One fantastic way to both save money and be green is to reuse. While you might automatically think of turning old clothing to rags or washing out jars, there are so many other ways to reuse…even food! Here are some quick tips on how to stretch your dollar and do your part to keep waste out of landfills.

~ Wash out and reuse jars and plastic containers (such as yogurt/cottage cheese) and reuse them to:

  • store dry/wet goods (many natural food stores will let you bring these in to fill with bulk items!);
  • make, shake and store homemade vinaigrettes (jars);
  • send leftovers home with guests, share foods and/or bring foods to potlucks without worrying about losing your good containers;
  • store frozen fruits/vegetables (much easier to organize the freezer with than flimsy bags);
  • grow seedlings/starter plants in prior to transplant in gardens or containers;
  • rinse containers for paint brushes (kids’ or home upkeep);
  • temporary storage for household hazardous wastes such as oils, paints, etc.

~ Wash (well) styrofoam meat/produce trays and offer them to local schools/daycares for crafts and games. Egg cartons, shoe boxes and tissue boxes can also be great craft items to donate!

~ When chopping up vegetables (such as apples, peppers, etc.), instead of throwing out/composting the seeds, save them for reuse in your garden! Seeds don’t grow in packets at the store, after all!

~ Don’t throw out veggies/fruit that look like they’re on the way out! Slightly wilted vegetables (such as peppers or celery) and fruit (strawberries, blueberries) can be chopped up and frozen for use in casseroles, omellettes, deserts, yogurts, etc.

~ Save meat bones (such as chicken/turkey racks or beef ribs) for creating rich, homemade broths for soups/cooking. Simply use right away or freeze until ready.

~ Reuse cards: cut up and create Christmas/gift tags.

~ Save and reuse bows and ribbons from gifts.

~ Old tires can be used for planters or tire swings.

~ Reuse plastic shopping bags as garbage bin liners around the home, taking them on a second shopping trip, or simply recycle!

Here are some great links for creative ways to reuse household items!

  • Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores are located all over North America accept and SELL used home improvement items! Look for your local ReStore here.
  • 50 items you can reuse at home…the site links to many other great sites!
  • From corks to post-its, Real Simple Magazine lists 48 New Uses for Old Things.

What are your favorite tips for reusing?