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Piney Girl
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Backyardcreek, I am with you, it is kind of stupid to pay a lot of money on items you just use and throw out, not to mention not good for the earth.

I try to reuse anything that is reusable and repurpose what ever I can.

I use the small plastic grocery bags in my garbage can instead of buying plastic bags so I can fill them with garbage and then throw them out.

You can wash foil, the heavy duty stuff is easier to reuse and wash. When it is not useable you can sell it as aluminum or recycle it.
I still use paper products but have cut down on how much I use.

I am trying to be more aware of disposables and waste/excess. Don't we all have things we'd rather put the money towards, lol.
 
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I shred old bills and such that has our names and address on them, and compost them. Free dirt. I have a worm farm.
I forego using aluminum foil, and instead try to use Pyrex casserole dishes. When I do have to use some, it usually is something icky and I'm saving dishwater by lining a pan - in which case I just trash it.
I save jars and bottles for reuse when canning things.
I hate paper towels, and prefer white shop rags. Hubster uses them like crazy though, and I encourage him to give them to the worms if they aren't too grubby.
We save cardboard boxes - someone always wants one, some, them all.... LOL! (We built a rack, suspended from the garage rafters, and they hang out up there, outta the way.)

We have convenient recycling, so mostly beer bottles and shiny cardboard fills that thing.
 

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I don't use alum foil but a few times a year, so it just goes in the trash after using if it will be difficult to clean. Anything biodegradable, phone books, newspaper, magazines, mail (plastic window from envelopes removed), table scraps, wood (except pressure treated), paper based packaging, TP and Kleenex (gets collected for a week in a closed can and it never stinks), all go into the compost pile.

I've got two big bins for alum and steel which gets sold to a recycler. Another bin is for recyclable plastic and glass that I take to the dump transfer station every few weeks.

I keep one trash bin for stuff that is neither compostable or recyclable. I take it to the dump station once every two weeks and it is usually less than 10 lbs.

Big cardboard is saved for the garden, I keep it under a tool shed until needed. Pressure treated wood scraps are driven into the ground anywhere along my garden fence lines where there is evidence of wild critter digging.
 

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We use feed sacks in the garden, I wash out ziplock bags and reuse. If the bags get a hole, I use packing tape to seal it, and continue using until the zipper part breaks. I use jars and bottles from store bought food for homemade foods and storage. I dehydrate and store any produce that gets wilty. I don't use aluminum foil very often, but when I do I try to wash and save it. I also use shop rags for paper towels most of the time - I usually only use paper towels to drain bacon. I'm a drill sergeant about turning off lights and unplugging unused appliances. And I make everyone wear their underwear two days, turning them inside out for the second day.

(just kidding about that last one) :gaptooth:
 

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We use feed sacks in the garden, I wash out ziplock bags and reuse. If the bags get a hole, I use packing tape to seal it, and continue using until the zipper part breaks. I use jars and bottles from store bought food for homemade foods and storage. I dehydrate and store any produce that gets wilty. I don't use aluminum foil very often, but when I do I try to wash and save it. I also use shop rags for paper towels most of the time - I usually only use paper towels to drain bacon. I'm a drill sergeant about turning off lights and unplugging unused appliances. And I make everyone wear their underwear two days, turning them inside out for the second day.

(just kidding about that last one) :gaptooth:
I was with you all the way...until the underwear thing! :) :) I also use foil rarely, but when I do it goes into a bin we use to save aluminum and then sold to the recycler.

I also use pyrex and corning dishes with glass or plastic lids for leftover food storage.

I have a roll or two of paper towels in the house but will grab a dishtowel, or a rag before I use them. I cut up used t-shirts (really ratty holey ones) into paper towel sized pieces and keep some stored in a basket in the cupboard.....when there is something really nasty that needs to be cleaned or wiped out I can use them and pitch them when I have to, otherwise they get washed and reused.

The cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls get saved and donated to the kids school's art room.

Glass jars with metal screw on lids get saved for canning water, and the ones that won't re-seal get reused to store dry items.

Plastic containers get reused for storage, or recycled. I try to buy in bulk when I can, and the plastic containers come in handy for repackaging.

Metal cans get washed and go into a bin and sold to the metal recycler.

Food scraps go to the chickens.

I guess my mindset is to avoid using some things and then you don't have to recycle it at all (or spend money to purchase it), because it was never used in the first place. I'm thinking paper plates, plastic solo cups, plastic silverware, plastic wrap, paper towels, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. DH just got back from biz cook out. His car was loaded down with food, foil, containers, etc left from the party. I could not believe how much was left over & imagined how much was thrown away.
Today I have 10 bags of hot dog/hamburger buns that will become breadcrumbs. Three large bags plain potato chips that are being used for topping on freezer casseroles. Gobs of foil that has to be washed (DH uses it for grilling). And jars, jars, jars.
Btw I am not a fan of aluminum foil, I too use mason jars/Pyrex dishes for storing my food :)
 

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I've found a great paper towel replacement. There is a woman, a surgical anesthesiologist, that boards her horse at the same stable my DW uses. For each surgery, they open a 12 pack of thin blue cotton towels for cleaning and soaking up blood. Any package that is in the OR has to be disposed of after surgery, even if only one towel was used, because they are no longer considered sterile. Well nothing I do is sterile, so no worries for me.

So at the boarding barn, at my home, in my workshop, in my truck, in my kitchen, I have dozens and dozens of these towels. If they get oily dirty, they get thrown in a burn pile or sent to the dump. Otherwise I wash and dry them. They shrink a little, but no worries.

And we also wash and reuse zip lock bags. If they have had meat in them or are otherwise really hard to clean, they get tossed, but otherwise we keep reusing until the zip no longer works.
 

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Use very little aluminum foil, use pyrex or dark pans that get sprayed heavily. I bought a oil pump instead of buying spray Pam stuff.
I save take out containers, sour cream containers and such instead of buying plastic containers, then I don't feel bad when I can't find the matching lid
I get paper bags when I grocery shop and use for many things like wrapping packages, gift wrap, draining grease ( with one layer of paper towel on top, then use as fire starters).
Coffee grounds go in garden or in bottom of garbage can
I reuse canning jars lids to dry can
We have reusable coffee filter
No paper plates, even if we have a BBQ party, I buy the 4 packs of plastic plates, cups and bowls at the end of the season and stock up. Have a big tub with water and soap by the trash can, recycle bin and scrap bucket and instruct everyone on what to do.
Save all mail in the fall/winter to use a s fire starter, also save dryer lint stuff inside to rolls and use as fire starter.
I use old candle wax, tarts to melt in paper egg cartons along with lint to make fire starters. Of course I have chickens so I have friends save their egg cartons for me
I save citrus peels to make orange cleaner, have friends save for you and give them some orange cleaner for their time.
I save my egg shells and bake and grind and feed bake to the animals
I always ask myself, not what something is but what I can use it for or make with it
W use our feed bags for trash also cut hem open and use as brooder liners with free sawdust on top.
 

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I know people think my organized garbage is eccentric but what do I care? I see value in stuff.

There is a large pit here which I intend to use as a hugle garden in the future. I toss some torn paper paper[don't have a shredder] kitchen and garden waste all in there. Eventually I will top it off with soil.

Any paper that might attract varmints , such as butter or bacon wrappers , I collect for my tiny fires. In the place where I am extending my garden , after a rain I light these up, right on the ground. Oh and I do keep a paper bag in bathroom for TP. These bags I also burn on the ground. But I am a polite person and never ever tell visitors not to toss TP in toilet.

Newspaper flyers can be used to wipe grease out of pans, or clean windows and some messes , then added to fires.

I am saving plastic food containers such as mayonaise jars for using in the freezer, nice for tomatoes. Since we are new here we will be at this awhile. Worn out clothes and stuff cut up for disposible rags, burned after use.

Since we don't have livestock right now any food that needs to be thrown gets buried, or burned.

I don't burn plastic so that gets put in the garbage. Any glass or cans we don't want goes in recycle bin.
 

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I also do most of what's already been posted. I also use common items like bleach bottles for water storage or for repairs. For example, I often pick up coolers with broken hinges free at the recycling transfer station or garage sales. These are an easy fix with a piece of bleach bottle plastic. Simply unscrew the hinges, cut a piece of plastic to match the dimensions of the hinges, then place between the hinges and cooler and screw into place. This works really well and lasts for a very long time.

I also pick up coolers without lids at recycling or along the highway - these are used to water livestock. The insulated sides keep the water a little cooler in the summer and keep it from freezing as fast in the winter. I also stick them below the barn eaves to catch rainwater.

I save the napkins I get with occasional take out meals (along with all the other goodies that come along with them), and use these on top of newspaper to drain bacon grease. I also use them like paper towels, which I buy, but try to use very sparingly. I use napkins or paper towels rather than TP for nose blowing - sturdier. which comes in handy when you are working outside in the cold.

I also use the arms of old T-shirts for hankerchiefs. The bodies of old, worn out T-shirts and nightshirts I rip into long continuous strips that I hope to crochet into rag rugs this winter. Any left over pieces that aren't turned into hankies, are used as rags and can be tossed in the fire after they are no longer worth washing and reusing.

I cut nearly worn out towels into squares, zigzag around the edges a couple times and use these as TC (toilet cloth) to replace TP. While I only use them for #1, it saves me while a lot of $$ on TP, and they are softer on the bum, with no pilling. They are placed in a separate wastebasket next to the toilet until wash day, and I have never noticed an odor from them (I have a keen nose for odors). Then I run them through a small load short wash with a bit of bleach before washing them with the rest of the whites. Very little effort involved and I'm not wasting my money on something that is flushed or burned.

If I were not able to get more TP, I'd use TC and soak the ones used for #2 before washing with some bleach and homemade soap. It really doesn't take much to get them clean again. If I was not able to use the washer, I could (and have done, so I know it works) simply place them in a couple gallons of hot water (heated on woodstove, if necessary), add soap and bleach, and agitate with a toilet plunger until clean. Intermittent plunging and soaking works well, and you can do it while also doing other household tasks.

I save the feedsacks that are made of tarp material - they are used for everything from covering small items to keep dry, to gathering fire starting materials and scrap wood. They can be used to make sandbags, and I have in mind an eventual project of making a root cellar/storm shelter out of them. I have a friend who makes shopping totes out of the tarp material dog food bags.

Paper feed sacks are nearly impossible to find anymore, but I used them in the garden for mulch and weed suppression for years. I still save cardboard, from cereal boxes to large sheets of cardboard in the garden.

I know it's not pc, but I do burn any plastics that cannot be recycled into something else. Mixed in with other fire starting materials in my woodstove, they are excellent for getting a stubborn fire to go, and can't be any worse than using wax or pouring oil on the wood. Speaking of wax, I recycle wax into new candles and use the nasty bits left over to pour over saved dryer lint or sawdust in egg cartons to make firestarters.

Cans can be recycled into vases for decorating graves on Memorial Day, made into cookie and biscuit cutters, feed scoops, and pots for seedlings, or used to hold waste fat from cooking.

I reuse canning lids if they aren't visibly bent and still have a "new" finish on the underside. I seldom have a failure. Any lids not fit for canning are used for dry good storage or covering mason jars of coffee or leftovers in the fridge.

Rather than buying SOS pads, I use 000 steel wool from the hardware section - pulling off a small piece as needed for the job at hand. I use my own soap or dish washing detergent instead of the SOS pad soap. Saves quite a bit of the cost, as a package of the steel wool is only a couple bucks and lasts for years, while 12 SOS pads will cost more than that, and not last nearly so long. Oh, and if the piece of steel wool I'm using isn't worn out, I store it in the freezer - keeps it from rusting so I can use it again.

I save every bucket I can find and use them until they are literally breaking apart. Even then, they can be cut horizontally into rings to put around shrubs and trees to hold the water close to the plant rather than letting it run off and be wasted, and the bottom section can be used as a feed pan. I've done this with buckets that are so stuck together that I just can't get them apart, too.

Check out the Tightwad Tip thread and archives in Countryside Families forum near the top of the HT page for lots more ways to save and reuse.

I think it's easier to list the things I DON'T try to find another use for, lol. It hurts my frugal bone to throw something out without assessing it for further use.
 

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free leonard peltier
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Some of mine have been posted already.

My favorite kitchen one is.. when I take a stick of softened butter from the paper, I fold the paper up and save it, stick it in a cup in the freezer. Then I pull one out and unfold to grease pyrex or other dishes when needed.

I almost never use a biscuit cutter for biscuits or yeast rolls. I use a pizza wheel and make 'em square. Saves picking up the scraps and overworking that dough a second time. No pieces leftover. Who cares what shape it is, right? They are easier to place on a rectangle sheet too for even spacing.

I usually bake a pound of bacon at a time in the oven on a big sheet lined with foil. (I'm single). Eat what I want and baggie the rest in the fridge to heat up as needed. The grease is easy to pour out a corner into jar or something. Saves cleaning all the spatter on the stove, and of course, saves energy of me cooking several different times.

I really fail in composting as much as I could. :ashamed:
 

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I hate to use something once and throw it out. So, I rarely use paper toweling. I have two drawers in the kitchen with nicely serger edged rags that we use for cleaning, food prep and hand wiping. They get washed over and over until they're shreds. They are made out of old towels and flannel.

One day my DD was over and asked me why I was hanging and drying paper toweling. I replied that I rarely use a piece once. She said that her DSS thought she was silly to wash out zip-lock bags and guess where she learned THAT from!

My wshcloths are made out of thinning towels by serging or zig-zagging the edges.

We rarely use paper napkins either. Again, we use cloth ones.

When my sweat shirt arms get thin, I cut them off and make them short sleeved one for around the house.
 

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We are about to do the big and final move from VA to FL. We asked around, and from probably 5 different sources we were able to get all the boxes and packaging we'll need. Some of the boxes have obviously been reused a few times because of all the tape and markings on them. A few of the boxes were in such bad shape that we just cut them apart to use for padding.

If we can't give them away at the new place, they will get used in the garden as weed block.
 

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Dallas
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Aluminum foil -- never buy at a grocery store, you can get the big rolls (500 yds) from a restaurant supply house for under $14 . Even Sams and Costco only charge about $15-18 for the restaurant sized rolls.
 

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I also do a lot of the things listed.
Something I do for draining bacon ( or any fried food) is, I have a wire basket with attached legs. I stand it on a plate to drain the food. No wasting of paper towels/napkins and I can use the grease to oil a baking pan etc.
Thanks for sharing. :)
God bless,
jd
 

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I think this is one of the most excellent threads I have ever read on the whole internet. I have learnt so many great tips here, thank you all so much. I love the challenge of using things that other people would throw away, not only does it save me money but it also stops stuff ending up in landfill which is always a good thing in my eyes.
 
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