The workshop is a great place for reusing items formally
destined for the landfill. Even if you do not have a shop or
craft area you can always donate the items mentioned in the
following paragraphs to friends, schools, shops, youth
centers? The concept of reusing is as limitless as your
Screws, bolts, picture hooks, plant hangers, curtain hooks,
and hinges are common hardware items used in most
homes. Although not overly costly when purchased a few
pieces at a time, they can add up over the years. Salvage
any reusable hardware and parts from old cabinets,
furniture or mechanical items before discarding. These can
easily be organized and stored in plastic containers of
different sizes. Shop with this in mind and purchase items
like peanut butter or mayonnaise in clear plastic containers.
These are our favorite as they are recyclable, sturdy and you
can easily determine the jar's contents at a glance. When
buying screws and bolts avoid the small plastic packages
and try to find a store that sells these items out of bulk bins.
You save money and packaging too.
Strong plastic jugs from juice, milk, or detergents make
excellent storage containers for tools, rags or parts in the
workshop. At a section near the top of the jug remove all but
a flap of plastic to attach it to a wall or post. Any rough spots
can be filed off or covered with tape. Drill a few holes in the
bottom for drainage and use in the same way outside in the
garden and for storing clothespins.
Any clothing or towels too ragged to donate to a thrift store
still have value. Cut the material into squares of different
sizes to use as cleanup rags. Many garages, cabinet shops
and backyard mechanics will gratefully accept excess rags.
Sewing groups would gladly accept the buttons and zippers
gleaned from the clothing. Children's programs and
daycare centers also use buttons for crafts.
Small household appliances that are no longer working can
be salvaged for parts. If you are not familiar with this type of
operation don't attempt it - you can always donate them to
handymen types that you may know, or appliance repair
classes in your community. Handles from pots and pans
can come in handy for fashioning custom tools, or they can
be used to make a storage box easy to carry. Old utensils
can be bent and made into various picks and scrapers.
The workshop can become a veritable stew pot of reuse
ideas. As it is not a place commonly viewed by guests or
neighbors it will not matter so much if the look is
compromised by the reused items. Of course, the most
important thing is the fact that you are reducing your landfill
contribution by taking the matter into your own hands and
making a difference!
Written by Dave and Lillian Brummet based on the
concept of their book, Trash Talk. The book offers useful
solutions for the individual to reduce waste and better
manage resources. A guide for anyone concerned about
their impact on the environment.