Repurposing to Reuse is written by Guest Author, Keith Hamilton
We’ve started recycling all paper, plastic, cans and glass, but what about other things that may be broken or out of style? Most garbage stays in a landfill for about 30 years. Also, there is no current study, but in 1975 the National Academy of Scientists estimated 14 billion pounds of trash are dumped into the ocean every year. We should be recycling, repurposing or reusing as much as we possibly can.
In 1995, over 200 of the world’s landfills were full. Can you imagine what it will be like when our children and grandchildren are grown? Each person throws away approximately four pounds of garbage every day. Where is it all going to go? Plastics and aluminum can take up to 500 years to break down, according to DoSomething.org. Organic materials, cotton, rags and paper take 6 months to completely break down. Why wouldn’t we try to reuse the things that are reusable?
When it comes to getting rid of large items, clothing or books, thrift stores are helpful resources. But what if we kept those things that we didn’t want, only to repurpose them? We’ve all browsed Pinterest and have seen wonderful craft ideas for things that we would normally throw away, but what if we actually turned those things into other usable items that we would otherwise have to purchase? You can search websites for unlimited repurpose ideas, or even start an eco-craft blog of your own. All you’d need is a wordpress site and a DSL.com connection. There are so many ways to keep from throwing away old things and buying new. At least 75 percent of waste can be recycled or repurposed, according to GreenWaste.com. Experiment with your old stuff before throwing it away.
One great idea that I love the most is using an old door or window and turning them into something else that is shabby chic and completely adorable, found on designbykelli.com. You could lay a piece of custom cut glass over an old door and attach legs to make it into a cool coffee table. You could also have a mirror put into a cut-out on the door and create a full length mirror that is not only useful, but very cool, too. You could create a headboard or a bench with almost no effort at all. An old rustic window can be turned into a mirror, picture frames, or something artistic. Anyone can turn a door or an old window into any beautiful piece of art or décor.
Photo of a repurposed door to hold a guitar by Juhana Leinonen via Flickr
If you ever come across a yard sale or your grandma’s attic and find an old vintage suitcase, grab it! You can do some really interesting and unusual things with old suitcases. If the outside is sturdy, you can attack legs and create a foot stool if it’s rounded or a side table if it’s flat. Another cool thing to make with an old suitcase is a medicine cabinet. You would have to cut into your wall in order to fit the case in, and then add small shelves once the cabinet is up. Attach a pretty mirror to the outside and you’ll have a unique addition to your bathroom. If the shape is difficult to work with and you aren’t able to create furniture with your old suitcase, clean out the inside and attach an accordion file folder to store your personal papers and other keepsakes.
Photo of an upcycled suitcase by Stacie Stacie Stacie via Flickr
Old books can be turned into small individual bookshelves by adding a bracket to the back cover and attaching it to the wall. These cute “book shelves” are a great place to put knick knacks or small picture frames. You can put up a few, or make a wall full of these individualized shelves.
Photo of a bookshelf by 2Tales via Flickr
If you have old vintage tennis rackets, take the strings out and replace the head with a mirror or glass for a picture frame then hang it on your wall, which can be found by typing in Tennis Racket Mirror on CountryLiving.com.
A vintage bicycle, suggests pixadus, can be made into a small table by attaching a piece of wood to the handle bars and the level seat. Place it on your front porch or garden and make planters out of the basket, the seat, the fenders and the handle bars. Then add your own favorite flowers to create a sweet and fun conversation piece.
Photo of a vintage bike in a garden by gamppart via Flickr
About Keith Hamilton
Keith is a blogger who enjoys writing about home improvement and DIY projects.