Creative Ways to Reuse Things You’d Otherwise Throw Out

Today is Earth Day. Although the Earth has been around for billions of years, this year marks only the 43rd Earth Day! I don’t know about your feelings on the topic, but I believe we have a lot of catching up to do in celebrating Earth Day. To start, we can each make every day a little bit more like Earth Day by making eco-friendly and eco-conscious decisions. One approach to celebrating Earth Day every day is to find creative ways to reuse things you would otherwise throw out.

To help you (and myself) be more mindful and take that extra step towards reducing waste and recycling when possible, I’ve scoured the web for creative ways to reuse things you have around the house. Bonus: not only are you doing a favor for the environment by doing these projects, you’re also doing a favor for your wallet. Most of the ideas below would undoubtedly fall into the “frugal” category, as you’ll likely already have these things around the house or apartment anyways.

Plastic Bags to Crocheted Pillows

Crocheted plastic bag pillows

No matter how diligent you are in bringing your own bag to the grocery store, it’s likely that you still find your life filled with plastic bags. If you have a dog, you can use them to pick up after them. While that’s reusing the plastic bags, it’s just … getting them to the dump in a different way. Alternatively, you can recycle them at your local grocery store or you can be very creative and create plastic bag art. If you’re skilled with a crochet needle, you can whip up baskets, pillows, or anything else you can imagine.

Brown Paper Bags to Gift Wrap

Creative Ways to Reuse Things: Brown Paper Bags to Gift Wrap

While you may not have a plastic bag problem, you may end up with a brown paper bag problem if you forget your reusable grocery bag one too many times. Brown paper bags are a blessing in disguise. A very simple way of reusing brown paper bags is to reuse them  to wrap gifts or presents. By adding some simple decorations and bows, you turn boring brown into a creative masterpiece. Wrapping paper is definitely not cheap, so this is one where both your wallet and the environment really come out ahead.

Brown Paper Bags to Woven Baskets

Creative Ways to Reuse Things: Brown Paper Bags to Woven Basket

If you’re looking for a more functional way to use brown paper bags, you can use them to create woven baskets. Whether you use them to hold fruit, to hold your hair supplies, or use them as decorative centerpieces, woven brown bag baskets can add a rustic, chic aesthetic to your decor.

Old Magazines to Envelopes

Creative ways to reuse things: Magazines to envelopes

Magazines are great for creating colorful crafts. You can use magazines to create custom envelopes. While I’m not sure how USPS-friendly these envelopes are, they can be a great touch if you are mailing them inside a bigger package, if you are giving someone a gift, or simply hand-delivering a note.

Fabric Scraps to Fabric-covered Flower Pots

Creative Ways to Reuse Things: Fabric covered flower pots

If you are any sort of crafter or sewer, you will likely have fabric scraps hanging around at the end of your projects. Too small to use for anything big and too big to excuse throwing them away, it’s often a challenge to figure out what to do with them. Fear not! A quick and easy way to reuse those pesky fabric scraps is mod-podge onto terra cotta pots. An added bonus: potting a plant is one extra step towards a greener planet!

How do you reuse things that you’d otherwise throw out? What’s your favorite creative way to reuse things? What other green DIY projects do you have up your sleeve?



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