Sometimes, no matter how many times you say no to taking a plastic bag, you find you’ve mysteriously collected a million of them. And then there’s the packaging you can’t say no to, like drinks bottles and coffee pods. Unfortunately not all household waste is recyclable, so to ease the nagging guilt here’s an even better suggestion: how about reusing your items in a clever crafty way?
Fairy lights from coffee pods
This craft comes with two happy outcomes: you’ll get some lovely glowing lights to decorate the house with, and to achieve it, you’ll have to drink lots and lots of lovely coffee (this sort come with nice regular shapes).
You can now get fairy lights very cheaply, from pound shops even, but these money saving versions don’t usually come with a pretty shade. It’s simply remedied: just count how many lights you have on the string, and collect the right number of used coffee pods. Peel off all the foil, clean carefully, and either cut a pretty scalloped edge or leave plain for a more minimal look. Carefully use a scalpel to cut a small cross in the base of the pod, push the light bulb through, and hey presto! Pretty.
A beer bottle chandelier
It’s surprising how many beer bottles you have in the morning after an evening in with friends. If fairy lights aren’t your thing, how about a more substantial beer bottle chandelier? It’s not difficult to make a very chic and expensive looking lamp, and you need no special skills beyond being handy with a drill and screwdriver. If you’re not fond of beer, it will work with any glass bottles you prefer.
A garden from plastic bottles
Do you have green fingers but no space to grow things? Yearn for organic fruit in your city flat? Vertical hydroponic gardening might be the answer. It’s an amazing way to reuse pop bottles, by making them into plant pots which can be hung in vertical rows in a window, watered by a drip feeding system. These pots can be planted with almost any kind of plant, and take up very little space, making them suitable for anyone with a window and a little patience.
Shopping bag from a plastic bag
OK, that sounds a bit ridiculous. But we’re talking about an exceedingly attractive shopping bag here, sturdy, practical and dare we say it, covetable? The technique is simple – cut the bottom seam off the plastic bag and discard. Cut off and discard the handles too. You’ll now have a double-sided rectangle of plastic. Cut this in a spiral, to make a continuous piece of plastic tape of about 1cm wide. This will be your “plarn” – plastic yarn, get it? Now just crochet the plarn into a bag of your choice – pick a crochet pattern that’s suitable for a more chunky yarn. Cut different colours of plastic bags to make stripes and patterns.
Pencil holders from jam jars
This one is super easy and also means that you can make jars to match your décor, if you like being matchy matchy, that is. If you’re doing a spot of DIY, use any extra paint up by picking a pretty jam jar, tipping a bit of the paint inside, putting the lid on, swirling the paint to cover the inside, pouring out the excess, wiping the rim, and leaving to dry. Voila! Matching jam jars for storage, pencils, or whatever you need some pretty matching jam jars for. If you don’t happen to be currently painting your room, don’t worry, just go and get a small paint sampler to do the job instead.
These are just a few ideas to get your imagination going, but we bet you’re going to be seeing your household rubbish in a whole new light from this day forward!