Tuesday Tip: Replacing Recycling with “Upcycling”

Tuesday Tip: Replacing Recycling with “Upcycling”

By Yehudit Garmaise

Instead of throwing things in a recycling bin, use a little creativity and save money by re-using items that might otherwise just get thrown out.

1. When glass jars are empty, thoroughly wash them out and use them to organize beans, lentils, and rice so you can always find just what you need in your cupboard while your shelves look great.

2.    Improve upon what you have without buying anything new. Tables, chairs, bookcases, and other furniture can be repaired, sanded, re-stained, or re-upholstered to look new.

If many children have used a crib or dresser, consider undertaking or hiring someone to do some fixing and tightening. Then paint the old furniture so it will look like new. For under $10, buy new knobs for dressers. 

3. Give away gently used furniture and clothing that is not torn or stained. Children's bookcases, cribs, changing tables, and clothing are much better placed in the hands of people who need them rather than harming the environment in a landfill. Use pick-up services and shul and apartment WhatsApp groups to post items for pick-up.

4. Remove items from the closet that are no longer worn because they need to be altered or tailored, and take a trip to the seamstress to rejuvenate what you have to wear.

5. Peek into your jewelry box. Do you like a pendant but think the stone would look better on a ring? Many jewelers can refashion jewelry, thereby making something new at a fraction of the cost of actual new jewelry.

6. Save printer paper that still has a blank side. Make a neat stack of the used paper, cut it in half, and use the paper for grocery lists, to-do lists, or notes.

7. Save shoeboxes from new shoes. Shoeboxes are great containers in which to wrap gifts, keep special toys and/or nosh for kids for Shabbos and Yom Tov, or organize personal items. As a fun art project, children can decorate the outside of their refashioned personal shoebox containers.

8. Save magazines in a box, and share a stack of them with people you might visit in the hospital or friends who do not get them.

9. Rip out articles and columns that give you ideas you like. Start a file or a folder of "Ideas to Pursue" or "Ideas to Share at the Shabbos/Yom Tov Table".

10. Last but not least: Consider using and buying fewer single-use items. For example, choose real plates, cups, and silverware instead of paper and plastic to substantially cut down on waste that heads to landfill. 

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