Reusing instead of recycling

This week’s “Change the World Wednesday” challenge covers a topic which is close to my heart.

It’s all about swapping disposable items for reusable ones. This means we’re moving up the 3Rs ladder, away from recycling and on to reuse – yipee!

Not only does this help the environment, but it helps us save money too.

Kris, who set the challenge suggests replacing kitchen towels and paper napkins with washable items and I’ve been having a think about the things we use at Chez Green.

Here they are!


Let me talk you through

1 Trays from convenience foods used for drip trays for house plants

2 Water filter (I used to buy bottled water)

3 Reusable shopping bag

4 Yogurt maker instead of buying it in plastic pots

5 Refillable washing up liquid detergent (we use refills for fabric conditioner too)

6 Plastic boxes used for taking to the butcher and deli for meats, cheese etc instead of buying in packaging

7 Stainless steel water bottle (instead of buying soft drinks when out and about)

8 Fountain pen instead of disposable biros

9 Wrap ‘n’ mat instead of clingfilm for sandwiches

10 Refillable gas lighter for lighting the fire and candles

11 Cloth for furoshiki instead of wrapping paper

12 Ink in a glass bottle rather than plastic cartridges for my fountain pen

13 Microfiber cloth instead of disposable washing up cloths or kitchen towel

14 Rechargeable batteries

15 Silicone muffin moulds

There’s also a jar of chutney on the table where I’ve reused an old jam jar and there are heaps more ideas such as washable nappies (diapers), reusable sanitary items for the girls (choose the mooncup or washable pads), using cardboard toilet roll inners for seedlings instead of biodegradable pots, taking the cables, plugs and screws out of appliances before recycling and I even take those annoying plastic ties off toys and use them to tie the tomatoes to their stakes during the summer.

What about you? I bet you have some great reuse ideas and I can’t wait to hear them!


  1. Small Footprints on February 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Wowee … The Green Family is doing a fabulous job of reusing. Thank you for all the great ideas. I especially like the fountain pen idea … it’s such a small thing but landfills are just full of disposable pens. I also really like the yogurt maker … in the stores around here, it seems difficult to buy yogurt (especially soy yogurt) in large containers so … making it at home would be brilliant … one could also control exactly what goes in so it would be very healthy (an added bonus).

    Thank you for sharing all of your “reuses”! And by the way … what a lovely couple you make! Nice to “see” you!

  2. Mrs Green on February 22, 2011 at 8:21 am

    thanks lovely one. Disposable biros really get to me and I used to work in an office so know first hand just how many are wasted, how many ‘walk away’ from desks, get lost, get forgotten. Writing with a fountain pen really slows you down and makes you think otherwise all your writing gets smudged!
    The yogurt maker is great for making something as pure as you like. I eat cows milk yogurt, but I notice that a lot of soy yogurt contains all sorts of nasty additives…

  3. Kris on February 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I love your #6 idea! I never thought to bring my own container to have deli meat added to. I’m going to have to plan on doing that next time Husband needs some. I also use silicone muffin moulds..totally forgot about that.

    Great list! love the idea of using a fountain pen.

  4. Joe on February 24, 2011 at 12:45 am

    I was taking surveys at Household Waste Recycling Centres 2 weeks ago (see my blog). The amount of good stuff (worked/ in need of minor repair) probably made up most of the ‘waste’!

    I always try to reuse plastic bags at the shops, I don’t really buy much stuff – I get books from the local charity shop – that’s reuse!

  5. Mrs Green on February 26, 2011 at 11:49 am

    @Kris: Thanks Kris; let me know how you get on with the container! Some stores are ok with it, others refuse on ‘health and safety’ grounds 😉

    @Joe: I agree Joe – I’ve seen lots of things at the household recycling centre destined for landfill that seem perfectly good. It’s very sad that we no longer value repairing items…

  6. Joddle on August 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Reuse is the best. I got a bamboo straw recently (to take with me when I’m out for drinks). Actually, a straw isn’t a necessity of life but I thought it may help me cut down on plastics

  7. Mrs Green on August 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    @Joddle: bamboo is interesting; I guess it has its own antibacterial properties? Let us know how long it lasts and I suppose you compost it after several uses?

  8. julie on December 10, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Hi, love your ideas, where can you buy the wrap mat for sandwhiches?. I have to make 5 lots of sandwhiches every day, and am fed up with sandwhich bags. Thanks, Julie.

  9. Mrs Green on December 12, 2011 at 9:52 am

    @julie: Hi Julie, ours are from Onya Bags 🙂 HTH