With the world currently preoccupied with the COVID-19 crisis, the environmental issues the world is facing have taken a back seat in our collective consciousness. But of course, these issues haven’t gone anywhere! It is still hugely important to take care of the environment and do our best to minimise and reverse the damage that humans are doing to the planet.
One small way to contribute to this and live a more sustainable lifestyle is to re-use the resources we have, rather than throwing them away. Something that we don’t always have control over is the packaging our purchases come in. Luckily, there are many ways to reuse packaging and extend its life as a useful resource for us. Here is a list of common packaging items and some ideas for how to reuse them.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through my link, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. I only advertise products that I have used myself and would genuinely recommend.
How to Reuse These 9 Common Packaging Items
1. Empty lip balm tubes
When a lip balm runs out, you can remove the inside part and you are left with an empty cylindrical tube with a lid. This is probably true for most lipsticks as well!
In the past, I have used these tubes to store pills and supplements. It’s a really convenient and compact way to carry them in your bag when you are out or travelling. Other possible uses for empty lip balm tubes include:
- Storing beads for crafting.
- Storing seeds from plants.
- Storage for hair grips.
2. Empty dental floss dispensers
If you are into sewing, this tip may be useful for you. When your dental floss runs out, you can open up the dispenser and use it to store thread. Often I have offcuts of thread from when I have been sewing, and I store them in an empty floss dispenser to stop them from getting tangled. I’ve built up quite a collection of these now!
3. Rescue pastille tins
I had a phase of getting through a lot of rescue remedy pastilles, which meant I was left with a lot of empty tins. These can actually go in the recycling, but they are also really useful tins for storing things around the house. I use them to store paperclips. Here are some other possible uses:
- Storing pins or needles.
- Keeping screws, bolts or similar.
- Storing hair ties or hair grips.
4. Rubber bands
I accumulate rubber bands from my grocery shopping, as they often come wrapped around bunches of spring onions, herbs and similar. One way that I reuse these is to wrap them around coat hangers to make them non-slip. Other uses could include:
- Bundling coloured pencils or pens together.
- Tying up makeshift bin bags (see below).
5. Plastic bags of all kinds
Many things come packaged in plastic bags of all different shapes and sizes. I save these up because they make great makeshift bin liners for the small bin in my bedroom. This saves me from buying new plastic bin liners.
I also use the small plastic bags from greetings cards to store toiletries where I have cut open the tube to get the last bit out. This keeps them airtight.
6. Twist ties
I think ‘twist ties’ is the name for those little wire and plastic ties that come wrapped around cables when you buy new electronic devices. You also get these little ties with sandwich bags. I reuse these to tie up my makeshift bin bags since they often don’t have handles to tie.
7. Cardboard boxes
Sometimes, I put these straight into the recycling, but other times I save them up. I go through phases of selling things on eBay, and it’s so useful to have a supply of cardboard boxes to package up my sold items, so I don’t have to buy new packaging.
I also have a friend who owns rats, and she is always appreciative of cardboard boxes to create structures to go in her rat cage.
8. Bubble wrap
I find bubble wrap to be a wasteful material because it can’t be recycled, and it could easily be replaced by more sustainable materials. However, I do accumulate bubble wrap from buying things online. I save this up to use when I am packaging things for eBay.
Bubble wrap would also come in handy if you are moving house and need to transport breakable items. If you don’t plan to move house or sell anything on eBay, I recommend passing your bubble wrap on to someone else who will use it.
Related post: Ways to Reduce your Plastic Use
9. Soap wrappers
Soaps and other solid shower products often come wrapped in paper or a cardboard box. This tends to retain the scent of the soap for quite a while, so rather than throwing it into the recycling, I put it in my underwear drawer to provide a nice fragrance. When the scent has faded I recycle it.
How do you reuse packaging items?
I would love to know whether you have ever done any of the above tips. Or have you found any other ways to reuse packaging items? Let me know in the comments – I would love to get ideas from you!
If you are looking for even more ways to live a sustainable lifestyle, I wrote a similar post last year with ideas of how to reduce, reuse and recycle in your daily life.