wooden pallet sitting at the bottom of your garden, and you probably don’t know how it got there. However, there are many ways that you can use wooden pallets to create things for the garden. You can use four pallets together to make a compost heap. They have the advantage of having gaps in them for the air to move around and they let the rainwater drip through, so it doesn’t get too wet. In the summer, you can remove the pallets and use the compost and reassemble. There are also plans on the internet where you can create seats and other furniture from old pallets.
You probably get a lot of junk mail every week, but rather than throw it away; there are things you can do with it that can make it useful after all. Firstly, you can reuse any envelopes that are in good condition and send your own mail in them. Cover any logos with your return address or postage. You can keep them and use the envelopes to catch dust when you are drilling. Tape the envelope open to the wall just below where you intend to drill; the dust will fall into the envelope and minimize cleaning. In the garden, you can shred your junk mail and use it as a mulch for the garden. You can use it to keep your hibernating pets warm in the winter, and line nest boxes with it. If you have an open fire or log burner, then you can create paper bricks with some of the junk mail.
Of all the materials in your home, wood is by far the best at recycling and adapting. That is because it is fairly simple to cut and fix together if you have a basic DIY knowledge. If you are replacing a door, don’t throw the old one away, instead use it in the house to put family pictures in and hang on the wall. You can also use it as a spacer in the garden for keeping plants in one area or as a side to a compost heap. You can even transform it into a worktop for the shed. Wooden windows are also great in the garden because you can use them as a top for cold frames. They will protect your plants in the late winter and early autumn while still allowing you to see their progress. You can also use double glazed windows, but these are often heavier so could be problematic.
For anything that you cannot reuse, you should always see if there are alternative ways to reuse or recycle them. Some stores for example, now have bins for old batteries and light bulbs. By learning to recycle, you can make a difference to the planet.
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