On May 21, I wrote about some of the things that I do to reduce, recycle, and reuse items. I have ten more things to add to the list.
Rubber Bands - I save rubber bands and reuse them where needed. Asparagus and broccoli often have really thick bands while green onions have really thin bands. I use these to keep cracker sleeves closed. I use them to keep plastic wrap on containers - seriously, why can't they make a plastic wrap that actually works? The thick bands can also be used as a "gripper" to use when struggling to open tough jars.
Plastic Bags - My husband's newspaper (WSJ) is delivered in a plastic bag. They are the perfect size to take along when taking the dog for a walk. You know, to pick up any dog poop.
Paper Bags - Small paper bags can be used to tote lunches that don't need to stay cool. They can also be used to make ghetto-puppets for cheap thrills with a toddler. As I discovered recently, large paper bags (the kind with handles) are handy for dropping off meals for new mothers.
Sponges - I know that sponges get a bad rap for holding colonies of bacteria and other nasties, but I like to keep a sponge at the kitchen sink for doing dishes. I also keep a sponge at the kitchen sink for scrubbing said sink each night. Hm, you know, I keep a sponge in each bathroom too so that I can scrub the sinks and showers every week or so. I guess that I'm really a big fan of sponges. I keep them from getting gross by periodically tossing them in the washing machine with soap and a little bleach. My sponges are falling apart before I toss them in the trash.
Berries - If you have berries that are reaching their squishy end, pop them in ice cube trays. Add water and freeze. I know this is kind of lame, but I think that the berries look cute in the ice cubes. You can also do this with seedless grapes.
Lemons - I always have a ton of lemons. A quick glance out my laundry room door reveals that there are probably twenty on the ground at this very moment. I generally juice the lemons as soon as I get them. I just use an old-fashioned manual juicer. I freeze the fresh lemon juice in ice cube trays. Once frozen, I store in Ziplock bags. Sometimes I slice the lemons very thin, sprinkle them with sugar, and freeze them. I like to add these sugared lemon slices to glasses of lemonade. I drink warm water with lemon juice & honey whenever my throat feels a little sore.
Cucumbers - They are delicious when mixed with nonfat plain yogurt and garlic. If they are getting a little funky, I peel & slice them and place in water. It's a refreshing change of pace from a lemon slice in water.
Wine - Yes, sometimes I do have leftover wine hanging around and, when I do, I like to use it to make pan sauces. Actually, I'm fond of deglazing pans with wine or stock. You can also freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays, but they don't freeze completely solid and they start melting pretty fast.
Punch or Juice - Don't laugh, but these can be used to make ice pops. We used to do this when I was a kid. Pour leftover punch, juice, Kool-Aid, whatever in ice cube trays. Cover try with plastic wrap. Stick toothpicks through plastic wrap in each cube space. When frozen, remove plastic wrap and enjoy your sweet treat.
Pantyhose - I don't wear hose, but I used to 1,000,000 years ago. If you think that I don't have a use for old hose, you're wrong. What do I do with old hose? Make a soothing oatmeal bath with it, of course! Instead of spending a lot of cash on those packets of oatmeal for the bath, pour a little oatmeal in the leg of (clean) hose. Tie your homemade oatmeal sachet to the faucet and draw a bath. Aaaahhh, knock-off Aveeno.
I'm sure that I'll come up with additional things to add, but that will become Reduce, Recycle, Reuse - Part III!