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10 Incredible Ways To Reuse Everyday Waste

10 Incredible Ways To Reuse Everyday Waste

It’s embarrassing how much we discard in a day. So much, that I’ve had it up to here with throwing out so much – just because we’re a nation of consumers and discarders.

Looking to save the environment and live a healthier life, I looked online to educate myself about reusing everyday household items.

Interestingly I find that, industries and manufacturing units have also opted the green way – refurbishing & reutilizing almost 90% of the original material. That is going to save cost and our non-renewable sources. Isn’t that good?

Here are a few life “hacks” you can start using today at home.

1. Dish Soap Bottles

You’ve probably heard of this one before, but it’s so benefitting to saving the environment (and your fridge) that it bares repeating:

Using old dish soap bottles (thoroughly cleaned out) to sore ounces of pancake batter. Yum yum! Or, if you’re not in the pancake-breakfast mood, you can refill the bottle with plain old-fashioned, nutritious water for all your gardening needs.

2. Share Leftovers

If you’re like me, the idea of leftovers is repulsive – there’s nothing notoriously wrong with leftovers, of course. Except the name, leftovers; makes me think of a lion who can’t devour an entire gazelle and it sits there for days on end, collecting flies, mosquitos, and thousands of diseases and bacteria.

It makes sense to give leftovers to neighbours – especially if your neighbours are your family. My aunts live next to me and across the street and I made a habit of sharing my leftovers with them. Because we live so close to each other, I just pick up the Tupperware/containers the next day. No food wasted.

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3. T-Shirts

A lot of my shirts and t-shirts have holes in them. Although I still love them, a part of growing as a human includes getting rid of old things that have passed their expiration date.

A few cool, useful ways to reuse old t-shirts include..

  • Sewing them into a pillow
  • Quilting a thin blanket
  • Using them for layering in an animal’s crate
  • Or, if you plan on moving, wrapping them up around fragile objects.

4. Banana Peels

Yes, banana peels. One way to make the use of old banana peels is using them to shine your shoes. Honestly, these do a wonder of cleaning your shoes.

My old lady and I have also had a wonderful time whitening our teeth in a day or two, using banana peels. Simply cut apart a few slices to however wide your teeth are then apply the banana strip for a few minutes. You will notice a difference in less than 5 days.

Other uses for banana peels include removing warts, splinters, and gardening. There are a ton of uses for banana peels you won’t believe.

5. Egg Cartons

I love eggs. When the old lady and I go grocery shopping every 2 weeks, I make an executive decision to pick up 3 cartons of 12 large eggs (total $7.50). Each of those 36 eggs is gone by the next time for groceries. At least 4 eggs every other day for breakfast, an egg salad sandwich for lunch and 3 eggs before bed (which the protein keeps me sated and full during sleep – preventing my stomach from eating itself alive)…

Yeah, eggs are my life.

One example of ways to reuse egg cartons is using them as a freezing tray. Think about it: it’s spaghetti night and you made one too many meatballs. The noodle-to-meat ratio will be askew if you pile them all in there.

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Solution? Store those meatballs in your thoroughly-cleaned egg cartons!

You can even use them to store loose change, golf balls, etc. Go crazy.

6. Old Socks

Are you terrible with socks? I’m terrible with socks. One half goes missing, I spend two minutes (if that) looking for it, then give up, go out and buy a package of 6 more socks.

The process repeats itself. It’s insane!

Not only does it make me feel like an idiot (at the time), but it wastes money. That’s without considering the fact that, during laundry time, at least half of those lost halves pop up.

Yes, half of them pop up. What happens to the other half? I don’t know. Maybe sock ninjas take them in the middle of the night. It’s happened before.

And, you guessed it, I throw the newly-found half away. Why shouldn’t I? There’s no need for them with these new socks.

Luckily, I’ve found out new uses for old socks that include:

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  • Using them as dog/cat toys (or catnip for the cat – be sure to sew catnip socks shut)
  • Wearing them over dirty shoes when you’re inside the home
  • Use them as containers for paper clips, screws, bolts, hair ties, etc.

7. Shoe Boxes

My old lady loves shoes. There’s no reason to blame her – people want what they want. We’re both guilty of having too many shoeboxes pile up in the storage room, though, she wears those new shoes every time, she had to go hospital for a check-up, just so that she can look down on her feet and forget the miseries she is going through. There I saw a microscope having a tag “refurbished – saving planet!” Wasn’t that interesting?

My crime is the Well I’ll use it for later syndrome. My logic is storing handwritten notes and manuscripts and what not in the shoeboxes. It seems smart, right?

One way to put those boxes to use is by using them as storage bins for the closet. How convenient! All it takes is wrapping paper and scotch tape to hold the paper together. How much money will you save by doing this, instead of buying $15-25 storage bins?

True, those store-bought bins let you store more… but (if you’re like us) you might end up chugging a whole bunch of unrelated/found “junk” in them and make another mess. Shoeboxes gives you chances to store your similar items in manageable boxes – each for exactly what you need.

8. Milk Jugs

Along with eggs, I love milk. It is a personal struggle to make one jug more than a week; I have to force myself not to drink the entire jug that day. This like, shoeboxes and egg cartons, creates a huge quantity of tossed away gallon jugs.

One way to deal with empty jugs is to poke small, tack-sized holes in the bottoms of the jugs and bury them in your garden or planting pots. Wham! Instant watering jugs, providing a slow and steady irrigation for your lovelies. This is a GREAT way of going green and saving the environment.

Have the same problem with 2-liter bottles? (We do – we can’t get enough of 2-liter Ginger Ale. At $1.59 per bottle, you can see why.) A simple way for reusing those cleaned-out bottles, that helps the environment, is to transform bottles into bird feeders.

9. Coffee Grinds

I’m starting to feel self-conscious. This is why: I love coffee! Eggs, milk, coffee? Yes, I’m the trifecta. But, doctors have reported that coffee is actually healthy for you.

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If you’re like me, enough is never enough – I personally can plow through four mugs before noon.

So, what to do with all those used coffee grounds? Rather than throw them out (where they’ll be sent to the landfill), place them in a jar and set it in your fridge. This little hack is phenomenal for obliterating odors!

Another trick is a bit simpler and gardeners swear by it: use coffee grounds around garden plants to keep plant-killing ants and slugs at bay. I don’t know why this works, but people swear it does.

Bonus tip: my old lady swears that using coffee grounds removes old, dried skin from her face. Every morning she grabs several scoops and slathers it over her face – and you know what? She looks absolutely beautiful whenever I see her. Maybe there’s something to this.

10. Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls

There’s no going around it, everybody goes through toilet paper like no tomorrow. There’s no shame in it – we eat a lot, we drink a lot. Going to the bathroom frequently is a sign of a healthy digestive tract.

Still, rather than sending all those toilet paper rolls to the garbage can, reusing them for DIY projects is pretty cool – and a far more healthy alternative.

Some awesome things you can take a stab at are:

  • Toy race cars
  • USB cord containers (this one I personally tried and absolutely LOVE!)
  • They can even serve as cable cord holders

There’s no shortage of toilet paper craft projects you can try on for size.

Going green isn’t a difficult choice – it’s just a matter of applying it yourself and thinking outside the box. Start making a difference today; for yourself, the future of your planet, and hopefully your children.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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