Twelve Eco Green Ways to Reuse Everyday Items Twelve Eco Green Ways to Reuse Everyday Items

The eco green movement is not just about being mindful of what you buy – it is also about re-using what you have. Several of the items you might usually throw away could be recycled for other uses. 

Glass Food Jars

Glass food jars can be reused as storage containers for other food, or containers for other small items. Wash out and dry all jars and their lids thoroughly before reusing, and soak off the labels in hot water. Use to store dry food items like nuts, dried beans, raisins, or spices, or use for other household items, such as office supplies, nails or screws for the tool shed, or the like. Smaller glass jars can also be used as candleholders for votive candles or tea lights.

Plastic Food Jars

You can re-use plastic food jars as well. Wash and dry lids thoroughly, as you would for glass jars. Use for everyday storage – or, turn a plastic jar into a shaker jar for scouring powder by poking holes in the lid with a nail.

Coffee Tins

Old coffee tins can also be used for storage.  Wash these thoroughly as well, and use as canisters for flour, sugar, or other pantry items. If you like, paint them to cover over the coffee label, or paste on paper or fabric.

Shoe Boxes

Old shoe boxes also make ideal storage containers. Paint a cardboard shoe box and its lid, or cover it with paper or fabric, to make decorative storage containers in your bedroom or closet. Depending on their width, shoe boxes can be reused to store CDs or DVDs in your media center as well.

Bed Sheets and Tablecloths

Speaking of fabric, if you have old bed sheets or tablecloths, these can be reused for other sewing projects. Depending on the size of your sheet or tablecloth, you may have enough fabric to make new curtains, cloth napkins, aprons, cushions, or even clothing. Pillowcases can also be reused – a standard pillowcase often has enough fabric to make a small child’s skirt.

Tuna Can  

Another eco green addition to your sewing room – turn a used tuna can into a pincushion.  Wash out the empty tuna can thoroughly, then wrap a piece of fabric around a couple handfuls of cotton batting or cotton balls and hand-sew shut. Stuff the fabric and cotton into the tuna can, and glue into place along the edges of the can.

Scraps of Fabric

Scraps of fabric can also be reused. Using them as cleaning rags is one obvious option, but you can also turn scraps of fabric into re-usable fabric softener sheets for your dryer.  Simply place a few dabs of liquid fabric softener on a small, clean square of fabric, and toss it into your dryer along with your clothes, the same way you would with a dryer sheet. Save the square and reuse it as often as you like – just wash it every now and then to remove any built-up softener.


Use clothespins to hold closed bags of chips or pretzels and keep the contents fresh.

Coffee Grounds

You can even reuse old coffee grounds. Let the coffee grounds cool first, and then sprinkle into the soil around your houseplants for an eco green fertilizer.

Egg Cartons and Yogurt Tubs

Another gardening tip – start seedlings in old egg cartons or small yogurt tubs. Simply fill each container with soil, and follow the directions on the seed packets to sow your seedlings.

Empty yogurt tubs or other plastic food tubs can also be re-used for refrigerator or freezer food storage. Wash and dry the lids thoroughly, then use as freezer storage for soups.  Smaller-sized plastic tubs are perfect for a single serving of soup.

Scrap Paper

Instead of using Styrofoam packing filler to cushion packages, shred scrap paper -- or even junk mail -- and use that instead.

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