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Re-using plastics in the garden and around the home

Posted in Garden Advice on March 30, 2020

Re-using plastics is the best way to reduce the need for recycling.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Cut those large plastic drink bottles in half and use the top halves as cloches (tops off) for the seedlings you are growing in your vegetable patch. Drill or cut holes in the bottom halves and use them as pots for new seeds or seedlings.
  • Make ‘self-watering’ pots. Another option for your plastic bottle halves is to add water to the bottom half and turn the top halves upside down, add potting compost to it and then fit it into the bottom halve so that the water feeds moisture into the compost.
  • Plastic bags are less common now, but you may still have some to dispose of….or re-use? If they are clean take them with you next time you go to the supermarket and use them again.
  • Tear up cardboard and paper into small pieces and add them as layers to your compost heap. The paper and card will hold onto moisture and slowly breakdown to make a good friable compost.
  • Egg boxes make great seed trays. Start seedlings by adding soil or seeding compost to each egg section, then plant the seeds of your choice. Once they have sprouted, you can plant the whole egg carton or split the egg sections and plant them separately. The carton will be biodegrade when it is in the ground.
  • Aluminum foil can be cleaned and re-used…..don’t just crush it up and put it in the bin.
  • Jam jars are always easily re-used. Clean them and remove labels, you can sterilise the glass by putting them in the micro-wave for a minute (without the metal lid!). These can be filled with your homemade jams or pickles. Larger jars make great airtight containers for your dry goods larder.
  • Other uses would be to get the kids to paint them and use them as trinket holders or money jars with a slot in the lid.
  • Or you can use the jam jars as pencil/pen holders, or use them for storing nails, screws, bits and pieces in you garage DIY store.
  • Glass wine bottles can be used in many ways. It might be a bit 70’s, but think about using two or three as candle holders. A more creative option may be to build a wine bottle wall or fountain…….Google it!
  • Keep bubble wrap, because you are bound to need it to wrap something fragile in the future.
  • Old carpet, rugs and blankets of natural materials make good weed mat in your garden.
  • Don’t throw away a tooth brush, they are very useful for cleaning hard to reach places like around your taps.
  • If you have to put items in the recycling bin, always rinse out the items and containers. Not only will this avoid contaminating the whole bin with food or other residues, this will prevent your recycling bin from smelling and help prevent attracting rodents, flies or other pests.
  • Before you put anything in your recycling bin think ‘is there something I could use this for?’. Be creative.


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