As much as we try to cut down on the amount of waste we produce, sometimes we can’t help but buy products that leave us with waste packaging. Although recycling is better than simply tossing household packaging in landfill, an even more eco-friendly option is reusing the materials and giving them a new lease of life. Here are three ideas for reusing common product packaging to give you some inspiration.
1. Refill empty cleaning product bottles with homemade cleaners
Homemade household cleaners tend to be cheaper and healthier than store-bought products. With simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, borax, castile soap, hydrogen peroxide, salt and essential oils, you can create a variety of effective, eco-friendly cleaning products and store them in empty spray bottles. Just make sure to thoroughly clean the bottles before filling them to avoid causing unexpected chemical reactions. A simple recipe to get you started is an all-purpose cleaner made from one part vinegar, one part water, and the rind of a lemon.
2. Make seed planters from egg cartons
Egg cartons make ideal planters for growing seedlings. Poke a few small holes in the bottom of each carton cup for drainage. Cut the lid off the carton and stack it underneath so it can catch water. Next, simply fill the cups with soil, plant your seeds and water them.
Once your seedlings have sprouted and started putting down roots, you’ll find them easy to transport out into your garden or allotment for planting. If you’re using a cardboard egg carton, you can simply cut apart the individual cups and plant each one, cup and all, in the soil. The cardboard will disintegrate over time. It can be helpful to cut a couple of slits into the base of each cup to help the plant’s roots expand.
3. Use plastic bottles to make bird feeders
Putting bird feed in your garden is a great way to see more wildlife, but it can also be an essential food source for birds during harsh winter weather. Plastic drink bottles can make handy bird feeders.
Use a pin to poke two holes on opposite sides of the bottle near the base. Feed one or two popsicle sticks through these holes to serve as a perch. Cut a small feeding hole just above each perch and try to make these as smooth as possible to prevent sharp edges. Poke two more holes on opposite sides of the neck of the bottle, and thread a length of string through these for hanging. Next, simply fill the feeder with seeds, replace the bottle lid, and find a sheltered location to hang it up. Attaching it to a washing line or the branch of a tree is a good idea.
Reuse packaging to reduce your environmental impact
Every small thing we can do to cut down on waste is beneficial for the environment, so try to reuse as much product packaging as possible to protect our planet.