|Upcycle Mesh Bags!|
But I find it difficult to get away from buying things with plastic wrappings, containers, etc.
So if it's coming into the house anyway, I think it's best if we find a way to reuse some of this plastic before we throw it out. It definitely makes sense from an environmental standpoint, and from an economic one as well.
So here are some things we reuse or repurpose:
Plastic seltzer bottles (we have not yet bought a Soda Stream, as I'm not convinced that we drink enough seltzer to balance out the cost) - We fill these with water and stick them in the various crevices of our freezer to freeze. This way, we've always got ice for the cooler and the freezer will work more efficiently if it's more full, from what I understand.
Of course, we can't do this with every seltzer bottle, but at least we can stick the unwanted ones in the plastic bottle recycling cage down the block!
Glass jars (from honey, jam, and similar) - I wash and remove the labels and then store various pantry staples in them. (They now have a purple glass recycling container down the block, so we can also recycle them, but I find that enough people want glass jars and I can usually find someone to take the extras off my hands!)
Potato Bags - yes, those mesh bags are actually made of plastic! I use them for washing dishes on Shabbat - Just scrunch 'em up and you're good to go! You can use a rubber band to keep it scrunched up, but I don't even bother. They work just as well as any Shabbat "sponge" I've ever tried, and this doesn't cost me any extra!
Plastic containers from shredded cheese - I reuse these to store leftovers, as I actually have very few dairy storage containers. These are an easily stackable size and work well for sending salads to work with my husband, as well! And when they are cracked or stained, I don't get very sad over a ruined investment...
Cottage Cheese containers, Peanut Butter Containers, etc - I use these for my kids craft projects - for watercolor painting, we fill these with water. We use the larger containers to store various crafting materials, too.
Wrapping paper - when we receive a gift, I'm one of those people who carefully removes the wrapping paper so it can be reused! I really don't buy wrapping paper, and we have a stash to choose from when it's our turn to give a gift! Would you believe that some of the paper and gift bags we have dates back to... oh, never mind, I won't tell you when it's from!!
Old towels, t-shirts, etc become rags. Old jean skirts often become tote bags. We've also made decorative pillows and other small items out of fabric that was no longer useful in its original form. Some clothing we actually sell (if it's still in excellent condition), others we give away. Still others (things that no one seems to want) we bundle up in a bag and give to H&M for their recycling program and get a voucher towards our next purchase there (we buy something there once in a blue moon, it may as well be with a coupon!).
What do you reuse or upcycle? I'd love to hear your ideas!