More … than 146 million tons of solid waste ends up in US landfills every year, according to the most recent data from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Of this amount, 37 million tonnes were “durable goods”, products designed to last up to three years or more.
That’s about a quarter of all items that end up in a landfill. But that doesn’t mean that things you no longer use should contribute to the landfill.
When you recycle furniture, electronics, clothing and other items, i.e. use them for purposes other than those originally intended, you are helping the environment by reducing landfill waste. . But you can also save some cash and end up with some pretty cool stuff that makes you proud of your ingenuity and wows your friends.
Curious to know what you have in your house that you can recycle? Browse our list of things you can recycle for a new purpose.
Old TVs and consoles
That vintage TV stand or old TV/stereo console gathering dust in the basement shouldn’t end up in a landfill. Remove the electronic components and dispose of them at your local electronics recycling center. Then start creating a trendy, high-end dog bed like this one featured on country life for your best binge-watching bud.
You won’t run out of ideas and instructions on how to convert old TVs and consoles into a dog or cat bed online.
Shoes and boots
Looking for a creative way to upcycle old shoes and boots? How about planting geraniums or other flowering annuals in your kids’ oversized snow boots? You can also plant flowers and herbs in old hiking boots.
Former entertainment centers
This oak entertainment center may have been intricately designed and expensive in the 90s. not take up as much space as televisions, VCRs, stereos and DVD players of the past.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to upcycle old entertainment centers for a new purpose. Slip it into the mudroom to use as storage for boots and shoes, dog leashes, coats, and sports gear. If it’s a small entertainment center, take apart what’s needed, paint it, and use it as a cafe or wine bar in the kitchen.
Other ways to reuse an entertainment center include using it as a storage unit in a laundry room or home office, or as a plant potting station or craft/sewing cabinet.
Even if they’re frayed, torn and falling apart, you can breathe new life into old jeans in a variety of ways, according to the sustainability site. Treehugger.
Cut old jeans into strips and make a braided denim rug. Make denim coasters from the back pockets. If you have a knack for sewing, craft a denim tote bag or handbag from a faded pair to extend their life for years to come.
The next time you polish a bottle of wine, save the cork. According HGTV handmade. Stick a magnet on a wine cork like the one seen here, hollow out the cork to accommodate a succulent plant and you have a unique fridge magnet.
If you and your friends drink a lot of wine over time – like 100-150 wine corks – make a cork bathroom mat like this creation from Wet & Forget, featured on Instructables Living.
Depending on their design and material, old napkin rings can have many alternative uses.
They can make great cord organizers for desktop storage or cord holders for a tidy look in living spaces with multiple electronics. You can also reuse napkin rings as curtain tiebacks or candle holders. or turn them into holiday ornaments with paint and glitter, depending on CraftCue.com.
Grandma’s old china
Not sure what to do with the heirloom china taking up space in your cabinet? Luckily, you can always honor that keepsake china by giving it a new purpose.
Put on a pair of safety glasses and protective gloves and break plates, serving platters and teacups into small or large pieces. Then glue the decorative pieces to a side table to create a mosaic table top you can admire every day. You can also use porcelain pieces to create a fancy mosaic birdbath surface.
Glue a colorful serving bowl upside down atop a sawn tree stump for a funky mushroom yard or garden decor.
More creative ways to reuse old china and other plates, according to country life: Decorate a vase with pieces of glued porcelain; use a cream jug or other dishware as a planter; reusing teacups as candle holders; or attach broken pieces to a tray to display your house number.
Mesh product bags
Don’t throw away those mesh bags that contain oranges, onions, lemons and other produce. Place them at the bottom of potted plants to allow better drainage and help prevent soil from falling through the pot’s drainage hole.
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