Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose


By: Alanna Sabatino

With the desire to be environmentally conscious weighing on our minds this Earth Day, it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough. But, when we’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily the size of the act that makes the difference, it’s the act itself. In other words, no action is too small when it comes to saving the world.

There are so many ways you can help save the environment while also saving your bank account. How? Instead of buying new gadgets, you can simply reuse household items in new, inventive ways. Think about the things that are forgotten or thrown away every day; if we shift our thinking, these “old” items can be given a new life.

Here are just a few ways you can repurpose your items and give them a new life:

The JAR-ring Ways to Reuse the Jar

Jars are incredibly versatile and found everywhere in the house: candles, pickles, pasta sauce, jams, etc. But did you know that once you’re done with those jars, they can be repurposed for more things? Candle jars with lids can be cleaned out and used to hold your hair ties, jewelry, or even cotton pads and cotton swabs to help organize your bathroom. Food jars, like pickles or sauce, can be turned into lunch containers for salads or snacks, or used in your pantry to store dry goods…think pasta noodles, rice, baking supplies….the possibilities are endless!

If you’re looking for a more creative outlet for these jars, you can paint them and use them as decoration or a flower vase to store fresh flowers in the summertime. You can use conventional paint or mix the paint with a bit of baking soda to give the jar a textured appearance. Another great way to repurpose jars is to cut a slit or hole in the lid of your pot and use it as a piggy bank to hold loose change. Say “bye-bye” to loose couch change, and say “hello” to a new and creative way to store your coins.

Got Old Clothes?

We all have clothes that never quite make it to the donations bin. Instead of sitting in your closet, these clothes can also be reused as cleaning supplies. The best part? Doing this requires no sewing. Simply cut up your old clothes into different size washcloths and start cleaning. Cleaning with old clothes and socks helps repurpose your items, spares your wallet, and creates less garbage. You’re no longer throwing away heaps of paper towels while you clean, and you now have some freed-up space in your closet, too.

If you’re more creative and love arts and crafts, you can repurpose old sheets and linens into a funky tapestry to hang in your room! You’ll just need some fabric dye or a tie-dye kit from the craft store, and some outdoor space. Next time you feel inspired to create, grab some friends and spend the afternoon repurposing your old, boring sheets into a colourful, decorative masterpiece! 

From Breakfast to the Garden

Did you know that your empty paper egg cartons can be reused in your garden? Paper egg cartons can be cut up into different sections and used as seed sprouting containers. Once the seedlings get big enough to plant, simply wet the whole egg carton and plant it right in your garden. The soggy paper will break down over time in the dirt. 

You can also add the eggshells from your breakfast to the soil, as they’re compostable and loaded with nutrients to help the earth. This hack will help reduce your recycling footprint and, in return, give you some fresh herbs, vegetables or flowers!

Keep it Fresh and Herby

If you don’t have the time or space to grow your herbs from seedlings, you can still enjoy fresh herbs while staying environmentally conscious. Next time you’re at the supermarket, try to avoid buying herbs in plastic packaging and opt to buy the herb plant instead. The actual plant is a great alternative to growing your herbs with less time and energy commitments. And, when you’re finished, you can simply dispose of the dirt and plant in any garden or outdoor space, as the soil will be full of nutrients!

Maybe gardening doesn’t interest you, but you still want fresh herbs in your meals? If you decide to buy pre-packaged herbs, make sure you get the most out of them by ensuring you store them properly. The number one rule to making your herbs last is washing and drying them thoroughly as soon as they come in the door. Next, you’ll want to store the herbs by wrapping them in a damp paper towel, then wrapping that in plastic wrap. Picture a herb burrito; this will ensure that your herbs don’t dry out and turn brown before you get a chance to use them.

For more sustainability tips & tricks, and to keep up with our latest posts and articles, keep an eye on our blog and be sure to follow us on IG @EmpowHERto.

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