Monday, March 21, 2011

That Crazy Recycling Lady in the Neighborhood

What a weirdo. Oh wait, she's me.

I confess, I raid people's recyling bins.

In particular, I have a neighbor who puts interesting and useful things in her recycling and puts it out a day ahead of time, too, to give me a fighting chance of salvaging stuff. For example, she puts a nice sturdy empty gallon jug that once contained cranberry juice in her recycling about every second week or so. Rinsed out. And with the lid. I do our emergency water storage in gallon jugs, mostly, in the basement, so I can certainly make use of that. Then sometimes it's a stack of the plastic trays and covers from TV dinners, the kind with 3 sections for the different parts of the meal. Those are great for packing up leftovers to eat for lunch another day. And today she had a cranberry juice jug AND a big plastic bucket that once contained kitty litter. The big square kind of bucket with the hinged flip-top lid and wire bale handle. Very sturdy. The plastic itself is food safe, but since it has held perfumed cat litter, I would not put food directly in it without a barrier, but in Mylar packaging? In good quality manufacturer packaging? Vacuum packed? You betcha. Very handy and great for stacking on a shelf.

Now I'm looking for a suggestion: We get our cat litter from ALDI. It comes in a heavy white plastic container with a self handle.  It's a lot of plastic. The lids are not airtight. These jugs would be great for storing liquids or maybe grains if they were airtight, and of course if they were perfectly clean and had no hint of kitty litter perfume left. But the non airtightness is the deal breaker. And so I'm recycling a lot of heavy white plastic. I hate doing that. I'd much rather find a reuse for them. Does anyone have any ideas?


Carol Reese said...

Anything that will fit in them! Tools in the garage. Use them for totes for the garden tools. Emergency stuff like sterno or candles, paper towels, toilet tissue. Stores of laundry supplies, dish detergent, soap, shampoo. Toys, although I know your kids probably don't have Legos and Lincoln logs or whatever anymore. In the garage again, lawn food, weed killer, whatever. Holiday decorations. Excess office supplies. Needlework supplies. Scrapbooking supplies. I use ice cream buckets for yarn and crochet thread and some smaller quilting projects. I also use those for wild bird seed that I scatter out back from about October through March/April. If you have china or glassware to store, wrap it up securely in bubble wrap or paper in them. They'll be small enough you can't get them too heavy. Old clothes you want to cut up someday to make quilts or for other projects. I have a lot of old blue jeans I want to make into something like shoe bags for the motor home.

Maria Stahl said...

Yeah, Carol, except these are more like jugs, not really roomy, and the opening is just a little bigger than say a standard Mason jar. Here's a very blurry picture I found on the Web:

Carol Reese said...

Oh, in that case, I've no clue. My DD used to get it in square buckets. Tidy Cats still comes in square buckets. The only thing I can think of at this point is water, which you wouldn't want to drink or use for cooking, but it would be fine for flushing toilets, washing clothes, and even bathing. (I would use used bath and wash water for the toilets first, however.) But you said they didn't seal well, so that may not work well either. However if the lid screws on, you can put cardboard or foam from insoles in the lid to create some pressure and then plastic, and screw the lid over the plastic. I'd use sandwich or heavier duty bags rather than thin plastic wrap.

Anonymous said...

I use those to mix a vile-smelling fish emulsion additive for my plants. I can't deal with mixing it each time I need it so I premix a bunch and then go from there. You could also cut off the tops and use them as planters. Especially if you are growing from seed and they go through various growth stages. That way you can put them in a pretty planter but move them if you need to.