Being environmentally responsible doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, in a surprising number of ways, it is an easier and less expensive way to live. Here are some tips on how to recycle household items:
• In the kitchen – Margarine and whipped cream containers in all sizes are great for storing leftovers, packing a microwavable lunch, or potting a house plant to hang over the sink. For canisters, paint two large and two small coffee cans, decorate with stencil art and label flour, sugar, etc.
Cloth napkins and dish towels are not only environmentally friendly, they are an inexpensive alternative that saves you money every week. Plastic soda or water bottles can be washed, recycled and reused in lunch boxes or bags. Many kids actually prefer them to thermos bottles that are bulky and can break when dropped.
Large glass jugs (like orange juice often comes in) are perfect for making sun tea. Peanut butter or mayo jar lids are perfect for mixing up finger paints, holding screws or bolts while you work on a project, or cutting cookies or biscuits.
Put a small trash can marked “Recycling Only” under the sink to hold cans, glass, etc. You and your family will recycle more household items if recycle bins are conveniently placed.
• In the dining room – Getting a new set of dishes? Keep the old set (particularly if they are the unbreakable type) for picnics, camping, potluck events and never buy paper plates again.
• In the living room – Forget air fresheners. Use bowls of potpourri instead. They look good, and smell wonderful. You can buy bags of pre-made or make your own and display it in those decorative ashtrays no one uses anymore. When cut flowers start to wilt, choose the blooms you want to keep, tie them together at the base with thread and hang them upside down in a warm, dry place. When they are completely dry, you can make beautiful dried arrangements that last for years.
• Office Area – Put a brown paper bag beside your trash can to hold white paper from bills, correspondence, newsletters and junk mail. On recycling day, just take the bag to the curb or drop-off point.
• In the utility room – Save spray bottles and mix your own cleaners that are environmentally safe, surprisingly effective, and only cost pennies. Make cleaning cloths out of worn towels and wash cloths. Terry cloth is nubby and cleans better and with less effort than paper towels. Old diapers make the best dust cloths and clean glass without leaving lint.
Put a recycling bin next to the trash in this room to make it easy to recycle plastic detergent and softener bottles, etc. right where you use them.
As you can see, it can be very easy to recycle household items when you know how.