Recycling as a Frugal Way of Life
Recycling is actually one of the easiest ways to live frugally. Whether you’re recycling things you already own, or things you’ve picked up from a thrift shop or yard sale, recycle saves money. And even things you donate to someone else help save the environment by being one less item that thrown in a landfill. So recycling is just a good thing to do all around. Here are some ways to reduce waste, reuse what you have and recycle things you no longer need or want.
• Soda cans and glass bottles of all kinds make wonderful decorations all over the house. Fill them flowers, colored sand or small stones. You can paint them or use as is. Or decorate them with glued on fabric, paper scraps or beads. They also work well to hold small items such as pens or pencils, scissors, rulers, etc.
• These days we eat a lot of carryout meals and many of those foods come in plastic or styrofoam containers. Don’t throw those away just because they’re empty. Wash them thoroughly and reuse them for food storage, carrying leftovers to work or school, or sharing a meal with a friend. No need to buy special plastic storage containers. Just save and reuse the ones you get when you eat out.
• Most of us have been carrying cell phones for several years, in addition to the laptops, cameras, video games and other electronics we buy that become broken or outdated. There are many places that will take these old items and reuse the parts in some way. Some places will even reimburse you. If the item still works you could potentially receive a decent amount of cash, but don’t worry if it doesn’t work. Electronic parts are still a viable commodity and you can usually find someone who wants them.
• On the other side of that coin, when you want to buy a new cell phone or laptop, but can’t afford one, consider buying refurbished instead. Refurbished electronics are typically secondhand or returned items that have been repaired and made as close to new as possible. You can usually buy refurbished electronics for much less than the cost of new.
• Recycle water when you finish washing the dishes by pouring it over your house plants or in your garden. Your plants don’t care if the water’s a little dirty, they’re just thirsty.
• If your blue jeans are starting to look ratty at the bottom, are beginning to fade, or just aren’t a style you like anymore, cut off the bottoms and turn them into shorts or capris. If nothing else, you they can be worn around the house when the weather’s warm, or when you need something to wear to paint, or wash the car in. Makes more sense than ruining your good clothes.
• Cardboard rolls from toilet paper and wax cereal liners can be reused in a variety of ways. Flatten out a small cereal liner and fill it with as many toilet paper rolls as will fit inside standing up with the opening at the top. Remove the rolls and tape them together with clear tape, then replace them inside the liner. Cut the liner to the same height as the paper rolls or fold it back over itself so you have a double layer of wax paper. Decorate if you like or use as is to hold small paint brushes, pens, markers, or crayons. The wax paper gives added protection against ink and paint splatters.
• Empty facial tissue boxes work well for storing small items such as pens, small pads of paper, crayons, craft beads and anything else that will fit inside. And they come pre-decorated so all you have to do is set them in place and start filling them.
• Used envelopes work great for storing things such as stamps, coupons, receipts, bills to be paid, letters from your child’s school, dentist/doctor/hair salon appointment cards and more. Just open them carefully so you don’t rip them and reuse until they fall apart.
• Never throw away an old shirt, blouse, pair of pants, etc. without removing the buttons. Save all your odd buttons in a small can or display them in a canning jar. You never know when you need to replace a button and may have just the right one to fit. Buttons also work wonderfully for crafting earrings, necklaces, bracelets, magnets, etc.