Reusing is one of the easiest parts about going green for me.
I reuse paper that’s only been printed on one side – so much of that comes home from school or is used at work! I keep it all to write on the back side of. I often use this to write letters to my penpal, and she doesn’t seem to mind! I also use it to write stories, notes, anything!
I save receipts to write grocery lists on the back. Some grocery stores print ads on the back, which is such a waste of ink and space! But a few stores here don’t, so I try to make it a point to shop there whenever possible. Our library also prints a “receipt” of due dates, so I use that for lists also since I track my account online. Bonus: Books I get on hold from other library branches come with a slip of paper marking the book as for me. I ask the librarians if I can keep this paper to write on the back of, too, because otherwise they just recycle it. Of course mine gets recycled, too, but it gets used one more time before that happens!
I save brown packing paper to wrap PaperbackSwap books in, or even to wrap packages I’m sending to friends. My son loves to paint or stamp all over it and use it for wrapping paper for birthdays and holidays. Most sheets are so big, they can even be spread out on the table and drawn on just for fun.
If packages come in “soft” plastic bags (not bubble mailers – I reuse those as bubble mailers, ha!), I use those bags as trash bags in my small kitchen and bathroom cans. I’m trying to stop using bags at all, and apparently that is acceptable with our trash system, but it seems weird to me. I use canvas bags for the grocery store so I don’t have that plastic to get rid of, but when it’s delivered to my door, I might as well use it for something. For too many years I was throwing away plastic packaging bags in plastic trash bags. Yuck!
I reuse bread bags for lunches a few times, and then I’ll use them as trash bags in the kitchen or bathroom, just like the plastic bags I mentioned above.
I save coffee grounds to sprinkle around the edge of the patio. I’ve read that it keeps critters away. I’m not sure if it really does, but I create a lot of coffee grounds, so I’m glad to have some sort of use for them.
On that note, any time I have leftover coffee in the pot, I pour it into a glass bottle (reused from a Starbucks drink ages ago!) and keep it in the fridge to make a cold coffee drink from later. I have 4 bottles this size, and one larger that once held cold brew concentrate.
I save yogurt containers to use for paint or water cups. Or, with Easter tomorrow, we can use them to dye our eggs!
What things do you find yourself keeping and reusing?