Reuse, Not Refuse: Five Items to Repurpose to Save Money

Let’s face it, we’re a wasteful society. According to a 2008 study by the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produced 1.35 billion gallons of garbage each day. We’ve gotten better in the last few years thanks to the increase of recycling and composting, but we still throw away an inordinate amount of . This is especially true if you have a young family. Between wasted food, worn out clothes, and other sundries, some young family dispose of more than the average 5 pounds a day.

This doesn’t have to be the case. There are many items that young families throw out that can be transformed into something more useful. Here are five items to repurpose on a regular basis.

1. Day-old bread.

Stale bread is no longer used just to feed ducks at the local pond. Many recipes require slightly stale bread as an important ingredient. For example, French toast recipes normally ask for day-old bread because it does a better job at soaking up the egg mixture. Homemade croûtons also require stale bread to be made.

2. Rancid olive oil.

Yes, olive oil does go bad. Dumping the liquid down the sink drain does nothing to help your plumbing system, so why not repurpose it for something else? In this case we’re talking about an old-fashioned oil lamp. All you need is a few tablespoons of oil in a shallow dish or seashell, a wick, and something to light it with. The oil will last for a few hours as the wick slowly burns. By the way, the wick can be repurposed from old twine or even used shoelaces that were going to be thrown out.

3. Fruit and vegetable seeds.

You may not be aware of this, but fruit and vegetable seeds are not compostable, because they don’t break down. Rather, they sit there and, thanks to the nutrients in the compost, have the potential to start growing in your compost bin. Instead of throwing them in the garbage can, think of repurposing them to grow your own fruits and vegetables. Seeds from pumpkins, watermelon, cucumber, and tomatoes can be rinsed, stored in a cool area, and taken out in the spring to be planted. This brings us to…

4. Egg cartons.

Sure, these items can be recycled, but isn’t it better to use them to start your plantings for the new season? The egg holders are perfect carriers for some compost and the seeds saved from fruits and vegetables. Start in the winter by planting indoors. By the time it starts to warm up you’ll be reading with a dozen saplings to plant in your garden.

5. Old clothes and towels.

You’re in constant need of rags to clean various things around your home. There’s no need to purchase them at the local hardware store, because you have the perfect rags at home in the form of old clothes and towels you were about to throw away. Take the cotton items, cut them up into squares, and store them to clean up spills or use when painting. In the same venue, don’t recycle already read newspapers. Store the newsprint with your non-flammable cleaning products and use them to clean windows and mirrors around the house and the car.

5 Responses to Reuse, Not Refuse: Five Items to Repurpose to Save Money

  1. I’m constantly converting old towels into rags, and using stale bread to make croutons, but I had never thought of or heard about using olive oil as an old fasioned oil lamp! Definitely a great idea and something I’m going to try.

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