REDUCE • REUSE • RECYCLE! Part 2: Reuse!


by Leslie Rundell, St. Andrew Green Team


This is the St. Andrew Green Team’s mantra! As the second in our 3 part series, we focus on sharing strategies to reuse items more than once. 


Part 2…REUSE!

"I saw it in the window and I just couldn't resist it."

                         –Carol Burnett’s Scarlett O'Hara



Get creative! Look around your house and you will find so many items to reuse, repurpose, refurbish, and rejuvenate! With global waste projected to hit 3.4 billion tons in 2050, it has never been more important for us to avoid sending items to landfill.


There are many simple things to reuse. Styrofoam can provide drainage for house plants. Wine corks can become hot plates, cork boards, pin cushions or potted plant fillers. Egg cartons are useful packing materials and paint palettes. Coffee grounds are a great soil amendment and exfoliant. Chilled teabags can even soothe insect bites and minor burns.


Go secondhand shopping, whether at thrift stores, garage sales, or online. Clothing, books, electronics, furniture all can all find new homes. There are treasures and deals to be found all around us.


Of course, there are useful every day practices:


•      Reuse glass or plastic containers for food storage and other items.

•      Reuse plastic bags over and over again– just give them a quick rinse and air dry.

•      Carry reusable shopping bags and water bottles; say no to plastic water bottles!

•      Re-use wrapping paper or gift bags; use magazine pages for wrapping.

•      Pack lunch in a lunchbox.

•      Use cloth napkins.

•      Convert old clothing, towels or sheets into cleaning rags/cloths; or use the garment materials to create new chic fashions.

•      Go to Sonoma Refill Madness for products to refill your empty personal care and household containers.

•      Donate items that are still in usable condition to charities or charity shops.

•      Reuse building materials– barnwood, redwood fence or deck materials.

•      Collect rain water to water plants.

•      Make outdoor stools out of chlorine buckets and bar stool cushions.


More consumption means more waste. Let’s all stay more aware and ask, “what can I do with this?” And then reuse!  It will bring you challenge, joy, and comfort that we are creating a healthier environment.