From the Kitchen to the Garage: Creative Ways to Recycle Household Items
Sustainability began to establish itself across the globe in the 1970s with the very first Earth Day and the creation of the Clean Air Act. But it’s come a long way since then, sustainability has evolved to an issue recognized and acknowledged by the mainstream media and companies around the world.
Car companies like Subaru and Honda, and food companies like Starbucks and Nestle, are making changes to their products and processes to lessen their negative impact on the environment. Communities and individuals have also made a greater push towards sustainability. But there’s more we can do.
In the U.S., we recycle less than 22 percent of household trash. Recycling is a responsibility we all have.
It starts with recycling:
- Plastic bottles
But there are many other ways to recycle household items that would otherwise add up to a load of trash. If you’re already an avid recycler, but you’re trying to do more or adopt a zero waste lifestyle, this article has a few ideas for you.
From the kitchen to the garage, these are four creative ways to recycle:
1. Recycle Old Cars
There are many benefits to recycling, or donating, a used car. If your car still runs, but doesn’t hold much resale value, consider donating it to help a worthy cause. Charities like Habitat for Humanity, Vehicles for Veterans, and .. Just be sure to research the charity you plan to give to, get a receipt, and read the IRS Donor’s Guide to Vehicle Donation.
If your vehicle is too far gone to donate, consider recycling your car and creating something beautiful or useful out of it.
These are some facts on the environmental benefits of recycling an old vehicle:
- 98 percent of a car can be recycled: glass and plastic can be melted down and reused, some liquids can be reused, metals can be smelted, purified, and reused and rubber can be recycled.
- It takes only 45 seconds to shred the average car into fist-sized pieces of steel for recycling.
- Recycling one car saves 1,400 lbs. of coal.
- 25 cars are recycled every minute.
2. DIY Backyard Furniture
If you’re a fan of DIY projects some woodworking tools and equipment, consider trying out these recycled backyard furniture pieces:
- Turn wooden bowls into toadstools for garden decoration or seats for the kids.
- Upcycle an old wooden door into a table or beverage station for events.
- Turn old wooden or metal crates into seats and storage space with a little paint and small cushions.
There are tons of DIY projects perfect for recycled materials, you’re just one Pinterest rabbit hole away.
3. Use Recycled Construction Material
Building a house or maybe starting a DIY project? Try using recycled materials whenever possible. Ask your builder where recycled materials could be sourced from and used in your new home or try to use insulation made from recycled materials like newspaper or cotton denim. If you’re just doing some home upgrades, like replacing your floors with hardwood, try to use certified sustainably harvested wood products like bamboo instead other hardwood flooring options.
You might also be able to collect materials and items from demolition sites. For example, pieces of a brick wall could be used for brick pavers in a walkway. Reusing old light fixtures is another cheap way to recycle old household items. Check yard sales and thrift stores for furniture you can refurbish and other items you could save from the landfill.
4. Collect Rainwater
What better way to up your recycling efforts than to invest in water conservation while saving a little money? If you have a yard, garden, or even indoor plants, consider collecting rainwater with rain barrels to water your plants throughout the warmer months. Reusing rainwater on your plants also protects them from exposure to chemical salts and harmful minerals that can come from treated water out of your faucet.
Collecting rainwater is very easy. Rain barrels can be purchased through local conservation groups or at a garden center or you can make your own with a recycled barrel.
You can make a huge contribution to sustainability efforts by recycling everyday items like newspaper and plastic. But if you want to take it one step further, try out these creative recycling ideas or let us know you’re in the comments below this post.