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We used to donate our glass bottles to the local college, which had glass blowing classes, for example.

I'm looking for unusual places/ways to recycle things, something that I might not have thought of?

My new "best" thing is that now DH has a huge plastic jerry can he puts used oil in. We've always just left the bottles w/ the oil to be recycled at the dump. When I took the jerry can, DH asked me to see if we couldn't get it back, and we could! No more having to have plastic bottles sitting around empty AND I don't have to worry about the impact the bottles have. (I had been known to bring bottles HOME from the dump for oil....)

I'm interested in hints, techniques, things you do that I might not know to do to extend something's life, recycle it, or whatever.

Judi
 

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I make my own laundry detergent and it's great since I have a 10 month old baby. It's good for the environment and there are no harsh chemicals. I can provide the recipe if you are interested.
I also make my own bread, baby wipes and grow organic vegetables. DH brews his own beer. No need to buy or recycle beer bottles since he built himself a kegarator. I am looking into making your own shampoo since all those chemicals are so bad for you.
We also have 2 compost piles and line dry clothes in the summer.
 

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We use a dehumidifier in our basement, when it is full, it goes into buckets and we use this to water our garden.
 
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I have learned how to knit with old plastic shopping bags. You can make a lot of things that way, from coasters to welcome mats to NEW shopping bags! :)

I also recently turned a little soy sauce bottle (the kind with the little plastic cap and spout on it) into a vase by simply wrapping a square of cute patterned cloth around it (sunflowers), then tying a ribbon around the neck to hold the cloth in place. Cut the border of cloth into a zig zag pattern to resemble sunflower petals. I was using it to display cake testers, but you could use the same idea for any narrow necked bottle (catsup, vinegar, etc) and use as a vase, pencil holder, or such. When I removed it for a more formal/professional holder, the store owner told me she really liked the old one!!
 

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Yesterday I realised that the bottles of wine that arrive in our company (headquarters of a hospitality industry), arrive in sturdy wooden boxes with wooden lids. Sometimes they are thrown away, but there were 2 behind Reception for anyone who wanted to take them. My mind suddenly spun with ideas! I took them home and will this week decide on what to do with them.

At this moment I'm thinking about:
- leave them as they are, throw away the lids and just use them as boxes to keep things in (the simplest solution - I just hope it won't come to this, because I would like to do some real crafting again)
- leave them as they are and keep my bathroom stockpile in them
- varnish them with clear varnish to make them moist resistant for keeping the bathroom stockpile in
- paint them white or light blue, for keeping the bathroom stockpile in (can you guess where my stockpile is outgrowing its current container??)
- paint them white and stencil symbols on them (his, hers, first letters of name, etc.) for keeping bathroom stockpile in
- paint them in a nice colour, add hinges and a small doorknob (or a sturdy bead on a thick thread) to make a medicine cupboard
- paint them in a nice colour, add hinges and a small doorknob and attach them together to make a tiny double cupboard. But maybe this will wait until dd is big enough to play with Barbies....
- the list is much longer, but you get the picture (Ooooh: I need a box to keep pictures in! Maybe I can attach an old frame to the lid and insert a picture, attach the lid with hinges to the box, ....)

I just love these tantalizers!
 

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I bought a Rubbermaid plastic bottle to put water in so when I'm traveling (I drive a lot for work ) I don't have to keep buying bottles of water. I use empty baby wipe containers to hold coupons sorted by expiration dates,I buy mason jars at yard sales or second hand stores so I do not have to pay the big bucks for new ones,I also check the glass bin at my recycle center some one threw away 2 expensive hand made pottery flower pots I just could not leave them there bought them home and put plants in them,
 
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Well, I do all of the conventional things- reducing what I buy (we all have reusuable water bottles, don't use paper plates or napkins, etc.) we also recycle all that we can and make all of our own cleaning supplies. The latest thing we've found is a use for #6 plastic, which we can't recycle at our plant (they only take #1 and #2 plastics). Using permenant markers and some creativity #6 plastic (like the kind that berries come in or deli salads) can be used to make homemade shrinky dinks. My kids love it and dd has even been making jewelry with some of her creations by poking a hole in the design before baking.
 

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we recycle building materials ...we have decking recycled from a pool deck that was torn down. Metal roofing a contractor friend removed from a building he put a new rood on has gone on our chicken run & a storage shed. The two sheds are both built from pine trees we had to have cut on our property, we had them milled into usable lumber.

we recycle old t-shirts into rags instead of buying paper towels.
 

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Not sure if this counts but my bread scraps goes to my boss's chickens.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I remembered one I did when I was away. I took the plasticware I was given with my breakfast (we were eating at at a college cafeteria) back to my room and washed it and reused it the next day. If I go to that workshop again next year and stay in the dorms, I'll take REAL stainless so I don't use plastic at all.

I was really proud of myself for thinking of it, although my room mate probably thought it was a bit odd!

Judi
 

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I thought of another- I put the ends of bread (which no one wants to eat) in the food processor and store them in the freezer instead of buying bread crumbs for recipes- less packaging, less energy used, less money spent.
 
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The water that falls from the swampers gets used in the garden, i have a vermicompost container going, my food scraps are split between the worms, compost, chickens, bunny, and quail. Their waste product goes into the compost. old clothes become quilts (I posted once about a quilt made for FIL using MIL's clothes)

aluminum goes to the redemption center...i get cash for this.
 
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As a sort of recycling - all of our old sheets/towels/blankets get donated to our veternarians office. I'm sure animal shelters would take them, too.
 

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I was feeling very guilty about all the little cardboard boxes left over from buying cat food pouches (we have five fur friends). I had just been putting them out for recycle but have started taking them and covering them with contact paper and using them for things. Pens and Pencils. Scrap paper etc. They are not very strong so I only use them for light things but they neaten up my desk which is a mess by any standards. I would give the fly lady a heart attack. Diane
 
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TP CARDBAORD TUBES--used for kids crafts on DLTK.com
To wrap up cords
Leftover bread tags(long skinny ones) and the one of the top of the cookis-used to wrap almost anyhthing, especailly the green ones for wrapping up greenery at xmas time.
**in the fall cilmbing vine to make your own wreaths and let dry.
*leftover dryer sheets to fill in certain pillows and chair pads for inlaws.
**
 

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I've donated numerous flower vases (particularly those generic tall thin ones or the short bud vases--I keep the fancy ones) back to a local flower shop. They are always willing to recycle them and I get rid of vases that are taking up space underneath my sink!
 
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we recycle aluminum cans;
dh recycles other metals, copper, etc;
rarely use pre-packaged foods;

I cut the legs off of old blue jeans and make denim shopping bags out of them; dh takes the zippers out of them for recycling & I then sew up the zipper site and the bottom to make another shopping bag. Handles are make out of the shorter pieces of denim.

Make my own laundry detergent;

when the printers at work spit out a blank page at the end of a program, stick it back in the paper tray. Cut off the unused portions of papers being thrown away and save for jotting down notes.

Save the coffee grounds at work and take them home to dump on fire ant hills. Doesn't kill them, but they don't like it for some reason and leave. If you start closest to you house and work your way away, they will gradually leave your property. I normally have to do this a couple of times a year to pretty much keep them at bay.

We do most of what everyone else has mentioned and a lot more if I could just remember all of it.
 
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