There are so many ways we can reduce our waste, recycling, reducing the single use items we buy, composting food and organic waste, donating old clothes and books to charity stores. But when it comes to some items it may be best to re-use them rather than let them go to waste. We have 5 fun ways to get your children involved in thinking about re-using waste and making something fun and useful from your old unwanted junk.
1. Bird bottle feeder
Any old plastic bottles usually go into recycling, but many of you will be aware that only 10% of plastic bottles sent to recycling are actually recycled, and only 10% of those can be recycled more than once. So it's not always the best option. However there are other things you can do. One of our favourite things to do with plastic bottles is to make a bird feeder from them. You will need some strong, 2 sticks, some peanuts and a knife or set of scissors to cut holes in the bottle. First cut two small holes near the top of the bottle and thread your string through, tying it in a loop to hang on the tree. Then near the bottom cut 4 holes about 0.5cm square each at opposite sides of the bottle for the birds to feed at. About an inch below each hole cut a slit to push your sticks through so they protrude from each side giving the birds a place to perch to eat. Fill it with peanuts and hang it up in the trees or bushes in your garden.
2. Cardboard race cars and characters
Many of you no doubt did this as kids and your kids will love it too. If you have a large box you can make it into a house, den, spaceship or race car. Let the kids decorate it and paint it, add details and designs and make it really unique, when they are done with it it can still go to recycling or compost. or you can get really creative and make all sorts of things from it. Draw their favourite characters and cut them out, or let them paint rainbows and unicorns on them and decorate the house with it. We even made a christmas tree and snowman from old cardboard boxes and strips. Getting the kids painting and drawing is always great fun and they really do liven up their rooms with a great splash of colour. (cheap decorations too)
3. Plastic tub plant pots
If you have large tubs of ice cram, peanut butter or other plastic tubs that are destined for the recycling bin you can use them as handy plant pots. Just cut a few drainage holes in the bottom and fill them with soil. Its really that easy. You can make them nicer by letting the kids paint and decorate them before planting. They work great for both indoor seedlings and as neat little window pots.
4. Bottle top counters / money
Bottle tops are so common today and yet so useful with kids for games and fun ideas. You can do so much with so little. We use some for money when we play shop with our little one, and he also loves filling up cups and telling us it is coffee. We have also used them for useful counters when teaching numbers and basic maths. You could even get really creative and make a cardboard checkers board and use black and white paint to make your bottle tops into the pieces of the game. Just another fun way to get them playing and reusing old junk.
5. Make your own cards
Grandparents will love a handmade card from your kids. Its so personal, unique and a fun keepsake for years to come. You just need some card and you can re-use old bits and bobs to decorate it. We like to keep old toy packaging, old christmas cards and wrapping and other cute pictures and images or materials to get crafty with. Use an old box to store it all in until its craft time and your kids will love hoking through the muddle of old items to find the perfect texture, colour and shape for their next creation. It's not only reusing but helping boost creativity and art skills. Yo can even be super cute and let them do hand prints just as a little keepsake for you and your partner to look back on for mothers/fathers day.
Check out some other great ideas to help you reduce your waste and find out more about Operation Clean Up HERE.