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Re-using, recycling, new uses for old things.

alleycat

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I got the idea for this thread from this one. https://veganforum.org/threads/dilemma-about-an-antique-brass-birdcage.3209/
My gardening bench is an old door on a couple of saw horses, an old microwave is a cupboard for seed storage, an old wine holder is now used for holding small hand tools, old baking racks make good shelving and drainage trays, old kitchen cutlery is useful for getting into small areas.
An old dressing table has been used for planting strawberries, an old ice bucket sits under the tap half filled with stones makes an extra bird bath. Old baths make good garden beds.
Any old cotton clothes beyond being reused are used as mulch. Even my cats are useful to the birds, the loose hair I brush off them I leave little tufts near the bird baths in late winter early spring . The willy wagtails, finches, friar birds and ravens seem to make the most use of it.
Any body else have some ideas to share ?
 
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alleycat

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In the sewing room an old wardrobe is used for storing material, patterns etc, old milk crates stack in there very nicely. An old kitchen bench makes for extra work space. Jars with screw top lids for storing buttons, and other small odds and ends.
We have an industrial hose shop near us and have managed to get some reels of different sizes. With a cushion on top 1 is used as a foot rest, 1 I am doing up to be a coffee table. I am waiting for some carpet off cuts from the local carpet shop to wrap around another one for the cats to use as a new scratching post.
 
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Forest Nymph

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I love this it's great! Thanks for all the tips. My roommate and I who are vegan do some of this, we re-use things, we have a huge collection of jars of course, that we use for tea and coffee and take to the co-op to fill with pasta, nutritional yeast, nuts and dried fruit. I use a "tree cookie" I got at the first homecoming of my college as a table where I put my clock, cell phone, and drinking glass on top of a used item I obtained from the street, and cover with a pretty scarf from a thrift store.

My college is great for this. It's why I chose them. They do a yearly event where art students (and others) make sculptures from old materials, and they also do a "trash-ion" show. I got some of our kitchen gear and some of my clothes and my reading lamp from used, up-cycled items on campus.

You've really gone above and beyond with this, and I applaud you. While my roommates and I use old shopping bags for bathroom trash and recycling under the sink instead of buying trash bags, you've done incredibly creative things!

Like I said we drink out of Ball and Mason jars and buy goods this way in bulk, and re-use other containers as make-shift Tupperware. But I haven't gone this creative, so good for you, it's a goal to approach.

I think I don't feel impelled enough being vegan, re-using everything, always recycling, and I literally sleep on the floor on a Japanese shiki futon, and don't own a television. Like I live this minimalist lifestyle. I unplug the coffee pot, I unplug my cell phone, my laptop, my sleep machine. I shop in re-usable bags at the co-op and re-use the paper or plastic ones I buy for ten cents as trash bags.

My roommate does though. She's got "white guilt" though. She's blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful, her parents paid for her to go to college, and she has a nice bed. I sometimes wonder if that's why she tries harder than me to be WFPB. Just saying.
 

Meyersaurus

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Thank you for those tips, it's wonderful! I, too, have been thinking about reusing (rather than recycling) options lately, and I have come up with a few ideas as well:

Out of old T-shirts and old towels you can make reusable "cotton-pads" or reusable grocery-bags
I made plant pots or vases out of my empty jars and cans (like marmelade jars and such)
I switched to toothpaste in jars (which will later be added to my plant collection) and bamboo toothbrushes ( georganics.com)

But this definitely inspires me to try more creative ways of reducing waste!
 
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Lou

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I buy a lot of things in bulk so I always have a use for canisters and jars. I have been using the same Quaker oats cardboard canister for over a year.

My number one challenge for recycling is batteries. Right now I have an old plastic ice cream tub filled with old AA and AAA batteries. Someday I hope to find a place to take them to. I do have a charging station and some rechargeables, but still, the batteries have accumulated.

Just recently learned that Apple has a new project: developing recycling of their products. Their goal is to make mining obsolete. This makes me very happy.
 
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TofuRobot

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I buy a lot of things in bulk so I always have a use for canisters and jars. I have been using the same Quaker oats cardboard canister for over a year.

My number one challenge for recycling is batteries. Right now I have an old plastic ice cream tub filled with old AA and AAA batteries. Someday I hope to find a place to take them to. I do have a charging station and some rechargeables, but still, the batteries have accumulated.

Just recently learned that Apple has a new project: developing recycling of their products. Their goal is to make mining obsolete. This makes me very happy.
You live in San Mateo, @Lou ? There has to be an e-waste or hazardous waste place you can take those to. (I can't believe I just noticed your location - I love San Mateo and that whole bay area. Redwood City has the *best* Whole Foods I've ever been to!) Anyway - even down here in South OC, they will come pick up hazardous waste from your home once/year for free. They even give out buckets for collecting them that have perforated tops and a handle. My son gave me one for Xmas one year and we just dropped off a bunch of stuff a few weeks ago.

Here you go:
https://www.smchealth.org/batteries
 

Lou

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There is a Best Buy in Redwood City. They used to take batteries. But I haven't been there in years and years. I did move my tub of batteries to my trunk just in case I ever ended up there.

The local garbage company does collect stuff. but I live in an apartment and the pickups are more limited. I once asked some guys who live in houses about it but they were pretty ignorant and apathetic.

They do an electronics recycling day at the local elementary school. but they don't take batteries either. And they only have one a year (which i usually miss). Last year I went and got rid of two old iMacs and one old MacBook that were in the back of my closet (about 15 years of stuff). But they wouldn't take an old electric toothbrush or an old electric beard trimmer and some old phones. So those now live in a shoebox on a top shelf of a closet till I can figure out where they go.
 

TofuRobot

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There is a Best Buy in Redwood City. They used to take batteries. But I haven't been there in years and years. I did move my tub of batteries to my trunk just in case I ever ended up there.

The local garbage company does collect stuff. but I live in an apartment and the pickups are more limited. I once asked some guys who live in houses about it but they were pretty ignorant and apathetic.

They do an electronics recycling day at the local elementary school. but they don't take batteries either. And they only have one a year (which i usually miss). Last year I went and got rid of two old iMacs and one old MacBook that were in the back of my closet (about 15 years of stuff). But they wouldn't take an old electric toothbrush or an old electric beard trimmer and some old phones. So those now live in a shoebox on a top shelf of a closet till I can figure out where they go.
So that link I provided is of no help?

I would highly recommend you do not leave a tub of batteries in the trunk of your car. I understand we have cold weather right now, but the last thing you need is for them to explode because of the heat.

Take them to one of the places listed in that link maybe.
 

Lou

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I will double my efforts.
 
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Mbeth

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I reuse as much packaging as I can. Several years ago I had a goal of packing my husband and kids lunches in all repurposed materials. It took a while to get everything I needed (especially for my kids- their lunchboxes are very small since they don’t have much room in their backpacks and lockers) but I did it. They don’t have any one-use plastic or packaging in their lunch- and they pack every single day. In general I have cut down on just about all one- use packaging in our home for things that we use and buy on a regular basis.
I’ve also been fortunate that we live in an old house with a very big, old barn. Over the years when I think of something I want for decor, or furniture- I can often poke around in our basement, attic or barn and find something that will work. My favorite was several years ago I saw in an antique shop a beautiful jelly cupboard. It was $3000 and I wanted it so badly- and really did need some extra food storage space. I went home and looked around, and in a deep dark corner of the basement found an old, dirty cupboard. My husband somehow wrestled it out of the basement- I cleaned it up and put some wood wax on it and now use it for all my pantry goods.
 
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TofuRobot

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This is more a 'reduce' thing than a re-use thing but one thing I do is refuse all plastic utensils and paper napkins when I get take-out food. If it's possible, I'll even refuse the bag b/c I've got bags in my car, so I'll just bring one in and make them take it out of their plastic one. I'm *working on* getting some kind of container - like stainless steel or glass container that's a good 'meal' size container so I can avoid the actual to-go-food packaging, but I haven't fount the right thing yet. I just bought 2 SS folding sporks - one of which I keep in my purse and one I keep in my drawer at work, in case I really want to eat on-the-go. Drives me nuts when restaurants throw that stuff in by default without asking if you need them. Not only is it wasteful and bad for the planet, it costs them money they wouldn't otherwise need to spend, so I don't get it. It takes 1.5 seconds to ask, and 99% of the people getting take out are going home where they don't need that stuff, it's not like they're going on a unplanned picnic or something. ...I also don't buy paper towels since I have plenty of cloth napkins and rags (I made a bunch of linen napkins last summer - super easy if you have a sewing machine).

Edit...
Also, I have recently purchased a small collection (3, but I want a couple more) vacuum-insulated SS tumblers and that's all I drink out of. They are awesome and I imagine I'll have them forever. I also sometimes drink out of 16 oz. wide-mouth mason jars and have lots of those that I store stuff in. I'm trying to rid myself of the plastic food storage containers - I've always hated those - and slowly replace everything with glass. I still have some plastic left, though. I'll use that stuff till it falls apart, then it goes into the recycling bin.
 
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alleycat

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A huge thank you to all the replies and brilliant ideas.
Meyersaurus I am long past the age of needing pads, but starting to have weakness in the bladder when lifting or stretching so making some again is an excellent idea for me.
I am so impressed with all these ideas, thank you every one
 
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Lou

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This is more a 'reduce' thing than a re-use thing.

Well, I'm right with you there. I have been re-using and reducing since they came up with the Three Rs.

The reusable grocery shopping bags seem to accumulate too. (and migrate from the car to the house). But I have found that I like them so much. Much easier to lug things around in those than a small suitcase or box.

Some cities and counties around here have already made plastic straws illegal. and some restaurants have adopted it voluntarily.

My sister already bought her stainless steel straw (with a travel pouch and cleaning brush). The package came with five straws and she gave me one. but only one pouch and brush per kit - so I didn't get those. But regardless, as a guy without a purse, I don't really have a good way to travel with one. I'm waiting on the telescopic version with a holster.
 
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TofuRobot

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Do you really need a straw, though, @Lou ? I do happen to understand that some people with disabilities might need one, which is when the paper or SS ones are useful. I have a couple of those, and I think they're cool, I just very rarely use them.
 

Lou

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Do you really need a straw, though, @Lou ? I do happen to understand that some people with disabilities might need one, which is when the paper or SS ones are useful. I have a couple of those, and I think they're cool, I just very rarely use them.
I really don't NEED a straw. Maybe for Frapachinos so I don't get whip cream on my nose. :)

When I go to Starbucks I bring my own cup. and of course, I don't get whip cream. So yeah. what the heck do I need a straw for?
Thanks. You just saved me ten bucks.
 

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I save a variety of different glass containers for things such as:

-Storage of homemade sauces such as salsa, jams, mustard etc.
-Storage of grains
-Storage of homemade nuts (ie: chickpea nuts, corn nuts etc)
-Water for when I'm traveling by car
-Wine/vinegar making - currently making peach wine/vinegar :)
-Occasionally growing vegetables on my kitchen window sill such as spring onion
-Dark bottles for Home brewed beer

I have a self built (crude, but functional) fireplace/heater I made from bricks, an iron
pot with small rocks/sand in the bottom for as a fuel vessel, a terracotta pot
and some steel bolts (to retain some of the heat). In this goes some of my:

- Cardboard
- Junk mail/unneeded mail
- Wood

..arranged in a high oxygen configuration + a little pure alcohol for a clean (no smoke) burn.

I save the ash for either nixtamalization of grains or for adding minerals to soil when planting.

I have experimented with making natural gas from grass clippings

I have used stored urine as a source of NPK to add to soil to grow plants.

At home, I use a portable bidet. Done properly, it leaves a clean bum as opposed to tp, saves me money, and doesn't use any trees.

I also consider paper towels a waste (of paper, and money). I keep/re-use cloth rags and clean as necessary.

Edit: I also make most of my own plant milk, which usually these days is from oats, sometimes Tahini. This is a money saver mostly as I consider most commercially bought inferior and a waste, and it is extremely easy to make.
 
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TofuRobot

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I also consider paper towels a waste (of paper, and money). I keep/re-use cloth rags and clean as necessary.
I buy about one roll of paper towels every 9 months. I also just started taking a towel with me to the bathroom at work (along with my little travel size Dr. Bronners soap). I know I'm the only one who does that. I figure that saves at least 30 paper towels per week I would otherwise use that i don't need to.
 
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