There is no planet B — it’s everyone’s responsibility to do what they can to preserve the Earth’s resources, and doing so will benefit human health for years to come. Fortunately, doing so can also save you money while providing new uses for old objects!
Instead of tossing everything into the recycling bin, employ a bit of creativity. Many items that are easily repurposable can pose a threat to our health if we keep using them for their original purpose for too long. Here are seven household items you can repurpose into something else.
It’s far eco-friendlier to shower than bathe, especially if you keep things short. You don’t always have to shampoo unless your locks get limp and greasy without lathering up. Many people can go two to three days without scrubbing their head, and their hair will stay healthier for it. Of course, that means protecting it from stray spray while you wash the rest of your body.
All those plastic caps can create an ecological nightmare. Instead, use them to keep your white carpets clean. Dry them out when they get worn or germy and use them as shoe covers. You and your family might take off your sneakers at the door, but these are good to keep on hand when maintenance pays a visit.
You might not think of your pillow as something that gets particularly germy unless you recently recovered from a cold. However, they tend to contain over 100,000 dust mites. These are living organisms that poop! Each of the little buggers excretes 20 or more times per night.
Now that you are ready to replace your pillow, hit pause before throwing it in the landfill. You can use that soiled stuffing for a gardening pillow — your knees are far enough away from your nose to keep you safe from germs. You could also create narrowly stuffed rollers to stop drafts from under doors, doubling the eco-friendliness of your craft.
You could pay a small fortune for a professional tile and grout cleaning job. However, it’s nothing that you can’t DIY with a little elbow grease — and the right tool!
The CDC recommends swapping out your toothbrush once every three months and sooner if you see frayed or damaged bristles. That’s an awful lot of plastic left lying around in landfills.
Instead, use them to give your kitchen and bathroom grout a thorough cleaning. You can use a bleach and baking soda mixture to scrub away any mold.
Sponges can get germy in no time. Even putting them in the microwave or dishwasher only works for so long before it becomes questionable.
However, you shouldn’t toss the old ones if you have thirsty houseplants — using them in the bottom of the pot or vase keeps stems moist. You can also cut them into small squares for starting seedlings in an egg carton. Depending on the material, you might be able to add yours to your backyard compost bin.
Removing the last bits of sticky wax from candle jars isn’t as tough as it sounds. All you need is a pot of boiling water. Empty the boiled water into the jar — the old wax will float to the top.
What do you do with this treasure if you don’t intend to make a new candle from scrap? How about stopping your energy from leaking out your windows? This sticky stuff makes an excellent substitute for caulk, reducing your carbon footprint and saving money on your electric bill.
Remember that trick about starting seedlings with bits of dirty old sponges? You needed one other magical ingredient — an egg carton. You can also fill the cups with a bit of potting soil to get your peppers and tomatoes sprouted for the spring.
Egg cartons also make handy holders for all sorts of doodads. Use them to organize your button collection. Do your children love making crafts with acrylic paint? You have the perfect spot for primary colors with plenty of mixing spots leftover.
You can’t bleach colored tablecloths. However, you can find oodles of uses for that fabric once the stains make it too unsightly for your table.
The simplest thing to do is cut your cloth into rags. However, such a sizable piece has plenty of other possibilities. Fold it in half and stitch the seams to make a pet bed big enough for the fluffiest pup. Cut it to shape and make an apron — the stains won’t matter when you wear it to stop splatter.
There’s only one Earth, and it’s everyone’s job to take care of it – human health depends on it, too! Recycling is part of the solution, but it’s even better when you can give new life to old items at home. Even germy products can serve a use that enhances, not harms, human health.
About the Author
Mia is a health and wellness writer and the Editor In Chief at Body + Mind. She specifically enjoys writing about women’s fitness, as well as mental health-related topics. When she’s not writing, Mia can usually be found reading poetry, taking a dance or cardio class, or hiking.