Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It Pays To Give Old Things A New Life

Photo: cranberrytownship.org
After reading The Story Of Stuff, I too began to think about the entire life cycle of the things we buy. Can we reduce waste by recycling more of our stuff? Individual efforts make a collective difference in saving our environment. As a bonus, buying less and giving old things a new life can also save you big bucks! So when it makes sense, why not do it? 

Here are a few items I reuse or repurpose, which may sound cheap, as well as, brilliant!:

1) Reuse old (but still good) shoe insoles - Sometimes I luck into a pair of sneakers, all-weather mocs or ballet flats that have the perfect arch support. If I wear the outside shoes out, but the insoles are still good, I remove them (before throwing out the shoes). Later on, I slide the saved, old insoles into brand new shoes. I might also order a half-shoe-size-up so that I can slide one, or two pairs of the old insoles into my new shoes. I slip the old insoles under the new shoes' original (new) insoles. Often this works to absorb shock without making the toe bed too tight and results in turning uncomfortable shoes into very supportive walking shoes! With double (or triple) insoles, you get mighty fine cushion, bounce and shock absorption.

Old drawers turned into toy boxes. How clever!

Along with the saved, old insoles of trashed shoes, I buy Dr. Scholls' insoles. They cushion when there is no extra room in a shoe, as well as, are thin enough to triple up inside shoes for extra cushioning. For example: I turned my LL Bean All Weather Mocs into a super supportive walking shoe (by ordering a size 8 1/2 -- up from my usual size 8) and inserting a Dr. Scholls' insole along with a Nike's sneaker insole underneath the All Weather Moc's leather insole. Now I can walk all over the city in them as if they were sneakers!

2) Repurpose aluminum foil - Instead of buying Brillo pads, simply crumble up a piece of washed, previously used aluminum foil to scrub your pots and pans. It removes food particles, and you have one less product to buy. Naturally, you can tear off a new piece, but if you use aluminum foil to bake a dish or wrap food, wash and reuse it to scrub a pan before throwing it out.

3) Recycle paper/ plastic bags - As mentioned in a previous blog, I have a wire recycler as my kitchen trash can. All the plastic supermarket bags are reused as garbage bags. Paper bags also become garbage bags, as well as, wrapping paper for packages mailed at the post office. Aim to save a tree and use less plastic whenever possible, but reusing them helps too!

4) After making a batch of Kombucha tea, I reuse the paper towels that cover the tops of the brew to spot clean my floor, or to dust. Why not? They aren't dirty.

5) Next I plan to repurpose two empty Kleenex boxes to organize and give my plastic grocery bags and clean, gently used paper towels a home.

6) Repurpose an ugly old file cabinet, or other furniture - I enjoy the show Knock It Off, which is always breathing new life into unsightly old furniture, or metal file cabinets by staining or painting them. The show saves homeowners $1000s for the cost of a can of paint.

7) If I buy beauty products that come in small containers, I wash and save a few for traveling. I have a slender cosmetic bag filled with these empty miniatures. Why buy special containers for trips instead of recycling these perfectly good containers? Let's make one less landfill by washing and reusing what we have. 

Earth Day arrives on April 22nd! Think about all the things you buy. Each of us can lessen our carbon footprint for Mother Earth by reducing, recyling and reusing. Do you give your things a second life? Feel free to share your genius ideas under comments.
Photo: earth911 - A hanger dish rack

You may also enjoy:

Time To Tidy Up
Watches, Tales And Sprouts
Happy Earth Day: Think Green
Do You Repurpose Your Things?

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