January 24th, 2012

3 Creative Ideas for Reusing and Repurposing

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Repurposed toilet paper rolls

The saying goes: “One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure.”  We live in a use-and-toss society where most of the time we don’t give a second thought to using an item once and then tossing it. If we stopped before tossing we might realize that some of those items that seem ripe for the trash  can be repurposed into something completely different for our own use. That trash could become our own treasure.

Why repurpose or reuse?

Repurposing something is different than recycling. Recycling is the process  by which old goods are re-manufactured, allowing them to be turned into new products. Reusing or repurposing is taking a product that’s already in existence and lengthening its life by using it for something new.

Reusing can help keep our earth healthy and green.

  • Reusing something keeps it out of an overflowing landfill.
  • Reusing conserves natural resources.
  • When you reuse a product you consume less. This will ultimately save you money over time.
  • Reusing a product reduces your health risks. In most cases, an item already in circulation has  off-gassed its harmful VOCs (that “new” smell).

Many of us are already in the habit of using reusable bags when we head out to the market. This is a fantastic step in the reusable direction. There are many other ways to reuse a product. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Toilet paper rolls for planting seedlings

repurposed toilet paper roll

No need to buy peat pots when you can make your own biodegradable pots out of something you already have in your home — toilet paper rolls. Cut the rolls in half and fold in the bottom of the roll as shown above. Add soil and seeds and you have your very own peat pot.

Wooden clementine box for stuffed animal or doll bed

repurposed clementine box

We go through a lot of clementines in our house and they usually come in a wooden crate to prevent the fruit from being crushed. If you have a few of these crates lying around they can be repurposed into an adorable little stuffed animal or doll bed.

Empty glass jars repurposed for storage

repurposed glass jarsEmpty glass jars can be repurposed into storage containers for nails, screws, bolts and other hardware. Different sized jars can also work well for food and spice storage.

What have you repurposed?


[Photo used under Creative Commons from Girl in Gear Studio, How Can I Recycle This/Flickr]



30 Responses to “3 Creative Ideas for Reusing and Repurposing”

  1. Very cute! My kids love making things out of TP rolls but I never thought to use them to start seeds. Great idea. I just wrote a blog post about cutting old t-shirts into hankies. I’m excited to finally have cloth snot rags!!

  2. Cute little bed…love it! And the paper rolls….genius! I give my to little E and she plays with them. She puts them on her arms as if she has a cast on. I reuse all my glass containers for storage even my kombucha bottles for small stuff like beans, coconut, nuts, seeds etc. great post, Lori! 🙂

  3. If I could grow anything, those toilet paper tube pots would be great! LOL – I did not inherit my mom’s green thumb. I’ll have to pass that one on to her. Love the bed. In preschool, my kids made beds for their stuffed animals out of clementine boxes. They are still in use 3 years later. I use all kinds of glass jars – leftovers, beans, chocolate chips….
    I have also re-purposed old towels into cleaning cloths – just cut them to size. And old T-shirts into napkins.

  4. Ah! Those same clementine boxes are very popular at our house, too!

  5. Great ideas. I will definitely try the tp rolls for seedlings. I have been leaving the boxes for clementines at the store, but I bet the kids would love to have beds for their dolls or animals.

  6. Hi Stephanie, There are so many great things to do with toilet paper rolls! I’m surprised that my kids never tried the cast idea. I’ll have to let them know. It sounds like you buy a lot of your food in bulk. Glass jars are perfect for storage.

  7. I don’t have much of a green thumb either Kristina. The toilet paper tube is such an easy reuse. Where do you get your glass jars for food storage? Great suggestion-using old towels for rags/cleaning cloths.

  8. Hi Michelle, I’ll have to check out your post on using old t-shirts for tissues. My son has a cold right now and his room is filled with used tissues.

  9. What do you use them for Sarah? I’m thinking of using another one to store the kids work from school before I have a chance to go through it. The box is the perfect size.

  10. Hi Marsha-

    Our store offers to take them back too. I bring them home so the clementines don’t get crushed in the car. Then the kids take it and use it for all sorts of creative uses.

  11. Great ideas! I wish I could mix the first and second ones and make a planter out of clementine boxes. Not sure how to make it waterproof…

  12. Looove the animal/doll bed! Gotta do it!

  13. Andrea-When I was writing the post I saw a planter made out of a clementine box. Wish I could remember the site. There must be a way to make it work. Lay something on the bottom?

  14. Your boys would love the clementine bed Tiffany! You need two boxes 🙂

  15. I love the toilet paper roll idea!! Super clever.

  16. Thanks Rebekah! Who knew there were so many uses for TP rolls??

  17. The clementine bed is so cute!! When I was a kid, I made a “pet” out of mini pom-poms who lived in one of the slide-open boxes that cotton swabs used to come in–now that I think about it, I haven’t seen that type of box recently for anything other than kitchen matches; I’d hesitate to let my child play with a matchbox because of the chemicals on the striking surface. But he does make a lot of toys out of reused stuff. Lately he has been running his toy trains around a hotel which he built from scraps of wood left over from making our bathroom shelves.

    Here is my big list of ways to reuse things!

  18. Hi Becca-the hotel sounds amazing! What a clever idea and use for your old bathroom shelves. I remember making things out of the mini pom-poms too.

  19. I love your repurposing projects, especially the toilet paper roll planters. Great idea … and the great thing is that when it comes to transplanting the little plants into the garden, one can just sink the whole works into the ground because the toilet paper rolls will compost down and supply food for the plant. Brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing … and congrats on being chose the “Blog of the Week”. 🙂

  20. Great point-the toilet paper rolls can go right into the ground. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  21. […] By admin var addthis_product = 'wpp-255'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};by Lori Alper, Founder of Groovy Green Livin’ […]

  22. […] World for this week’s round-up of posts on repurposing and reusing. I’m honored that my post, 3 Creative Ideas for Reusing and Repurposing, was selected as the Blog of the […]

  23. The clementine box idea is hilarious. I used to flip my empty ones upside down and use them as computer monitor stands, so that my screen would be closer to eye level.

  24. Great idea Jason!

  25. […] desperategardener, saidosdaconcha, groovygreenlivin.com […]

  26. […] example of how Domicil is committed to reducing waste. A beautifully handcrafted handbag made by upcycling pieces of the leather hides not used in their furniture production is launching this year for the […]

  27. […] Photo from Groovy Green Livin’ […]

  28. Loved the toilet paper planter idea! That is something different.

  29. Let me know if you try it, Amruta!

  30. […] Fuente: groovy green livin […]

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Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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