Many products that are considered to be disposable can be reused in surprising ways that will reduce waste and save you money.
Before putting things in garbage or recycling bins, take the time to consider how they could be used again. If you’re willing to get creative, you’ll find that numerous things can enjoy a second life.
What follows are examples of everyday items you can reuse rather than throw away.
1. Eyeglasses frames
If you like the frames you’re wearing and they’re in good shape, you don’t have to buy new ones when your prescription changes.
Unless you’re trying to keep up with latest trends in eyewear, just refit your old frames with new lenses. This can save hundreds of dollars compared with buying a new pair of glasses.
For more ways to save on eyewear, check out “4 Steps to Finding Stylish and Cheap Eyeglasses.”
2. Household cleanser bottles
Small containers are handy to use, of course. And they’re easier to store beneath bathroom and kitchen sinks. But cleansers and liquid soap can be cheaper when purchased in large containers.
The solution: Get the big, inexpensive sizes and use them to refill your smaller bottles. If you refill used bottles with homemade cleansers, you’ll save even more money.
3. Plastic containers
Most people simply toss away used food containers. However, items such as butter and cottage cheese containers come in various sizes and can be ideal for keeping leftover meals fresh in the refrigerator.
Don’t use them in a microwave, though, Harvard Medical School cautions. Potentially dangerous substances in plastic — like bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates — can leak into food when some plastic containers are heated.
Here’s more use for these convenient tubs and containers: Use smaller ones in drawers as organizers.
4. Gift bags
Some things are just too nice to throw away. Fancy gift bags can be carefully folded and saved for reuse. Then, you’ll be prepared for the next special occasion that catches you off guard.
Tip: Remember to remove the old gift tags so no one will know the bag was repurposed.
Wrapping paper, if carefully handled, also can be used a second time, too.
Cotton T-shirts can have a whole new life after they’ve become too worn out to wear in public.
When you’re done with your old T-shirts, wear them when you’re doing chores around the house. That way you won’t soil your good clothes. T-shirts also make great rags for dusting and cleaning.
Can’t find other ways to reuse your old clothing? Some retailers will pay you to recycle it, as we detail in “10 Retailers That Will Pay You to Recycle Your Old Stuff.”