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You know you are a "reuse everything" person when....

 
pollinator
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Lauren Ritz wrote:Question for the "reuse everything" experts. I have some pans that have been sitting around for years. The "non-stick" aspect has long since passed on. They are shredded, trashed, have been used extensively with metal utensils (which is the reason we now use cast iron exclusively) so probably not good for the thrift store. That's where most of my "still good enough" junk goes.



-Sand them well to remove every trace of the coating, then season them with oil the way you would cast-iron.

-Use them to melt things that aren't food, like pine sap or soap.
 
pollinator
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Larry Pobiak wrote:....one of my mini-blinds bit the dust, so.....;


5. Great garden plant labels.  I use a carpenters pencil to write on them.  The writing will not fade at all!  Even years later they are just as clear as the day I made them.



Hey, I just did this and sold them to my townsfolk this spring. I cut 1 end at an angle to make them easier to insert. I made enough money to buy a 2-person auger for my next fencing project, planting trees and installing posts and piers for an addition to my house.
 
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That is awesome M! I am certainly going to do this to any out of service blinds I get my hands on in the future! It is more work, but people throw SO much trash on the ground here, I get a lot of plant labels from just random plastic yogurt pots, coffee bottles, etc. The white ones do of course seem to work the best. I just keep losing my writing in the sun here! lol

I sometimes get teased because I turn everything into plant pots. Old broken dinosaur toy? A hole saw and some leftover spray paint and it is a plant pot! An old wooden desk someone tossed to the curb because the top was too bowed from use to be salvaged, but hey it had good drawers I was able to carry home on my walk, and those are great plant pots for my accidental succulents! An old metal watering can that the bottom has rusted out of? punch a few holes in a yogurt tub lid and it too can become a plant pot! Though, I am much pickier about what I put my edibles in. Support plants, like flowers, succulents, house plants for cleaning the air are all fair game. You can even build collections that look really good together. Just also keep leeching in mind if it is a material that could contaminate soil. But there are tons of old food containers to use, like metal tins that had olives or tomatoes in them before! This is also a great way to gift plants to kids and get them very interested in gardening.

I took one of my nieces plastic barbie cars she had torn up and was getting rid of and fixed the broken wheel with a not working one, and turned it into a "barbie" garden that is easy to care for and slow growing. She loved it so much she started coming over just to learn and help a bit in the garden here and there. She even has a garden of her own now. =D

Also, I don't know if it was mentioned elsewhere but practically any fabric that is worthy of something more than being used as cleaning rags can be sewn together with other remnants to make pillows/cushions or spare blankets. I never ever seem to run out of uses for spare blankets and towels. No many how many I have. Old towels, or thrifty remnant blankets are great for injured critters, picnics, covering plants that need just a bit of extra frost protection for the night, stuffing around holes to prevent drafts, make-shift forts, you name it. When helping evacuate people in the Australia bush fires of 2019, I used every spare blanket I had. I know it sounds weird if you haven't been through it, but the fires make the air temperature afterwards and in the surrounding areas just plummet afterwards, and scared kids like having blankets, they are comforting. It seems to work on critters too, something warm and soft. So it is in my opinion, something worth dedicating precious storage space to as you can never ever have too many.

One I saw someone do here locally and never would have thought of on my own was using old/broken spoons of all types (plastic, wood, metal) to make a little spoon person garden. It was cute, I saw it in a local park and I think maybe many people have been adding to it. Seems like a good craft project for kids.

I have a near clear globe (just flat enough on the bottom to sit) empty plastic kimchi jar from my roommate, the top is a heavier plastic and screws on with a carrying handle. I have been trying to decide what to do with it. I estimate it could hold about 1L of potting mix were I to cut the top out and turn it into a hanging strawberry pot. Any other ideas for it? It is too small to be good for holding pens, or tools really, which is unfortunate. It is cute for being a plastic food container so I have been trying to think of something cool to do with it other than using it as a plant pot. lol So, I am open to suggestions!

 
M Wilcox
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Aimee Hall wrote:That is awesome M! I am certainly going to do this to any out of service blinds I get my hands on in the future! It is more work, but people throw SO much trash on the ground here, I get a lot of plant labels from just random plastic yogurt pots, coffee bottles, etc. The white ones do of course seem to work the best. I just keep losing my writing in the sun here! lol



The writing instrument to use on plastic row markers is a grease pencil, or what they now call china markers. They're wax based so weatherproof and they never fade. At the end of the season if you want to clean off the writing, you can use hot soapy water or alcohol. The only caveats are don't touch the writing much because it may smear, and keep the pencil out of hot sun.
The guy who started this topic uses a carpenter's pencil and swears it stays readable for years.
 
master steward
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M Wilcox wrote:

The writing instrument to use on plastic row markers is a grease pencil, or what they now call china markers.  The only caveats are don't touch the writing much because it may smear, and keep the pencil out of hot sun.  

Sorry - need to add one - don't accidentally leave it in a puddle for two days or the paper cover will swell and split. (I'll swear the puddle wasn't there when I put it down - gravity maybe???) That said, it still works, but I have to handle it much more carefully than if it hadn't gone through a wet/dry cycle!
 
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When your son spots a hole in his underwear and asks you to mend it. Having mended underwear as a teenager, you know it doesn't work out too well and is uncomfortable. So you tell him that. He then insists upon putting the underwear in the scrap fabric pile, saying, "It's red cloth! And if you need a word, you can just cut one off the top!"

Well, I couldn't say no to that, and now we have underwear in our scrap cloth pile!
 
M Wilcox
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I don't know about your areas but around here food grade buckets are cheap or free from restaurants. They churn out empty buckets like mad.
 
pollinator
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I had some scrap pieces of Rock Maple wood left over from another project.
I decided to make myself a pair of chop sticks.  They turned out nice.
Since the school I teach at has loads of foreign exchange students, several from Asia, I figured I'd get an Asian's take on whether they were any good or not.
I walked over to the nearest Asian student and held out the chop sticks.
She looked at me with a "What the hell are you doing?" expression.
I found out later that in her country giving a woman a nice pair of chop sticks is an old traditional way of proposing.
OOPS!
 
master pollinator
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Phil, that's hilarious and completely awesome! LOL!

But if she had accepted them and smiled broadly with tears in her eyes ... what then?
 
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We've had some "late frost" here in Indiana just after  I had just planted some root stock for Rhubarb and Elderberries.
To save them from the frost I decided to use buckets turned upside down but I only had enough empties to cover the Elderberries.
For my five Rhubarb plantings I decided to use some of my Bird Seed sacks saved up over the winter.

I rolled the open end of each of the five bags down the height of a Paver brick. I stuck one brick under each fold down and folded down one more time.
I simply made sure the bag opening was open and placed that over each plant. The brick held the light weight bags in place perfectly.
 
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Marco Banks wrote:We were on vacation and needed clean clothes so we swung into a laundromat to do a couple of loads of wash.  As we were waiting, I noticed a "perfectly good" drier sheet, just sitting there in the bottom of one of those wire-frame cart things that you use when you pull your clothing out of the drier.  I grabbed it.
Then I saw another one, this time still inside one of the driers.  I grabbed it.
Before we were done, I had gone through the trash can and found a dozen or so more.  
Hey, they work for 2 loads of laundry -- you don't throw them away after just one trip through the drier!


Howdy!
And if you don't use dryer sheets, they are great for chasing away flying insects (shove them in a pocket and mosquitoes will be more inclined to stay away),
                                                             good for chasing insects out of drawers and closets  - it's either the chemicals or the scent (which is still the chemicals ...), but it works
                                                             good to stuff in a shipping box to prevent any "stale" odors
                                                             good for shoving in a box no matter what you're doing with it, really  
                                                             useful as a last minute static cling/pet hair remover
                                                             if left to soak with hard food stains in water will do wonders at helping the stains on non-porous stuff come out, not as good on porous stuff, but it's worth a shot.

Once they are free of Smelly Stuff they are :useful as a lightweight interfacing for any sort of embroidery/cross-stitch, or other handwork
                                                               really good at reinforcing paper for crafts (just layer the sheet with the paper products for sewing, and some gluing applications)
                                                               great at all those little jobs where you just need a bit of something nonwoven to repair something else (re-enforcements for pocket corners, tops of kick pleats, backing for repair patches on fiber things)
                                                               more permanent than tissue paper if you have a tear on a book page and need a small repair job  
                                                               they are great lightweight non-woven stuff for sachet liners, manure teabags, and other non-edible filter-ish things
                                                               you can draw on them and use them for sewing/craft pattern reinforcement, or fasten a bunch of them together for a full sized pattern piece (running stitches, glue, staples - I haven't had luck with tape)

I had only gotten this far in the thread before my thoughts exploded. I'm sure there are lots of other suggestions along similar lines, but these insisted on being let out.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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... when the guy who runs the recycling depot saves water cooler jugs for you, because he knows you will grab a fine-tooth hand saw and turn them into:
- water scoops, storage bins, emergency snow shovels (remove top)
- wasp traps (cut off top and invert)
- garden cloches (cut off bottom)
- microclimate greenhouses (cut off top and bottom to form a sleeve -- peppers and tomatoes love them)
- mud for robins building nests (sink the bottoms you cut off to ground level, add mod/cob/clay and keep moist)
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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When you look at all the debris from your (negative result) Covid rapid test and wonder if the little squeeze tube (where the nasal swab goes) could be reused as a precision oiler or something.
 
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Wiki exaptation

exaptation
ĕg″zăp-tā′shən
noun

1 The utilization of a structure or feature for a function other than that for which it was developed through natural selection.

2 The use of a biological structure or function for a purpose other than that for which it initially evolved.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

I guess this makes us exaptationists or exaptationeers.

The celebrity most referenced would be McGyver, Angus.

Shall we form a League Of Extraordinary Exaptioneers?
 
Phil Swindler
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Phil Swindler wrote:I have a kazoo on my desk right now that I made from scraps of wood.
It is oak & maple.
I have some scraps of mahogany from replacing some trim.  I'm planning on making more kazoos from that.



Over the next few months I made several more kazoos.
I experimented with different sizes, shapes and materials.
I even made one with 2 membrane holes.  You can sure hear the difference with that one.
 
Jay Angler
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Phil Swindler wrote:Over the next few months I made several more kazoos.
I experimented with different sizes, shapes and materials.
I even made one with 2 membrane holes.  You can sure hear the difference with that one.

Pictures???
 
Phil Swindler
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Jay Angler wrote:

Phil Swindler wrote:Over the next few months I made several more kazoos.
I experimented with different sizes, shapes and materials.
I even made one with 2 membrane holes.  You can sure hear the difference with that one.

Pictures???



The one on the left was the first one I made.
The other 2 are a test of when I was asked - "What happens if you have 2 membrane holes?"


kazoos.jpg
3 of my handmade kazoos
3 of my handmade kazoos
 
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I love recycling and I'm one of those people who just hates throwing anything in the trash (my trash bags are recycled animal feed bags of course).  BUT a big thing that I'm not seeing discussed is how to store all this stuff.  Keeping reusable stuff for the future takes up a lot of space!  Some small items can go in boxes (recycled!) but larger items are more difficult to store without them ending up looking like... well, like trash.  

For instance, 25 years of glass bottles. It seems to me that I could come up with some great use for them but I haven't yet!  Until I decide on something or that I never will, I have to store them somewhere.  The old leaky trash cans that I haven't used as planters hold a good number of bottles, but not nearly as many as you'd think.  But darn, those cans full of bottles look trashy!  I flatten my feed bags under a pallet (really saves space!) and then tie them in bunches with hay twine, but then what?  I've had people say they want them for earth construction but they never come for them.

And then, of course, there is the issue of what happens when I'm no longer around.  My treasures for the future are very likely to be somebody else's unwanted trash that will get taken to the dump anyway.  So nowadays I'm concentrating on finding locals who are like-minded and who can use what I've stored.




PXL_20220820_wineBottles231759851-1-.png
Part of my glass bottle stash
Part of my glass bottle stash
 
Lif Strand
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Edward Lye wrote:Wiki exaptation
I guess this makes us exaptationists or exaptationeers.



I fear that there are many who would consider us hoarders.
 
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Lif Strand wrote:

Edward Lye wrote:Wiki exaptation
I guess this makes us exaptationists or exaptationeers.



I fear that there are many who would consider us hoarders.



I gave up caring what others call me long ago. Isn't worth my time to think on it.
I tell people my dad was a packrat, my mom is organized, I have everything, and it's in neatly labeled boxes.

Some things I won't keep. Some you have a fight if you try to throw it away  :D
I think the bottles would be useful, especially to someone who makes wine, or wants to do neat cob or adobe work. I only keep cobalt blue bottles for use like that, those are hard to toss :D
 
Phil Swindler
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Phil, that's hilarious and completely awesome! LOL!

But if she had accepted them and smiled broadly with tears in her eyes ... what then?



Given I'm 61, I don't think my wife would be happy with me have a second wife, especially a teenager.
 
Edward Lye
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Lif Strand wrote:I fear that there are many who would consider us hoarders.



True but exaptationeers carry a nuance beyond hoarders. We give trash a second life after death.

If we start posting pictures to a new thread and persuade Richard Dean Anderson to give us a shout-out on Youtube, that would kickstart our journey to legitimacy.
 
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The best marker I have found for lasting readability on garden markers is 'Waterproof Permanent Paint Marker Pen'. Cheap and effective found on Ebay.
 
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A nice secondhand couch we had finally got a bit too saggy for comfort and my wife replaced it with a secondhand loveseat. I stripped the upholstery and dismantled it instead of letting the whole thing go to the landfill. I got a lot of cotton padding and burlap for compost in the base of garden beds, some nice dry hardwood firewood, and some scrap metal to sell... and a bundle of upholstery fabric and some synthetic padding for the trash can.

I have also composted a couple of old futons, though after the first one I realized that there are layers of synthetic padding in them which if buried directly will entangle shovels forever until you dig it out. The second one I peeled apart and removed the minor layers of synthetic padding before burying the rest.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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^^Kudos to you! I've done that, and it's a lot of work. These things weren't designed to be recycled. Once the fabric was scraped off, I got tired of pulling staples out of hardwood. So I chopped it up with a sawzall and burned the wood in my shop stove.
 
Glenn Herbert
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It's not the first piece of furniture I've dismantled for firewood. I don't bother with the staples and nails, just carefully feed it to my RMH and put the ash where it won't be exposed to foot traffic. I pull out the bigger pieces of metal for scrap.
 
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Its too bad that trash is just dumped in one big pile and buried.  If it could be sorted into similar piles for reuse or repurpose, then whenever you needed bottles for your cordwood or cob walls, then they'd be available to you, and you wouldn't have them sitting in your back yard/shed etc for 40 year waiting for "some day."  Oh and your hoarding (oh excuse me, ahem) abstractioneering wouldn't annoy our spouses/partnesr/neighbors.
 
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As to using chainsaw chains. What about making block and tackle? They are made to go over a toothed wheel and not slip.
 
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Michelle Bradley wrote:Loving this post- and your/our common attention paid to reusing stuff.  My recent idea to reuse the soft plastic ring from a Quaker oatmeal cardboard tube: pull off the two rings from the lid and the top of the canister, pull one ring through the other a-la how I would double the length of a rubber band by looping two together, and continue this looping until a large net is woven together.  What use for the net?  Maybe a soccer goal for my son...? A trellis for climbing vines...?  Meanwhile the remaining cardboard is fire starter, etc.
 My next large bit of plastic waste to find re-use purpose for is the darn heavy bags our dog food comes in. I keep saving them... one a month. Why can’t they come in burlap like coffee bags? Maybe I can cut in strips and weave into a produce basket-?? I did that with brown butcher paper one year- from packaging padding- and the brown flex baskets were well received by my family.👍❤️  Although I confess to using a hot glue gun to adhere /secure the ends.




If they're synthetic, (we don't always get to decide what our feed comes in), collect enough of them, sew together and you can use as a tarp.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Phil Swindler wrote:

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Phil, that's hilarious and completely awesome! LOL!

But if she had accepted them and smiled broadly with tears in her eyes ... what then?



Given I'm 61, I don't think my wife would be happy with me have a second wife, especially a teenager.


Yes, I imagine some very delicate diplomacy would ensue.
 
Carmen Rose
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Andrea Locke wrote:

Aimee Hall wrote:
5. T-shirts/clothes that require retiring often wind up as bags or aprons (sometimes if I score a particularly nice deal on clothes that do not fit but have a nice pattern and are part of a lot at the garage sales, they get turned into bags/aprons as gifts!)



This is what I do with old T-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants:



I was looking to see if anyone else does this before adding my 2 cents' worth. Using a rotary cutter, I slice them into about 1/2 " thick circles. Then connect them by looping through each other and back out. Pull tight and, voila, you have all cotton (if you're careful) yarn for knitting or crotcheting. Especially  nice if you find a large lot all the same, of misprints or left overs at a yard sale or thrift store or wherever. Jersey knit sheets can be used too, for bigger projects, but connecting them isn't so quick and easy.

Another reuse, which you can either use or sell, is taking old denim, cutting out the useful bits of course - zippers, pockets, etc., and then cutting into quilt squares. At craft fairs the unsewn squares sell far better than the made quilts and since the raw materials are usually free it's a good thing.
 
Jay Angler
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My friend had 4 bantam roosters which had to be culled. Another friend loves to go crabbing. So I skinned and gutted the 4 banty boys and bagged them for crab bait. Better than just composting the whole birds, but it is a lot more work!
 
Lif Strand
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Carmen Rose wrote:
I was looking to see if anyone else does this before adding my 2 cents' worth. Using a rotary cutter, I slice them into about 1/2 " thick circles. Then connect them by looping through each other and back out. Pull tight and, voila, you have all cotton (if you're careful) yarn for knitting or crotcheting.



Could you explain what you mean a bit more?  I'm not sure I understand what you mean by 1/2" thick circles.  Or how you're connecting them.  Thank you.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Lif Strand wrote:

Carmen Rose wrote:
I was looking to see if anyone else does this before adding my 2 cents' worth. Using a rotary cutter, I slice them into about 1/2 " thick circles. Then connect them by looping through each other and back out. Pull tight and, voila, you have all cotton (if you're careful) yarn for knitting or crotcheting.



Could you explain what you mean a bit more?  I'm not sure I understand what you mean by 1/2" thick circles.  Or how you're connecting them.  Thank you.


A link that explains it, or at least gives enough data to look it up more
How To Use Loop and Loom Weaving For Different Craft Projects
 
Pearl Sutton
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When you snag things out of the neighbor's trash for reasons unrelated to what it was ever meant to be...

Checking my neighbor's trash (I do that, she's a tosser, all kinds of neat things go into her trash) a worn teflon frying pan in my way as I wanted to look at something else, I dropped it on the ground out of my way... and it hit a rock. LOVELY wind chime tone!  :D
Never expected to deliberately take a teflon pan out of the trash!  I didn't. I took part of a wind chime!!
 
Pearl Sutton
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I'm continuing to corrupt my neighbors...
The house across the street sold, they have been renovating it make it a rental. I'm mining the big construction dumpster out front for all kinds of interesting things, both construction debris and stuff left by the previous tenant that is being tossed. The project of the day here today involves making shelves using the fake wood flooring that was replaced, it's not structural enough to make shelves with... unless you use three layers screwed together :D

So, yesterday the neighbor I mentioned above, who I said is a tosser, called me. "What size is that headboard in that big dumpster?"  "I think it's a queen, got a tape measure right here, want me to measure it?" "Yes please!!" I hauled a queen sized headboard out of the dumpster for her, and we carried it to her garage where she could clean it up. I can't PROVE it, but I'll give you REALLY high odds that's the first time she has ever gotten anything out of the trash. Her seeing what I get out of trash and what I do with the things I take out of her trash is finally sinking in, I think   :D

The people who moved out of the house they are renovating were problems, screaming fights,  cops called a lot, etc. I told her "Did you ever think you'd prefer having a neighbor who digs in your trash rather than people who dress nice and have good jobs?" She laughed, I am a good neighbor, helpful and friendly, just weird.

Me and her vs her trash:   You know you are a permie when...

Me with another neighbor:
What did you do to make your neighbors think you are crazy?

It's fun to watch this!  
:D
 
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Our apt complex has easily accessible recycle bins. I sort them anyway to remove garbage and put the glass in its separate bin and remove lids because the fines from the pickup company gets passed on as raised rent. Also builds good will with the manager. Those 6 pack plastic (sea turtle killing) rings make good very strong plant pot hangers and also cat discourager on soil in plant pots. I carry the 2 standard sizes canning rings & lids to check glass jar openings for sealing compatible ** it’s Very Important for storage safety that the little sealing strip around the edge of the flat canning lid matches the lip of the jar opening** In my own kitchen the matching jar lids are saved to use after opening the used jars (prevents rusting of those canning rings). Those twist tie thingys tie up tall Dahlias (twist together to get length) or I use to tie&store rings in groups of the number of jars my canner holds. Saves an amazing amount of both storage organization time and handling time during those long hot canning days. Every hot minute less helps! Bulk toilet paper&paper towels:  large outer plastic bag, one end carefully cut fits the kitchen garbage can, the smaller individual inner bags fit the bathroom waste can. The little cardboard rolls seed start plant direct, or (cut open&flatten) weed starving little mulch patch between plants (iF the cat doesn’t grab them or the guinea pig chew them into compost). Heavy paper grocery bags, when I forget my reusable bags, are also nontoxic root blocker under the bigger plant pots so they don’t root themselves (or cat toys if he climbs in them). Even my pets are re-users!
 
leigh gates
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Whoops, I forgot. Those yogurt/cottage containers cut in strips make plant labels, or any want-it-to-last-forever label. Those containers have the number in the little triangle on the bottom and many cannot be used by our recycle company plus remove ALL lids, they gum up the machinery. I take along a bucket of water to rinse containers, cuts down on flys&yellow jackets so more tenants use the recycle. That water gets tossed on the stealth compost. Did I mention building goodwill with manager? I spend a lot of time in the recycle bins, lol. This allows me to meet neighbors and infect brains with stealth permaculture ideas
 
Take me to the scene of the crime. And bring that tiny ad:
Building a Mycoinsulated Roof: Practical, Homestead-Scale Mycelium Insulation R&D *webinar recording
https://permies.com/w/myco-roof
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