It’s no secret that recycling is a healthy practice, but it can be complex depending on the materials you’re recycling. Especially when you take into account that a lot of what you recycle doesn’t actually get recycled. According to National Geographic, 91% of recycled plastic just sits in landfills, and the 9% that is recycled becomes more flimsy and less useful each time.
One of the most effective ways you can recycle something, though, is by taking the bin out of the equation and finding a purpose for the object you’re going to toss. GOBankingRates asked experts just how you can repurpose recyclable materials to save money and keep them from polluting the planet.
Instead of buying an expensive new vase, make one from any glass bottle and your own creativeness. Emily Clare, publisher at Fine Art Tutorials, says to, “Wash out used glass bottles and remove the labels, making sure the glass is free from dust and any oils on the surface. Then get creative by painting the bottles with acrylic enamel paint…Choose paint colors that fit with the decor of your home, or create a design to contrast with the decor in your space.”
Because glass bottles come in many different shapes and sizes like vases, this craft has a lot of room for customization while saving you from the cost of a new vase. Clare suggests using old gin or whiskey bottles because they come in very interesting shapes.
The base of a glass bottle can be used for a simple yet decorative rustic candle holder. Clare says, “You can also repurpose glass bottles into unique candle holders. Just cut the bottom off of the glass with a glass cutter. Then add a tea light candle and enjoy the soft glow of your homemade candle holder.”
Depending on where you shop, glass candle holders can go for a high price. Making your own might be your best bet, especially if the only other holders that fit your candle are too costly.
Clare also says to get creative by using bottles with different colors of glass, or just paint the glass with a transparent acrylic enamel paint of your choice.
Tire Garden Planter
Tires are known to be difficult to dispose of, but with the right eye they can be repurposed for your yard. “You can upcycle them and turn them into planters for your garden,” says Clare. “Just clean them out, line them, add drainage holes and add some soil. Then plant your favorite flowers or herbs.”
Using a tire is a good idea because its a durable yet malleable material that withstands harsh weather conditions. It can also save you from the cost of buying a planter which could easily range up to over a hundred dollars.
If you’d like, you could even paint them a color of your choice. Clare suggests using a durable spray paint that can withstand harsh weather.
Outdoor Pillow Filler
Have you become more of an online shopper due to the pandemic? You’ve probably noticed that packages come with lots of thin plastics used for padding. Veronica Thompson, COO of Everyday Power, says that you can use the packing as stuffing for outdoor furniture pillows.
“You can do this by cutting the plastic packaging into small pieces and stuffing them in a pillowcase for outdoor use,” says Thompson. “This will save you some money in decorating an outdoor space as you’d only need to invest in a pillowcase now.”
If you have recyclables that you haven’t decided on throwing away yet and are having trouble finding a purpose for, why not try making something meaningful out of it?
According to Sophie Bonet, artist and art curator at ArtServe, making art is one of the best things you can do with recyclable materials. Not only is self expression good for mental health, but it can repurpose those items that are especially difficult to recycle or repurpose.
Although this option may not seem like a unique suggestion, the art that you make out of recyclables can be.
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