Recycle, Upcycle and Reuse!

June 25, 2019

Most people do some form of recycling – like separating aluminum cans, glass, paper and plastic into a bin for special pickup at the curb. We’re joining the movement to curb waste and plastic pollution with some creative ways to recycle everything from used lightbulbs, plastic bottles and bags, gift cards, paper bags and more!

Recycled Practicality 

We watched this 10-minute YouTube video straight through – marveling at the creativity of 5-Minute Magic producers to recycle lightbulbs and turn them into mini terrariums, snow globes, Christmas ornaments and “pears” made with twine and a little hot glue. Producers then segued to the varied possibilities you can create with a used gift card and X-Acto® knife – everything from guitar picks and earbud holders, to collar stays and tools to open a locked door!

And wait till you see what they can do with plastic bottles (sponge drainers!), paper bags (slim wallets!) and envelopes (an accordion receipt holder!). Check out 25 more practical recycling hacks from 5-Minute Crafts.

For 40 creative ways to recycle and repurpose an old suitcase, visit Home Edit, the site that features DIY projects for interior design. From nightstands and footstools to benches and cat beds, these old suitcase projects require a few more items for the finished product – like fabric and polyfill – but are ingenious ways to use vintage baggage!

And, don’t miss the many ways you can recycle a piano and old row boats!

Old toothbrushes are good for more than just scrubbing grout, baseboards and finger rings (with a little toothpaste to make them oh-so-shiny!). Those bristles make great paint brushes for kids, and when you cut off the bristles and boil the handles for a few minutes, you can bend them into crazy bracelets!

For 20 ways to reuse and recycle empty plastic bottles, visit the Budget Dumpster.

Crafty Recycled Projects

Martha Stewart, crafty gal that she is, came up with this 3D craft for kids and adults: embellishing greeting cards with orphan buttons – those buttons that come with off-the-rack clothes that you save and never use. With templates to print, these cards feature vintage images with places for those sew-on buttons (or glue-on, 

For a thorough list on what can be recycled and composted, check out Reuse This Bag where you’ll also find out what cannot be thrown in your recycle bin (like plastic grocery bags that clog up the machinery). You’ll also see ideas about upcycling and downcycling (breaking down items into components and parts).

For more ideas on upcycling, look at these pages on Pinterest — transform paper towel rolls (into cat toys and starter pots for seedlings), old jeans (chic for so many things), to ordinary fabric scraps (to make wine) and old magazines (into garlands and 3D art).

And if you’re curious about what the recycle companies do with your recyclables once they pick them up, check out Waste Management. You can follow the life of an aluminum can from your bin, back to the food, beverage and license plate manufacturers who reuse what you’ve used!

The Environment of Southshore

Lots of residents in the master-planned community of Southshore are working to reduce waste and recycle/reuse consumer goods. It’s a great environment for families with access to Life at the Lake, and a location convenient to dining, shopping and all kinds of recreation. Come and explore the beautiful model homes from Century Communities, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers — available in ranch and two-story designs, and priced between the $400s and the $700s.