12 Ways to Reuse Household Plastics

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Aug 16, 2016 12:00 AM

Salt Beef Bucket:

Kitchen compost collector. It’s not always convenient to go out to the garden compost bin every time you crack an egg or peel a potato. A small beef bucket under the sink is perfect for collecting your daily compostables.

Small shrub cover. An overturned bucket makes a quick, solid winter cover for small bushes. A large rock on top will keep it from blowing away, and you can always glue burlap around the outside to make it more attractive/natural looking.

Patio gardening. Many vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and even potatoes, can be grown in a bucket. The size of bucket you need might depend on what you want to grow (eg. potatoes would need a 5 gallon bucket).

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Butter Tub:

Earwig traps. Poke holes (about the diameter of a 4-inch nail) around the side of the tub near the lip. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom and then a few dashes of soya sauce. Put the lid securely on the tub and place it in the garden, around your foundation, or in your home where earwigs are found. The insects will be lured by the soya sauce into the tub where they drown in the oil.

Seed Starter kits. Poke a couple holes in the bottom for drainage (use the cover like a saucer to catch drained water), fill with potting soil and set your seeds. When the plants become large enough, transfer to the garden outside.

Herb and greens keeper. Fill container with fresh water, cut an X in the lid and secure it on the tub. Poke the stems of your herbs (or kale or spinach) through the X into the water and keep in the fridge. Lift the lid (greens and all) anytime to pour out the water and replace with fresh. This will keep your herbs and greens from growing limp as quickly as they often do.

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2L Plastic Bottle:

Easy-peasy watering can. Punch a bunch of tiny holes in the cap, fill the bottle with water and screw the cap back on. You could make a different one just for applying soluble fertilizer.

Wasp trap. Remove the cap and cut off the top of the bottle about where the full width of the bottle begins. Turn that part upside down and insert it neck-first into the bottom of the bottle. The cut edges should line up and be snug (secure with tape if need be). Fill the bottom (about 2 inches deep) with sugary soda. This will attract the wasps to fly down inside the bottle; once there they have trouble getting out and drown in the bait.

Homemade sprinkler. Poke small holes along the sides of the bottle, even create a pattern if you like, and secure the mouth of the bottle to the end of a hose with duct tape. Turn on the hose and watch the water spurt out through the holes in the bottle. Place it wherever it’s needed in the garden (use a timer on your watering hose to automatically shut off the valve and reduce water waste).

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Grocery Bag:

Mini greenhouse. Use plastic bags, either by tenting pots or cutting into plastic strips over bedded plants to create a greenhouse cover in a pinch. Great for late frost warnings that catch you off guard and have you covering your plants in a hurry.

Waterproofing from head to toe. Use a grocery bag as a shower cap, a cover for a cast that can’t get wet in the shower, or over your feet to keep them dry inside your shoes (think rainy outdoor summer concert or slushy driveway clearing).

Craft projects. There are many crafts you can make by twisting or braiding plastic bags - from floor rugs to beach bags. Click here to find some of the craftiest ideas.