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Eight recycling ideas you’ll probably never use. You’re welcome.

Generally speaking, I work hard to recycle and reuse products when I can. Sometimes I think really hard about it and come up with special (as my mom might call them) ideas.

These special ideas are rather useless, really, but it goes to show that the Green Media has gotten into my brain. I just can’t stop thinking about ways to recycle or reuse products that might otherwise get tossed in the bin.

Here goes. Use them if you wish. You’re welcome.

Dryer lint:

Who hasn’t wondered about this, right? Every time I get lint from the tray I wonder what more could be done with it. I’ve decided that if I save it up for a year I can give it away at the annual White Elephant party here in town, wrapped inside a lovely box with a big ribbon. Then… it’s someone else’s problem and not mine. If THEY choose to throw it away, fine.

Broken printers, out of warranty

With my book business, I go through printers every year (sometimes more than one per year). If they are under warranty I can get a new one shipped and the old one is taken back. When they are out of warranty, however, I’m stuck trying to figure out what to do. We live in a small town and we don’t have a printer/computer recycling center here. I end up leaving my broken goods in the office just starring at them, feeling self condemnation when I envision tossing the printer into my trash can… only to end up in the local land fill. Scenes from the movie Wall-E run through my mind: “Bad land fills! Bad consumers!” I’ve wondered, “If I gut the printer out, could this be used to hold a pot plant in the yard? ” Who would do that? That would make a super ugly planter but at least the printer wouldn’t go into the land fill, right? The rain and snow might fry the inside parts and leave rust on the ground, though. But is that the lesser of two evils? I don’t know. You decide.

Nasty old tooth brushes

When your tooth brush gets to the point of being all nasty and gross (remember that experts say to change them out EVERY 3 months), what do you do? Can we recycle or reuse them in some way? There must be a way, right? The three R’s are: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We can’t really reduce tooth brush use if we are supposed to change them out every 3 months for the sake of oral health. So we are left with the options of reuse OR recycle. That’s all we have to cling to now. At the dentist I saw the receptionist using pens that were taped down to tooth brushes. I asked him why he did such a thing. He said, “No one wants to steal my pens if they are attached to tooth brushes.” Brilliant. There you go. Tape all of your pens to used tooth brushes and no one will ever steal them again.

Empty tic tac containers

Perhaps they could be filled with different candy, when the tic tacs are gone, and taken on road trips. When you need a teeny tiny little snack, whallah! Don’t try to get a cookie in there, though. It doesn’t work. Trust me.

Small bits of yarn

When you make crafts with your kids, utilizing rolls of yarn, you always end up with some small bits left over. What do we do with these bits, rather than toss them away? Hmm…….. maybe we can save them all up for like 8 months. By that point, we’ll have enough to make one little craft. You could have your kid glue them all to a piece of paper and mail the paper to a grandparent. By all rights, they have to keep it. It’s sacred, right? Grandkid-love’n grandparents keep these things. So you don’t need to feel guilty any longer about those small pieces of yarn. They have a home now.

The strip of toilet paper that’s left on the roll

After a roll has been used, there’s always a minuscule amount left, attached to the glue strip, right? It’s not enough to use by any means but is it okay to waste it? I think not. If you carefully pull those bits of paper off and save them all for about ten years, you’ll have enough stuffing for one doll pillow. Start saving today!

Green garland from Christmas decor

Do you have spare garland from the holidays? Sometimes when I wrap garland around the banister a piece will tear off. What to do? I’m thinking we could save all of those torn-off pieces and sew them back together. That should only take around 5 years or so. By that point you’ll have enough to make another garland strand. Whoot! Trash can averted.

Empty contact solution containers

There’s an awful lot of plastic here. The bottles are large and I go through each of them every month. That adds up to 24 bottles annually (I use two different kinds each month: one for rinsing and one for protein removal). Every time I finish a bottle it bothers me to toss the container into the bin. What a waste! I have yet to think of a really good idea for the bottles. They can’t be used as water bottles because you have to cut the tips off in order to open up the lower portion of the container. That leaves a sharp edge (I’ve tested this so I know). I suppose we could save these up and turn the bottles into a home-made bowling pin set. You need 10 pins so if you save 24 bottles in one year you’ll have two full sets of pins with four spares (in case your dog chews up a bottle or two). You could even save up all of that dryer lint I mentioned above, roll it into a huge ball, and use that as your bowling ball. Enjoy.

*If I come up with some additional really stupid ideas, I’ll be sure to share them with you.

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7 Responses to “Eight recycling ideas you’ll probably never use. You’re welcome.”

  1. Jessie says:

    This is a fantastic list. I spit my tea out when I read your “used toothbrush” tip! LOL

  2. Courtney says:

    My favorite is the dryer lint. The gift that keeps on giving! Put a note with it that says they need to add to it then pass it on. It could make it as a world record! We are brilliant!

  3. Leah says:

    Here’s an idea, you could combine the dryer lint with the small bits of yarn, cover it in duct tape for a :”new” cat toy, what cat wouldn’t love that???

    I will put my thinking cap on and try to think of more, so glad you are here to help out and save the environment!

  4. admin says:

    Jessie: I love making people snort.

    Courtney: Let’s start that soon. You can take the lint to California with you and pass it on there!! Good thinking.

    Leah: That’s a terrific idea. Lint, yard and sticky duct tape all over the house in tiny bits of mess. Wonderful. You’re right – who wouldn’t want THAT?! Thank you.

  5. THANK YOU! Here, I’ve been thinking I had to save those used toothbrushes to scrub the hard to get to places in the tub/shower and for the grout. You have just relieved me of domestic duties and for that, I am forever grateful! =)

  6. Suzanne says:

    Wow, Courtney, I think I love you even more now then I did this summer. Dryer sheets and lint are saved at my house always. Now I finally can pass them along guilt free, thanks so much.

    Shara – thanks for this post, as with all of your posts it was filled with very useful advice.

  7. Danielle says:

    Dryer lint can actually be re-purposed in a very useful way. You’ll also need paper egg cartons and candles that still have wax in them but no longer burn well or don’t have a wick.

    Boil the candles jars in hot water to melt the wax. Stuff dryer lint in each compartment of the egg carton, pour some of the hot wax into each compartment.

    Each compartment can then be ripped off and used as a fire starter- either outdoors or in your wood-burning stove. They burn steadily for a decent amount of time, allowing small sticks to catch fire and burn hot so that you can progressively build up the fire.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/379936/homemade_fire_starter_tutorial/

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