• Emily Westlake

Becoming More Eco-friendly: Reuse: Part 1

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

In this blog series, I'm looking at ways to become more eco-friendly, by reducing, reusing, and recycling, to avoid adding to landfill. In today's blog, I will share some ideas on how to REUSE - based on things that have worked for me. You will need to consider what items you can reuse in your daily life - everyone will be different.

One of the main things I try to avoid throwing away, is plastic. It's a useful material, but, will last for hundreds of years, so it's worth reusing until it's falling apart.

Here are some of the other items I regularly save to reuse, or to make something new with:

Coloured tissue paper is wonderful for wrapping presents with, or fragile items that I'm putting in the post.

I'm currently saving up icecream sticks to make dolls with.

I reuse resealable plastic bags (e.g. from frozen fruit and veg) as much as I can, for storing food in the fridge/ freezer; and I've started making mask bags with them, which I sell in my Etsy shop. Non-food bags are great for protecting items I'm sending via post.

I make all sorts of items with the string from Abel & Cole boxes, including crocheting string bags, and using string to hang items up around the house.

I collect pieces of foil to reuse for wrapping food, covering containers, and for making Christmas decorations. Sweet wrappers and plastic lids (e.g. Pringles or yoghurt lids) are also useful for making decorations with.

Reusable Kitchen Roll

I use paper kitchen roll quite a bit, and recently discovered reusable cloth kitchen roll (Eco Egg reusable bamboo towels). I made myself a string bag (using coloured wool) to keep them in, and I put the dirty ones in a bowl until I'm ready to wash them. They go in the washing machine in a delicates bag, and then I hang them up above my cooker to dry, using string and wooden pegs. They absorb the colours of other items I wash them with - which is why they are currently pink - but they're very easy to use and look after.

See my first blog post, for more practical solutions to help reuse items that would normally go in the bin.

In the lead up to Christmas 2020, I made lots of tree decorations. Some of them were made with a ball of foil, and wool or string; and some were made with scraps of material & wool, and stuffed with smaller scraps of material, cotton, and wool. I also reused other items like old buttons to decorate them.

When I do any sewing or crocheting, I save any tiny scraps of thread, wool and material, and they can be used in the future to stuff items like these decorations.

I really enjoyed watching these 2 videos, about how other people turning old materials into new products.

The first video is about a man who's making new bags out of large industrial sacks.

And the second video is from the Crisp Packet Project, which lots of people are joining to make sleeping bags and survival sheets, for homeless people, out of crisp packets.

Remember, even recycling things uses up a lot of resources like energy and water - so if we can reuse items before recycling, that will help the environment even more.

Here's my next blog post:

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