It’s obvious that wastage is bad for the planet – we’ve heard the catchy phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” since we were kids. It’s constantly talked about in the context of going green, but we often don’t think about how hard it hits our wallets too! The more we waste the more we buy, and often there are incredible ways to repurpose our trash that we don’t think about before we throw it away.
Less than 40% of trash is actually recycled, of which we produce 95 million tonnes per year in South Africa alone. That means that over 57 million tonnes are being sent to our country’s 826 landfills and staying there.
The zero-waste community conducts what they call “trash audits” to reduce their wastage. At the end of the week, take a look through your trash and see where you might be able to cut down.
These 5 reuse hacks will help you do just that and prevent you from spending money on things that you already have the materials for!
Dish Soap Bottles
Don’t throw away that empty Sunlight bottle – turns out that it has a multitude of uses. Make sure to thoroughly clean it out before using it to store pancake batter! The nozzle makes the shape and amount super easy to control so that you can get the perfect pancake every time. Alternatively, you can keep water in it to use for gardening.
This one seems fairly obvious, but make sure to eat those leftovers. Throwing away extra food is just throwing money down the drain, and things are perfectly good the next day or even the day after if you store them properly! Some things are even better after a day. Don’t let leftovers freak you out – they’re a huge money saver.
This is a weird one and we wouldn’t blame you if you’re hesitant to try, but it really works wonders! Banana peels are great teeth whitening agents and an amazing natural alternative to ultra-expensive chemical products or a professional dental procedure. The potassium and magnesium in them is absorbed into your enamel to give your pearly whites some extra shine. Just cut strips to fit your teeth and leave/rub it on for 2-5 minutes. Repeat daily and you should see a difference within a week! You can also use them to clean and shine your shoes.
This is one pretty much all of us have heard of, but it never gets old. This super versatile and very common piece of trash can be used as freezing trays for leftover food like meatballs or anything else that’s the appropriate size. They also work for storage of any sort. You can even have a little fun and decorate them to spruce them up! Another extra eco-friendly way to reuse them is to plant seedlings in them. Fill each cup with soil and plant your seeds as you would normally. Once they begin to sprout, transfer them to your garden or plant pot and watch them grow.
Almost everybody loves a nice, warm cup of coffee to kick start their morning, and sometimes even rely on it as a pick me up throughout the day. If you use coffee beans, this results in a lot of grinds to be thrown away. Instead of chucking them, put them in a jar and store them in the fridge as a great deodorizer. Alternatively, make a DIY skin scrub! Combine your ground coffee with some coconut oil and gently rub it onto your body for some exfoliation. Some people use it on their faces, but we don’t recommend that as it might be a little too harsh for your delicate facial skin. Yet another way that coffee grounds work their magic is on tough to clean dishes. Sprinkle some on stubborn pots, pans and utensils and scrub away.
How easy are those? Make sure to give them a try and see how much of a difference they make to your bin and your wallet!
Let us know in the comments below which reuse hacks you’ll be trying?