The workshop is a great place for reusing items formally destined for the landfill. Even if you do not have a shop or craft area you can always donate the items mentioned in the following paragraphs to friends, schools, shops, youth centers … The concept of reusing is as limitless as your imagination.
Screws, bolts, picture hooks, plant hangers, curtain hooks, and hinges are common hardware items used in most homes. Although not overly costly when purchased a few pieces at a time, they can add up over the years. Salvage any reusable hardware and parts from old cabinets, furniture or mechanical items before discarding. These can easily be organized and stored in plastic containers of different sizes. Shop with this in mind and purchase items like peanut butter or mayonnaise in clear plastic containers.
These are our favorite as they are recyclable, sturdy and you can easily determine the jar's contents at a glance. When buying screws and bolts avoid the small plastic packages and try to find a store that sells these items out of bulk bins. You save money and packaging too.
Strong plastic jugs from juice, milk, or detergents make excellent storage containers for tools, rags or parts in the workshop. At a section near the top of the jug remove all but a flap of plastic to attach it to a wall or post. Any rough spots can be filed off or covered with tape. Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage and use in the same way outside in the garden and for storing clothespins.
Any clothing or towels too ragged to donate to a thrift store still have value. Cut the material into squares of different sizes to use as cleanup rags. Many garages, cabinet shops and backyard mechanisms will gratefully accept excess rags. Sewing groups would gladly accept the buttons and zippers gleaned from the clothing. Children's programs and daycare centers also use buttons for crafts.
Small household appliances that are no longer working can be salvaged for parts. If you are not familiar with this type of operation do not attempt it – you can always donate them to handymen types that you may know, or appliance repair classes in your community. Handles from pots and pans can come in handy for fashioning custom tools, or they can be used to make a storage box easy to carry. Old utensils can be bent and made into various picks and scrapers.
The workshop can become a veritable stew pot of reuse ideas. As it is not a place commonly viewed by guests or neighbors it will not matter so much if the look is compromised by the reused items. Of course, the most important thing is the fact that you are reducing your landfill contribution by taking the matter into your own hands and making a difference!