Recycling is a great way to be environmentally-friendly and economical at the same time. Many products we use are sold in packaging which is reusable, and there are also many products themselves are can be reinvented and used for other purposes. It doesn’t take much effort and over the course of time amounts to significant savings.
Here are a few ways I’ve scaled back on costs through recycling and other money savers. A few (such as composting) are on my “to do” list:
Bread ends. Many people don’t use the “ends” that are in loaves of bread and usually end up tossing them into the trash. What I like to do is freeze them and use them in stuffing. It makes a unique flavor because usually I’ll have saved several different kinds of bread. This is great for those meals where a roasted turkey or chicken fits the menu. They are also good for making croutons.
Spices. Ever have small amounts of spices left over that you don’t know what to do with and your cabinet is getting too cluttered? Match like and complimentary flavors together and create new flavors.
Compost. Instead of smelling up your trash can, chop up those leftover kitchen food wastes, take them outside and create a compost pile. Use them to improve your garden and/or lawn.
Clothing and towels. Don’t toss those frayed or torn clothes or towels, use them as rags. Socks were great when we had our old porcelain tub and sink, we sprinkled a bit of baking soda, let it sit and then scrubbed away. Worked better than any scrub brush ever did and it gave a gentle clean. Old washcloths and towels are great for dusting and bathroom cleaning; also works great when cleaning or washing your car. I also use them when painting or staining.
Grocery (and other) bags. Paper or plastic it doesn’t matter, grocery bags are great items to use in recycling. The plastic ones we use in smaller trash baskets; paper bags have multi-purpose because they are great for mailing packages – why waste money on a roll of packaging paper when you have ready-made packaging straight from the stores? Paper bags are also handy as book covers for your kids’ textbooks. Why spend money on all those trendy pre-fabricated ones when you can cover them for free and let your child personalize them with their own art? I haven’t bought a box of small waste bags in years.
Baby food jars. Baby food jars are great for items that are typically compartmentalized. Nails, screws, buttons, really most any small household product that you like to keep sorted according to color or size finds a great home in a baby food jar.
Milk and yogurt containers. Cut these down and use as planters for the kids. They’ll have fun planting seeds and can watch their nurtured plants grow.
Buttons, ribbon, felt. Leftover scraps are terrific for kids’ projects. For instance, you can make sock puppets using old socks and buttons, and attach felt and ribbon on them. Lots of fun projects come from scraps and won’t cost a cent.
Cardboard boxes. Shoe boxes and other cardboard boxes are great for storage. Why spend money on plastic bins if a cardboard box will serve the same purpose? I’ve found old boxes also sometimes make the best toys for the kidlets, at least for a time.
Reusing, whether foods or non-edibles, rather than throwing out items reduces waste. These recycling and other money savers are better for the environment and add up to sometimes significant savings, putting money right back into your wallet.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.