So, we’re starting this rockin’ new daily feature where we’ll list five ways to reuse everyday products that you’d normally chuck into the trash.
We’re only going to list five tips per product, but chances are, there are a million ways to reuse these products, so we encourage you to list additional suggestions in the comments – what works, what hasn’t – for the benefit of all our readers.
And, because I want to start out the feature with a bang, I decided to go with tattered linens. Okay, so it’s not the most exciting reusable item in the world, but it’s a serious issue in landfills. According to the EPA, over 11.8 million tons of textiles were produced in ’06, which amounts to approximately 5 percent of all solid waste on landfills per year. And don’t deny it: we all have old, worn sheets and blankets.
Instead of throwing them away, use your old linens in one of the following ways.
- If you live in New York City, call Wearable Collections, which will deliver a textile recycling bin for your apartment building. Encourage your neighbors to toss their worn textiles in, and the bin will be emptied weekly. Or, donate them directly to a local homeless shelter – many are in need of CLEAN, gently used towels, sheets, and blankets.
- Call your local animal shelter or animal rescue to see if they are accepting donations. Many are volunteer-run, and in desperate need of old towels, sheets and blankets for animals to curl up on until they are adopted. Find one near you here.
- Cut them up and use them as dust cloths, napkins, hand towels, or rags for the bathroom or garage. Simply wash them in the sink when they get dirty – you’ll save tons of paper towels.
- Around the house: cut sheets into strips and use as curtain tie-backs; fasten your vines and herbs to stakes; emergency headbands/hair ties.
- Get crafty: cut sheets into squares and make your own gift bags or wrap presents; cut them into strips and crochet a bathmat (these instructions are courtesy of This Vintage Chica, but tons of blogs have similar patterns).
The editor of Ethical Living, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.