Reduce Your Waste with Six Ideas for Green Decorations & Crafts

By Ebony Porter, September 19, 2016, Family, Green

Don’t Throw That Away!

The less we throw into the landfills, the more our earth thanks us. If your mission at home is to live as green a life as possible, you should be growing your own food, recycling, eating local organic foods, and buying items that have environmental responsibility attached to them. It also means you should actively reduce the amount of waste your family creates.

Reduce Your Waste with Six Ideas for Green Decorations & Crafts | Bounce Energy Blog

We applaud your recycling efforts, but there are some items you really don’t have to throw away!

Now, we aren’t advocating that you turn your green family into a hoarding family. We believe in keeping a clean house, and we definitely advocate for big seasonal cleaning projects to spruce up the home. We also aren’t asking you to slow your recycling – it’s just that reusing is often GREENER than recycling.

So, as you begin to prepare your home for fall, winter, and big seasonal events, we want show you what you can keep OUT of the garbage can, complete with tips on the waste you can upcycle into green decorations and crafts.

1) Toilet Paper Rolls

Reduce Your Waste with Six Ideas for Green Decorations & Crafts | Bounce Energy Blog

Empty Toilet Paper Rolls – literally a “trash-to-treasure” story.

Have you seen what kids can do with toilet paper rolls? They make kaleidoscopes, jewelry, submarines for their dolls, or tape them together to build amazing castles! Check in with your child’s school to see if any classrooms are collecting toilet paper rolls for projects, and if you don’t have children, ask your friends who do.

2) Wine Bottles

Reduce Your Waste with Six Ideas for Green Decorations & Crafts | Bounce Energy Blog

It’s OK – we won’t tell anyone else how many empty wine bottles are in your recycling bin right now.

Attention vino imbibers! We recommend pulling those empty wine bottles from the recycling bins (they better NOT have been in the trash can!), soaking them in hot soapy water to remove the label, and using them for water decanters. They make an attractive alternative to your boring and normal pitcher, as they’re great for parties, as they eliminate the need to purchase lots of small water bottles.

3) Fireplace Ash

Don’t toss your wood ash into the trash! The stuff is High in potassium, so use it in your garden to aid the soil. Just don’t toss it on anything.  Since wood ash will raise the pH of your soil, only place it around the base of plants like rhododendrons, azaleas, parsley, potatoes and fruit trees.

4) Egg Cartons

Reduce Your Waste with Six Ideas for Green Decorations & Crafts | Bounce Energy Blog

Even if your family doesn’t eat eggs, you could probably score a few of these from your favorite grocery store.

Since your kids always need fun projects at home, have them fill used egg cartons with potting soil and plant seeds in them. Place them in a bright windowsill, and keep the soil moist until you see little seedlings appear. It’s best to use cardboard, so that when the seeds have sprouted, you can plant them into the soil in whole. The cardboard will breakdown, and dissolve into the Earth over time.

5) Vegetable and Fruit Scraps

Reduce Your Waste with Six Ideas for Green Decorations & Crafts | Bounce Energy Blog

Not looking to go full-bore into a home compost pile? Just use a small bin for your veggie scraps, and use the compost for your potted plants.

One of the easiest ways to keep your waste levels low is by converting your vegetable and fruit scraps into what gardeners call black gold, courtesy of composting! Create a compost area in a secure part of your yard (or purchase a small compost bin, if you live in an apartment or just want to try composting). Layer your food scraps with other carbon waste, like pine needles, grass clippings, or dead leaves, and keep your compost pile moist. Be sure and turn it every few weeks, and over time, your food waste will turn into rich materials your garden will adore.

6) Jars for Pasta Sauce, Salsa, and Jam

Soak these glass jars in hot soapy water to remove their labels, and turn them into either vases or candle holders. As a fun project for both kids and adults alike, take colorful tissue paper, rip them into little pieces, and using a clear decoupage material like Modge Podge, lacquer the surface of the jar while adding those little bits of paper all over. You are basically making a collage on the jar. What results is a beautiful stained glass type effect, and when a candle is placed inside after drying, it illuminates the colors of the paper beautifully.

Do you have any suggestions for items you can re-purpose as green decorations or crafts – instead of just tossing it in the trash? Share with us in the comments!

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About 

Born in Australia, Ebony has been in Texas long enough to consider herself a Texan-Aussie. Ebony has been writing for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, for more than 10 years. When she's not writing she's building quilts, growing her own food, or camping with her family somewhere far from the sounds of the city.

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