What is reuse, recycle, repurpose?

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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This old suitcase has been repurposed as a medicine cabinet
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Reuse, recycle, repurpose as a lifestyle is fun and good for the environment

When you reuse, recycle and re-purpose you are saving the world’s waning resources. You are making a valuable and needed contribution to the world and, in addition, you are being creative.

Reuse means to use a product in a different way after reclaiming or reprocessing it. To recycle means to reprocess and use again, such as is done when you recycle paper, aluminum cans and glass. When something is re-conditioned and adapted for a new function or use this is considered recycling. When you re-use an item it is re-purposed and is now being used as something other than its intended purpose.

Re-purposing is fun -- as well as a wise thing to do for the environment. You just need to learn to  live outside the box. A cigar box isn’t necessarily just a cigar box. It can be used to hold your make-up, your thread and needles and pins, your jewelry or paint brushes.

When you re-purpose an item it is being reused and not going into a trash pile somewhere. You'll get a kick out of it when one of your friend asks in amazement, "Is that a lamp base a wine jar?" Yep.

Wine bottles, mason jars or any kind of glass food jar make great flower pots. Leave them as is or paint them. You can give them some texture by applying spackle to the glass, letting it dry and then spray painting over it.

There are many simple and creative ideas for living the "reuse, recycle, repurpose" philosophy:

  • Glass jars also make good containers for candles. Don't toss out that empty pickle jar. Wash it thoroughly and re-use it or at least recycle it.
  • When you are finish reading your magazines, either take them to a nursing home, doctor’s office or a hospital so others can read them or dump them in a recycling bin. Turn your old catalogs into great craft projects.
  • Throw away a perfectly good zip lock bag because you’ve already used it? That’s crazy. Wash it out with soap and water and use it over and over again.
  • Carry a eco-friendly cloth bag to the grocery store instead of using plastic or paper bags. This saves on trash and saves some trees.
  • Make a headboard for your bed out of an old door or turn the door into a table.
  • A glass window can be made into a tabletop.
  • Save your big coffee containers and put paint brushes, crayons and what not in them. The containers have a lid. This is a great storage idea. You can spray paint the container if you wish. The plastic lids from big containers make great art palettes, where you can mix you paint.
  • Turn an old suitcase into a medicine cabinet or use an unused suitcase to house your craft items.
  • Tlc.howstuffworks.com suggests re-purposing old guitar strings. Use the strings to cut cheese or hang a picture using the guitar strings. Make your old strings into cool looking wire jewelry.
  • Don't throw your old clothes away. Donate them to Goodwill or another similar organization. Someone else can re-use your clothing and be quite delighted to do so.
  • Use re-chargeable batteries instead of regular batteries that are tossed into the trash when they expire, adding more waste to the dump.
  • Use your empty juice jugs to hold water. You never know when there is going to be a water emergency or shortage. You'll be glad you have some water on hand. At least you'll have enough water to brush your teeth and wash your face.
  • Re-use the bows that you used on your Christmas or birthday presents. It's silly and wasteful to throw them away. The stickiness may be gone from the bottom of the bow but that is quickly remedied with double stick tape.

If you can reuse an item, do it. If you can recycle one, likewise. If you can find a really cool way to re-purpose something, go for it.

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