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Recycle This!

Creative ideas for reusing and recycling random stuff
  1. How can I reuse or recycle a wheelie bin?

    Hi. Long time no blog! Sorry about that. This has annoyed me so much though that I feel compelled to post! Bradford Council has started charging for their previously free garden waste collection service. Only about a third of eligible household have signed up so the Council estimates there are around 55,000 “brown bins” no [...]
  2. How can I reuse or recycle a wooden shoe rack?

    There was a neighbourhood “give and take” event near me at the weekend – people took along their unwanted items and took home anything other people had donated that took their fancy — all for free. It was mostly small things – crockery, household knick-knacks and books – but there were some larger things too [...]
  3. How can I reuse or recycle old glass blocks/glass bricks?

    We’ve had an email from Whitney, asking about reuse/recycling ideas for glass blocks (or glass bricks, as they’re also known): We just bought a house and making a lot of renovations. We removed some glass blocks from an old bathroom window and I want to reuse them for something. I love glass blocks and since [...]
  4. How can I “reuse” fresh eggs that we can’t eat?

    (Hi! Sorry to regular readers for the stupidly long break in posting – I’ve been reading all the comments as usual as they come in, just not posting any new content myself due to a combination of busy-ness, illness and laziness. I’m hoping to get back to regular scheduled blogging again now though!) This question [...]
  5. How can I reuse or recycle toilet seats?

    Apologies for the break in blogging – I’ve been super busy with other things over the last month. And in my absence, Recycle This had its sixth birthday! Happy Birthday website! :D Anyway, moving on: we’ve had an email from Stephanie about toilet seats: I just came into about 25 toilet seat all different colors [...]
  6. How can I reuse or recycle empty bottled gas/propane cylinders?

    Lyndon has emailed to ask about reusing – or recycling – propane gas canisters (the ones for heating, barbecues or patio heaters etc): Trying to tidy up the yard at work, what can I do with some old gas bottles? If there is a company name on the bottles (like Calor Gas, Flo Gas or [...]
  7. How can I reuse or recycle large (catering size) food cans?

    Sam has emailed asking about large food cans: I have a number of large metal food cans, some zinc lined, which are called #10 size. They hold about 5 or 6 lbs (just under 3kg) of beans, or other foods. Now that they’re empty, they are open on one end, with no plastic lid to [...]
  8. She recycled that! Upcycling novelty hats into bunting/pennants

    Last September, Karen emailed us about the vast collection of novelty jester hats that her boyfriend had collected at various carnivals and festivals over the years. She wanted to know how she could reuse or recycle them as she hadn’t had much success giving them away. Lots of people made suggestions – including trying to [...]
  9. How can I reuse or recycle wallpaper samples?

    Following on from the paint tester pots the other week, I’ve got some wallpaper samples that have served their purpose too. I really can’t wait for our renovations to be over! Like the paint, the samples were to check out ideas/colours/designs in-situ. Some of them were torn from rolls in shops (with permission! I’m not [...]
  10. How can I reuse or recycle medical plastic tubing?

    We’ve had an email from Janette asking about medical plastic tubing: I need to know how I might reuse/recycle medical plastic tubing. My husband uses an oxygen tank and the cannula (clear plastic tubing) needs to be changed every two weeks. After the nasal clip is removed, biowaste/garbage – there’s still a ten foot length [...]
  11. What can I reuse or recycle as moulds for making new crayons from old ones?

    We asked about stuff to reuse/recycle as homemade soup moulds not too long ago but Danell has messaged with a variation on that theme: I want to melt old crayon stubs together to make new crayons for kids. I know I could use old muffin tins or ice cube trays, neither of which I have, [...]
  12. How can I reuse or recycle vertical blinds material?

    Someone on my Twitter feed yesterday – I can’t remember who, sorry – asking about ways to recycle or reuse the material from vertical track blinds. My first – instinctive – reaction was “bleugh!” because I hate the feel of those blinds ;) My second thought was “good question!” We had lots of great ideas [...]
  13. How can I reuse or recycle little paint tester pots?

    We covered old leftover paint on the site many, many moons ago (roughly 66-67 moons ago apparently) but these last few weeks, we’ve been rather overrun with little tester pots of paint here. I hate tester pots from an environmental point of view – usually plastic pots, sometimes with an integral brush, that are thrown [...]
  14. How can I reuse or recycle the nets you get around wine bottles?

    Long time Recycle This friend (and very frequent commenter!) Anna has a question about the protective sleeves slipped around wine bottles: Any ideas what to do with the plastic nets they put for wine bottles for protecting them when you buy one? I don’t drink wine so I had to turn to my friend Google [...]
  15. What food packaging & other household waste do you use for starting seeds?

    It’s seed-starting time here in the northern hemisphere and my Twitter feed is full of exciting stories about what fruit & veg people are going to be growing this year. I’ve added half a dozen more fruit bushes to our garden this year but I’ve not sown any seeds yet — my seed box is [...]
  16. How can I reuse or recycle an acrylic sweater/jumper?

    We’ve covered wool jumpers/sweaters on the site before now – what to do with them when you accidentally shrink your most favourite jumper ever in the wash. But what about acrylic jumpers? They don’t get ruined in the same way but cheaper ones tend to lose their shape and look a bit washed out over [...]
  17. What green product do you wish someone would invent?

    We’ve had an email from Mel asking for a bit of help with a university assignment about green things and I thought it might make an interesting discussion: I have a uni assignment where I need to market an ‘imaginary’ green product – I believe my time would be better spent marketing an ‘actual’ green [...]
  18. How can I revamp some plain curtains with recycled/upcycled materials?

    Following on from my recent “how can I revamp a kitchen so I don’t need a new one?” question, Janet has asked a similar (smaller scale!) question about curtains: I have ordinary plain curtains that need to look snazzy. I like the “wacky” type of design,whether it’s adding on old buttons,bits of fabric etc. Any [...]
  19. How can I reuse or recycle poker/betting chips?

    Inma has emailed us about betting chips: Hi! I’ve found a lot of chips to bet, and I wonder if anyone has some use for them. There was a fad for playing poker with betting chips a few years ago and all the shops were stacked full of them as cheap/easy Christmas presents – so [...]
  20. How can I reuse or recycle a unwanted solid deodorant bar from Lush?

    Kathryn has emailed us asking about reuses for a solid deodorant bar: I recently bought a solid deodorant from Lush (this one). It smells nice, but it’s not right for me. Other than using it to keep my sock drawer fresh, could I do anything else with it? The ingredients are listed as including chamomile [...]
  21. How can I reuse or recycle old PVC pipes?

    We’ve had an email from Madhvi asking : how can I creatively recycle old PVC pipes? We’ve covered some reuses for guttering and drainpipes – which are increasingly plastic these days – but I thought it was worth asking Madhvi’s question because PVC pipes come in all sorts of diameters and lengths. A few months [...]
  22. Reduce This: How can I revamp an old kitchen so I don’t need to buy a new one?

    Yesterday, I posted a question from James, asking for ways to reuse or recycle a whole kitchen, because he’s getting a new one. Thanks to everyone that has commented about that! At the bottom, I mentioned reducing is the most important part of the recycling triangle. James already seems quite set on getting a new [...]
  23. How can I reuse or recycle a whole kitchen?

    I’m back post-lurgy and I thought I’d post this great question from James – asking how to recycle a whole kitchen: We shall be replacing our kitchen in the next few months. The present one is 15 years old and is perfectly serviceable. I don’t want to “skip” it. Any suggestion as to how I [...]
  24. How can I reuse or recycle margarine tub lids/cream cheese tub lids?

    Whitney has emailed us, asking about margarine tub lids: i’m trying to do my part and make sure that i recycle everything that i can, or at least find a way to reuse it. i recycle my #5 containers of cream cheese, margarine, etc, but have nothing to do with the lids, which even if [...]
  25. Listed buildings & green issues: what are your thoughts?

    (This isn’t strictly a recycling issue but I was thinking about it the other day and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!) A few miles down the road from me is a village called Saltaire. It is a Victorian model village founded by a local mill owner (Sir Titus Salt) so his [...]
  26. How can I reuse/use up really, really old coffee beans?

    I mentioned in passing on my simple/frugal living blog that we’re having our kitchen ceiling replastered at the moment. Ahead of the plasterer starting on Monday, we had to tidy off all the work surfaces and tops of cupboards – quite a challenge for hoarders like us with many, many culinary hobbies! Anyway, among our [...]
  27. How can I reuse or recycle plastic handicap car parking tags?

    Ages and ages ago on the Suggest An Item page, Carolyn asked about reusing handicap parking tags – but I missed it until Raynor recently comment last week. Sorry – not sure how it slipped by me! Anyway, better late than never, Carolyn asked: Every two years my husband’s blue handicap tags for the vehicles [...]
  28. How can I reuse or recycle leftover chips?

    Mari has emailed asking about leftover chips – as in English chips eaten hot, thick fries not potato chips/crisps – saying her family nearly always have “eyes bigger than their bellies” when they order fish’n'chips and end up with some leftovers: Good thick chips not just tiny hard scraps. It’s such a waste. Can anything [...]
  29. How can I reuse or recycle an old toaster oven?

    Joel has an old toaster oven and would like ideas on how he can reuse or recycle it: My wife just bought a new toaster oven. The previous one had problems in her eyes, because the spring-loaded door didn’t work as smoothly as when new, and the unit, after three years, had a couple unsightliness [...]
  30. How can I reuse or recycle an old cast iron casserole dish/pan?

    Good friend (and bully ;) ) of Recycle This and The Really Good Life Su has emailed with a question: Me again! With an actual, proper reuse question! My much used enamelled, cast iron casserole dish has died. Proper died, a large section of the enamel has come off the bottom & I dropped the [...]