This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at insight@mumsnet.com if you'd like to know more about how they work.

Share with Tetra Pak your top tips for creative and original environmentally - friendly things in the home: you could win a £250 voucher! NOW CLOSED

(113 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 29-Apr-14 11:11:09

We have been asked by the team at Tetra Pak, (the world's leading supplier of food processing and packaging systems) to find out your top tips for reducing the impact your home and life has on the environment. They would love to hear the creative things you do to recycle and reduce the amount of waste your family produce.

Tetra Pak says, "you may know that our company was founded upon the principle that 'a package should save more than it costs'. Our cartons are found on shop shelves and in kitchen cupboards all over the country. They hold everyday items we all depend on, from fruit juice and milk to chopped tomatoes.

"As well as this, our cartons offer a number of environmental benefits; not only are they made primarily from wood - which is a renewable resource - they are also widely recyclable across the UK. With over 90% of UK local authorities now offering a carton recycling service, and 57% of local authorities helping people to recycle their cartons from home, recycling Tetra Pak cartons has never been more straightforward.

“In addition, the special layers in our cartons mean that they protect the goodness of contents inside for longer, reducing waste without any need for added preservatives. They also don't need to be kept in the fridge until opened, meaning they can be stored in your cupboards for added convenience".

You may also know that Tetra Pak has launched a new interactive recycling map to help you find out more about carton recycling in your area.

Find out more: www.tetrapakrecycling.co.uk/locator.asp

To help promote the recycling of its own cartons - Tetra Pak would now love to hear about your most creative and inventive tips and tricks for being 'green' at home.

Maybe you learnt an amazing tip from Mumsnet, or came up with your very own way of, for example, reducing food waste in your home? What’s the most creative way you've found to recycle your household waste? What family activities have you done to make recycling fun for your children? What would you recommend to other families to make recycling even easier? What everyday household objects were you surprised to find that you could recycle?

Whatever it is, please share it on this thread – add your comment and you’ll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £250 voucher for John Lewis/Waitrose.

Thanks and good luck!
MNHQ

We reused DS's formula tins (he had a dairy allergy so we used formula for cooking) to store all kinds of things:
Dry foods such as flour, sugar and pasta.
Magnetic letters
Small DIY things like screws or nails
Buttons, ribbons, scraps of fabric etc.

They are great at keeping things dry, they're airtight, pest-proof, you can paint the outside and write on the tins with marker pens.

We recycle, reuse or re home most of our waste, and barely half-fill a small wheely bin with waste every two weeks.

One thing I'd like to see improved re. recyclability is cardboard cartons with metal bases (used for eg Pringles or Cocoa powder). I'd like a way to separate the two components to recycle them separately, as currently we use the bread knife or a saw.

CMOTDibbler Tue 29-Apr-14 14:42:04

My tip for food waste reduction is to have a large bag in the freezer to which you add wobbly carrots, ends of beans, ends of onions etc and then make it into curried veg soup.

You can do the same for fruit and make frozen smoothies

ShatnersBassoon Tue 29-Apr-14 14:48:38

We make paint pots from 4pt milk jugs. You slice the top section off with a craft knife, leaving the handle intact and cutting lower at the front to allow easy brush access. Decant the paint into them. They're much easier to hold than a tin, especially if you're up and down a ladder with it or in a tight space.

We've done the same to make scoops for potting compost, and my friend uses them for scooping her rabbit's sawdust out of the sack and into the hutch.

BornToFolk Tue 29-Apr-14 14:57:11

I use all kinds of plastic waste for gardening. Margarine tubs can be cut up to make plant markers. I use punnets from strawberries etc as trays to hold plant pots with seedlings in. The seedlings themselves can be planted into punnets with holes in. Yoghurt pots can be filled with cotton wool and used to grow cress.

I keep ends of loaves of bread in the freezer and make them into breadcrumbs or use for a bread pudding when I have enough. I make up big batches of veg soup with veg that's past its best, and freeze that too.

Biscuit tins and other large containers are great for small toys like Lego. Whenever anyone at work has those M&S mini-rolls, I bring the tubs home as they are great for keeping pens in without the lid, or homemade playdough, with the lid.

Keepcalmanddrinkwine Tue 29-Apr-14 19:32:20

I reduce food waste by a combination of portion control and having a dog.

Containers, boxes etc. get reused for junk modelling/DT projects at the school where I work.

Our council don't take cartons so the interactive map was useful. I didn't know I could take them to the local recycling centre so will be sure to do so from now on.

Hopezibah Tue 29-Apr-14 21:23:38

Just found that my chopped tomatoes are now in tetrapaks which is brilliant!

Top tips are that there is no excuse to waste food. Don't overbuy and have plenty of tricks up your sleeve for using different foods. eg even egg whites can be frozen as can leftover wine (freeze in icecube trays to use in cooking) and fresh herbs can be chopped and frozen too.

Banana peel can be used as rose fertiliser and also as a shoe polish!

Get the kids to help with the recycling. Mine love it and a trip to the recycling bank is just as exciting as an outing for them.

sharond101 Tue 29-Apr-14 21:45:16

We reuse everything and have a label maker so we know what is in each recycled tub. We recycle food tubs for batch cooking, fruit and veg wrappers become sandwich wrappers, jam jars become money banks........ We don't meal plan but decide on the meals we are having based on the fresh ingredients we have at home so until all the fresh veg/fruit is used up I will not buy anymore. We never throw food away, ever. If it's not used up it's frozen.

CheeseEMouse Tue 29-Apr-14 21:54:05

We are using old egg boxes as seed trays rather than buy plastic ones. Any take away containers or ice cream tubs are used as freezer containers. We also use an array of old tubs for household jobs - so have a pot to clean paintbrushes in and things like rawl plugs are in labelled tubs.

choccyp1g Tue 29-Apr-14 21:55:13

I use plastic food trays as drawers in the fridge. Smaller trays that mushrooms come in are used as cutlery drawer dividers.

But what I'd like to know is how they sort out all the mixed recycling that goes into our giant blue bins. Unless everyone cleans as carefully as I don't, the paper and cardboard must be seriuosly contaminated.

choccyp1g Tue 29-Apr-14 21:56:39

Also I use egg boxes to sit my seed potatoes in for chitting.

tugamommy Tue 29-Apr-14 22:01:03

We try to use old vegetables for making soup which we then freeze.

Empty shampoo / shower gel bottles are used by the dc to play in the bath.

I dilute most detergents to make them last for longer and reduce the impact on the environment.

.... I'm sure there's more...

rootypig Tue 29-Apr-14 22:03:45

That's a good one Shatners, I've been wracking brains for something household-y to use for DD's finger painting. Will try it - thanks!

My top tip is boring really - reduce your consumption first. Don't buy food until the fridge is empty. Stick to the maxim that everything should be functional, useful, or beautiful. This comes in surprising ways. I'm looking at a second hand crystal vase full of neon plastic straws gathered at an outing to an art gallery project. They are my flowers smile. My flat is furnished largely from freecycle and finds on the street.

Current project - in the living room is a giant pile of cardboard that is going to be a Wendy house for DD - just need to find the energy!

Hopezibah, what on earth is "leftover wine"?
No chance of wine being leftover at my housegrin.

unadulterateddad Tue 29-Apr-14 22:29:12

Totally agree with the limit your food purchases so as not to have too much waste.
Also recycle takeaway boxes for freezing bulk cooked meals. Then it feels like having a take away from the freezer !

lottietiger Tue 29-Apr-14 22:40:59

I also use the plastic milk bottles for scoops, mainly in the greenhouse. Then cut then top bit into strips and use as plant labels with a permanent marker pen. Saves loads if you do a lot of seeds as I do. All plastic pots like yogurts are used in the greenhouse as our strawberry type plastic pun nets. Food wise we get at least one large joint of meat a week that then lasts for several meals and there is no waste. Plus you get to use up your tired veg by sticking it in a stir fry or curry.

Wickeddevil Tue 29-Apr-14 22:50:04

Buy a whole lettuce, wash and spin in a salad spinner and put what you don't need in a pot with a lid in the fridge. It will keep for a couple of days and be handy for quick salads and sandwiches.
It is also a lot cheaper and a LOT more environmentally friendly than buying bagged salad.

Wickeddevil Tue 29-Apr-14 22:52:18

Oh and I am on a mission to make a TeePee for DD out of a set of old curtains and some Bamboo that is growing in the garden.

lish123 Tue 29-Apr-14 23:39:42

get all the soaps that have melted and have become small and squash them together under hot water to create a new bar of soap.

deels Wed 30-Apr-14 09:51:15

we recently used empty boxes from the recycle bin, old wrapping paper tht we had saved and also bits of string and ribbon and warppers from various items to make an easter bonnet. it won 1st prize.

WowOoo Wed 30-Apr-14 09:55:17

in the winter we use Tetra packs as firelighters for our fire.

A lot of veg and fruit food waste goes to the compost.
I have just turned one compost pile and have found perfect, crumbly, sweet smelling soil and it's mostly come from food waste and peelings. Lovely!

My youngest is into crafts so before recycling cardboard he'll cut and stick and paint lots of tubes and boxes.

telsa Wed 30-Apr-14 12:40:53

we have got a fantastic set of books by Junkcraft (cheap from the Book People) showing you how to make cars, rockets and other things out of household junk. It has really inspired my DS and has also allowed us to have conversations about the wastefulness of packaging. We like also to recycle boxes that come with goods by putting presents in them or turning them into postcard boxes or treasure chests.

Other than that we try to shop at markets and not to waste any food.

CrewElla Wed 30-Apr-14 12:46:47

my latest is using recycled food waste - either egg shells or half eaten rusks to tackle the slug invasion! when using rusks we also use a glass jar or plastic tub from the recycle bin.

specialsubject Wed 30-Apr-14 20:17:16

I buy meat in bulk from our local butcher (whose prices are much cheaper than the supermarket) and freeze it in reusable plastic containers. Although this does mean some plastic trays, it vastly reduces the number.

I buy veg loose as far as possible. I always take shopping bags with me and avoid over-packaged products.

we don't tend to have leftovers, but if we do they get refrigerated and used the next day. If kids are here, I serve small portions - they can ask for more if they want. Our food waste is teabags, peelings and coffee grounds, nothing else. Goes into a compost bin in the garden. Where we are also lucky enough to have space for a veg patch.

sorry, but our local authority doesn't do kerbside collections for tetra-paks so I avoid them as much as possible. The plastic inners mean that they also can't go on the logburner.

Fortunately tins do the same job, are recyclable and are easier to open.

I don't think I'll be winning the prize... :-)

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Wed 30-Apr-14 20:35:14

We reduce food waste by shopping frequently, freezing leftovers or having them for lunch the next day and composting anything that goes on the floor.
We re-use or recycle everything we can. We use lots of packaging like bottles, bottle tops, egg cartons, yogurt pots etc for crafty projects at toddler group.

moonegirl Wed 30-Apr-14 20:42:45

we've involved the children in recycling since they were small and they now recycle their rubbish without being asked (age 3 and 5)
we use cloth nappies as we worry about landfill.
we have a compost bin and encourage the children to join in, they love to look at the worms!
we also seperate all the materials when recycling taking off paper labels from bottles etc which is easy to forget.
it does annoy me though that a lot of packaging isn't currently recyclable at the moment, surely it would be best to try and rectify this?

MakkaPakkasSponge Wed 30-Apr-14 21:53:41

I was amazed to learn how efficient it is to recycle aluminium compared to producing it from scratch. Its one of the few genuinely 100% recyclable materials so in theory we could get to as point where we've mined all we need and we just need to recycle it from then on. Fascinating, and its made me more careful about recycling cans and foil.

tinypumpkin Wed 30-Apr-14 22:15:12

We do have a section in our garage with bags for each of the recyclable things (e.g. tins, plastic) and a big box for cardboard. Even the two year old knows that we recycle smile

I also use lots of plastic containers for storing leftovers. I also cut out bits from children's boxes for crafts (e.g. Hello Kitty from the Easter Egg box. The rest of the card gets recycled too of course).

Use my old paper from work for child 'art'.

Roseformeplease Wed 30-Apr-14 22:36:39

I think we have a lot to learn about recycling from our parents and the war generation.

We save up jars and swap a dozen or so for a jar of jam from one of the village jam makers.

We compost everything we can. We grow fruit and freeze that, or store apples in the dark and then have our own fruit all winter, composting the remains to grow more fruit. Our compost also takes cardboard, egg shells and all peelings.

We waste very little food but have a leftover night once in a while when we all end up eating different things. We also eat a lot of soup and curries made from leftover meat, veg and gravy.

We recycle everything we came travelling 50 miles to do Tetrapack which we store in a special bin which fits in the car. We never, however, make a journey without several things to do: optician, recycling, shopping, dentist etc.

We are getting a log burner so we can heat the house on waste wood etc.

Clothes are either passed on to friends, sold on eBay or they go in the school's ragbag bin, raising money for school trips. Books go to a local bookshop that raises money for local charities and also does book swaps. We wear things for years and years and buy a lot 2nd hand in eBay.

Our councils is not great at recycling so we can have plastic, tin and paper / cardboard collected but everything else we have to take ourselves so we have separate bins for each other type of thing and then take it in ourselves.

We watch my MiL saving wrapping paper, card and reusing them but, to be honest, I don't want my presents in creased old paper or my card cut out of an old one (she cuts off the picture side and uses it as a postcard). This is a step too far but many of our savings / food waste ideas were the way our parents lived during the war.

TheSpottedZebra Wed 30-Apr-14 23:09:13

I love this thread!
When the DC were young we ate a lot of soup. That seemed to develop into an 'activity' where they can 'help'. Now all limp veg, tasteless carrots, gluts from the garden etc are the makings of soup.

Channelling my late granny here, but I always make the DC do their drawings on both sides of the paper. OK, I make them fill up the page. And I write shopping lists on the backs of envelopes. Which then get recycled.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 01-May-14 08:00:09

How about water conservation? Last summer I fitted guttering to the shed roof and a downspout into a water butt & 13yo DS also rigged up a length of hose-pipe into the bathroom and syphoned bath water into an old dustbin. We also keep an old 4 pint milk container next to the kitchen sink and save that 30 seconds of cold water before the hot water comes through. Perfect for watering hanging baskets.

I've got a thing for glass jars. I love putting tealights in them or making my own candles. So, every jam jar, mayo jar, chutney jar, and nutella jar gets saved and washed out in this house!

MadMonkeys Thu 01-May-14 08:30:55

Bottles/boxes etc become kids toys before they get so destroyed they go in the recycling - the kids think bottles are the best bath toys and boxes from biscuits, cereals etc are great in their play kitchen. Big boxes make great play houses!

Card that isn't too brightly coloured (not keen on the dyes) go in the compost (the insides of loo rolls, boxes etc).

Mushroom trays etc can be used to grow cress and other herbs on the window ledge.

Any pretty packaging, shiny paper, catalogues can be reused as cutting and sticking material for DD1.

We have virtually no food waste by strict meal planning, freezing and getting better at dishing out appropriate portion sizes.

Blu Thu 01-May-14 08:37:20

This summer I am building a 'living wall' on our garden fence.

Basically making a fence of old pallets, tipped on their sides . One of those that have very widely spaced slats, or ese remove every second and third slats to make gaps. Then, with the slats running horizontal, on the underside of the remaining parallel slats, pin or nail the membrane you use to stop weeds.

Now you have a rack of narrow 'window boxes'. Fill with soil / compost, plant strawberries, herbs, small trailing plants.

mrshuggybear Thu 01-May-14 09:31:41

We keep boxes, yoghurt pots, jars and toilet rolls for crafts like the castle we made recently. My daughters who are 2 and 4 both understand now what they recycle, bin and put away for our craft time. We also have a compost bin which they find fascinating. They know to look at things and think what can we do with this before we throw it away.

stealthsquiggle Thu 01-May-14 10:16:51

The biggest difference to our recycling (apart from our local council introducing wheelie bins for mixed recycling clouding glass, which is great) has been getting chickens.

They happily dispose of all table scraps, gone off food and manly abandoned cat food. Their nest box is filled with shredded paper. In return they fertilise the lawn and rake the moss out of it as well as providing eggs.

I am afraid we don't have much recycling of card, etc for DC craft purposes. If they need something I will fish in the recycling bin for them, but we cannot possibly keep everything "just in case" (I do most shopping online, so there is a lot of boxes/ packaging) or we would drown in the stuff.

I do recycle all worn out jeans and the like, though - using the fabric to make bags, mostly - it's fantastic, versatile, tough fabric and the harder the jeans have been worn the more interesting the fabric comes to look.

BertaVanStyles Thu 01-May-14 10:34:42

I love recycling, and I think the councils could do more to help recycling general waste the way I'm used to it from Germany, where I originally come from. In Germany we get different bins for Paper/Cardboard, Plastic/Tins and everything else that can be recycled, general waste (everything that can't be recycled) and "natural waste" (sorry, not sure of the term right now) - potato peels, egg shells and so forth, whereas here I do not get much choice to recycle, we have to put everything in one bag to get it collected (I do seperate cardboard though, but I feel it's not enough).

At home I love to recycle. I use baby food jars of all sizes and food glass jars with lids to store lentils, sesame seeds, barley and so forth.

I have used empty pringles tubs, washed them properly to get rid of left over crumbs/residues and upcycled them with fabric, now they are nice vases for various items (my knitting needles!). I have used old glasses and upcycled them with decopatch (can buy cheaply) to make them look pretty and decorative.

When we go shopping I plan ahead so I use up all of the perishable items up during the week, so for example no vegetables or meat get thrown away. Leftovers from the night before are next day's lunch!

When my washing up liquid runs on low, I fill up the bottle with water to make it last longer (same with shower gels/shampoos).

Also, freecycling is a great idea. If I have good items I need to get rid of I usually offer them to my local freecycle network so I don't have to throw them away. Vice versa, I also look on freecycle for items I might be able to use - for example: a lady had given away polystyrene beads from a bean bag sofa, I collected them and made a bean bag sofa myself with children's curtains I bought for £2 on a bootfair. The beads would have gone in the bin otherwise! sad

There are so many ways to recycle and reuse, I think more people should do it!

erin99 Thu 01-May-14 10:41:44

I never knew we had a tetrapack recycling point so close to our house!

We use household paper and packaging for lighting our woodburner. A lot of wrapping paper is often so full of plastics and metal it's useless for burning, which made me think twice about how recyclable it is. When we're feeling virtuous, we use brown paper or tissue paper instead, either with a ribbon or decorated by the children with stampers.

We buy big cartons of fruit juice and water it down into reusable bottles for lunchboxes.

Albiebee Thu 01-May-14 10:45:44

I too follow my mother's (and grandmother's example) there's a top shelf in the kitchen where clean empty jars live ready to make the next lot of jam/chutney/marmalade, these are re-used umpteen times (unless I give them away as presents, then I run out of jars!)

My rice/pulses/baking ingredients all live in old recycled instant coffee jars, the ones with the pop-off glass lids. Stick pretty labels on them with the name of the contents and cooking time (i.e. Brown Rice 20-25 mins) and they keep everything tidy and airtight. The plastic bags rice etc comes in always splits and spills, so this solves that problem nicely. Haven't bought the coffee in question in years though!

thesoupdragon44 Thu 01-May-14 11:13:58

We like to recycle as much as we can from home, we do the obvious recycling of papers and plastic, but also I use freecycle for things like left over paints and things we no longer need. even down to coat hangers. My old clothes and rag go to the local scouts who rais money to help the group and all good clothes go to charity. Even our food scraps go in my wormery, so very little goes to wasn't. Coffee and tea bags make great plant food!

I reuse oldyogurt pots as paint pots. Coffee grounds and egg shells are put on the garden. Old Bonne Maman jam jars are water tumblers

MoralFibres Thu 01-May-14 13:40:08

I'm right into reducing food waste from my home. I roast butternut squash or pumpkin seeds to have as a healthy snack; dry any mushrooms that are close to their expiry date in the oven to dry then (they keep for months and months that way!); freeze black bananas to make cakes or smoothies with; and so on.

My top creative food waste tip is to rinse soft berries such as strawberries, blackberries and raspberries in one parts vinegar to three parts water and then dry thoroughly, and store in an airtight box in the fridge - and they can last over a week. The vinegar helps kill any bacteria that degrades the fruit!

AndHarry Thu 01-May-14 14:54:10

Maybe you learnt an amazing tip from Mumsnet, or came up with your very own way of, for example, reducing food waste in your home? What�s the most creative way you've found to recycle your household waste? What family activities have you done to make recycling fun for your children? What would you recommend to other families to make recycling even easier? What everyday household objects were you surprised to find that you could recycle?

I was surprised that I could recycle clothes hangers. Every so often I annoy the customer services desk at our local supermarket by bringing a bag of hangers in for them to recycle grin

We get old furniture collected by a local charity that refurbishes it and sells it to give jobs to homeless people in the town.

Carrier bags are always kept and reused as bin liners. Now that we all have reusable carrier bags for food shopping I don't get the same amount any more and have started to have to buy bin liners hmm

Our children are a bit little for recycling yet but I used to love going to the tip with my parents (in the days before kerbside collections for recycling) and dropping glass bottles into the right holes!

flamingtoaster Thu 01-May-14 15:30:45

We've always recycled a lot as we have great kerb side collections. We don't really have food waste as I don't overload anyone's plate - they can always ask for seconds. I batch cook to save power and freeze cakes and buns. If there is anything that might be in danger of not all being used I freeze half of it immediately.

Plastic ice cream cartons are re-used for storage etc. - and recycled if we have enough spare. Books we no longer need to to the Hospice shop - as does clothes and anything else suitable. Shredded paper goes into the compost as does any veg/fruit peelings.

Water used to wash vegetables is used for watering the garden in dry weather - as is any water used, e.g. to rinse a glass.

theresacoo Thu 01-May-14 16:16:09

I don't buy things with lots of packaging. When throwing rubbish away, we check to see if we can reuse it. We keep plastic tubs from takeaways. Buying in bulk saves on waste.
We read Sunday papers online now rather than the mass of paper we used to get with certain papers !
My kids collect yogurt pots, boxes, odds and ends to make junk robots and creative stuff.

BeCool Thu 01-May-14 16:29:16

Reusing packaging is well and good but it still ends up as waste eventually.

While I prefer to used lids, or chopped up milk bottles etc for my DC's painting and other activities, I would rather a solution where we as inner city residents can drink milk (for example), and not dispose of at least 3 large milk bottles a week. The plastic bag options are interesting but I've never seen organic milk packaged this way.

A revolution in how we deal with this one basic household item could have a MASSIVE impact environmentally across the nation & world.

I try and reduce incoming packaging - but it is very hard.

Becool, it'd be great if we could fill up milk containers from a pump, like petrol, charged by volume.

BeCool Thu 01-May-14 16:47:33

InMy indeed it would. Don't know if that would be a realistic alternative for bio security/contamination reasons.

But certainly I'd be happy to buy in a bag and use a refillable jug at home. There must be better solutions?

There are big everyday problems that remain to be solved.

rachaelsit Thu 01-May-14 20:09:29

I re-use butter/marg/coleslaw tubs for lunches or snacks at work. I do this until they are no use and then I'll recycle them. Saves buying tubs.

Jinty64 Thu 01-May-14 20:18:11

We meal plan to avoid any food waste and freeze left overs. Fortunately our Labrador ensure nothing is wasted.

Ds3 loves a trip to the bottle bank. I think he prefers it to soft play.

miljones1 Thu 01-May-14 20:25:57

I reuse tetra paks and yogurt containers as pots to grow seedlings!

Maiyakat Thu 01-May-14 21:14:09

Lots of boxes, foil and cartons get recycled in craft activities. It would be easier to recycle if my recycling container didn't keep going awol on bin day!

Madrigals Thu 01-May-14 22:04:56

We use all kinds of old things - out of date lentils, scraps of foil, packaging, giftwrap for crafting smile

BlackeyedSusan Thu 01-May-14 22:13:02

the children shower instead of bath. I turn off the shower between getting them wet and rinsing them.

we had cavity wall insulation as a block of flats and this has meant that we do not have the heating on much at all.

I do not use a dryer and dry washing inside. because I can not be bothered to walk down two flights of stairs with it all neighbours use the drying rooms.

everything that can gets recycled. some to school for craft the rest to the recycling bag.

careful use of food in the fridge to reduce waste. things still occasionally go wrong. use the good bits of fruit and veggies instead of throwing the whole packet away. making mushy strawberry milkshake. (mum leant on the bag of strawberries)

I am trying to use pots and containers for luches instead of plastic sandwich bags. not doing so well with this.

the children use old fruitshoot bottles in their lunch boxes. they leak less than other bottles as well.

I am using the children's old coats as scraps for art work and various craft products. they are beyond repair/outgrown/not suitable for the charity shop. I buy clothes from the charity shop, though this is also due to finances.

wash on cold wash.

only heat the amount of water in the kettel I need.

turn things off at the socket

eat less meat and more vegatables.

ahhar Thu 01-May-14 22:18:21

I used food containers to grow things. They can be used as plant pots and seed trays. what can be better.

MrChow Fri 02-May-14 00:49:58

I keep every glass jar we have, I love the different shapes and sizes. I use them as pencil pots with garden twine curled into bows. I've painted them in Annie Sloan colors and used them as make up brush holders, used them as tea light holders, hung them with tea lights in from branches in the summer. So many things! Love empty glass jars smile

lolancurly Fri 02-May-14 08:20:40

We have three lovely chickens who enjoy all manner of food waste and give eggs in return, which sounds like a fair exchange. We also have a compost bin for things that the chooks won't or can't eat. Meal planning is certainly a good way of reducing waste, so making a roast chicken do 3 meals by making soup, risotto, stock etc with leftovers. Empty food tins, like Golden Syrup get a few drainage holes tapped in the bottom, filled with potting compost and herb or cress seeds sewn in them. The iconic tin is pleasing on the eye and lovely to see it sitting on the window ledge full of something yummy to eat. Sometimes, it's simply about education and experience and knowing how to use left overs so that they don't sit in the fridge for weeks growing mould.

katwoman28 Fri 02-May-14 12:18:56

We collect all recyclables and anything clean and interesting shaped gets kept for craft projects or donated to nursery for the same.
My kids love making junk models and, as we are recovering from a stomach bug, have been in our pjs doing this this morning!

themummyonthebus Fri 02-May-14 15:17:23

I shop to a list and freeze any veg that starts going off before it can be used to reduce our food waste.

Uzma01 Fri 02-May-14 16:39:15

I take sturdier shopping bags/canvas bags with me when shopping.

I recycle a lot so the recycle bin is usually full every fortnight - I keep a bag for things to be recycled in the kitchen & periodically put the contents into the large recycling bin.

Any leftover bread (crusts) and rice gets put out for the birds.

My DC use some card/paper & envelopes to draw on before being recycled.

Uzma01 Fri 02-May-14 16:41:20

Glass jam jars are washed and kept until I'm ready to make a large batch of chilli sauce - most of which is kept for hubby or given as gifts.

michelleblane Fri 02-May-14 19:56:48

I keep chickens, ducks, guinea fowl and geese, so vegetable peelings and stalebread/cake (not much here though) go to them, as do any left overs. (Dog and cat get any meat scraps). I keep all boxes! Pretty ones that have contained chocolates or toiletries etc are used for storing cards, writing paper, documents. Any good strong boxes and padded envelopes are stored for when I need to post parcels. (I sell on ebay and Amazon). Plastic milk bottles and soft drink bottles are cut and become small plant pots or cloches for seeds. Egg boxes I use for my own eggs and friends and family who get my eggs always return the boxes for next time. Biscuit tins and sweet tins become cake tins or storage for toys.

GetKnitted Fri 02-May-14 21:13:41

My waste reduction tipis not buying any more books until I've read the ones I've got, take old/ unwanted books to the charity shop for recycling and only buy second hand if at all possible!

MrsO27 Fri 02-May-14 23:36:11

Enjoying reading this thread!
My top tip for cutting food waste has been to spend more time planning meals so therefore only buying what I need. Saved us a fortune too.

ScrambledEggAndToast Sat 03-May-14 07:18:13

I take all my old loo rolls into the school nursery, they are always needing them for art supply. Bonus as it tidies the place up for me and helps them out grin I use water from the bath to water the garden. I also have a water butt which I can gather rainwater in and also use on the garden. I rarely use my tumble drier, I line dry where possible and hang clothes in the airing cupboard or spare room. I freeze left over food to avoid wastage and also regularly defrost the freezer to ensure it is working efficiently. I have changed to energy efficient light bulbs in every room as well.

Cherryjellybean Sat 03-May-14 10:32:53

I reuse cards, buttons ribbon etc to make gift tags, or to make new cards and crafts.
We have reused household things to do crafts with my toddler, like an old kitchen roll tube got turned into a rain stick one day.
We freeze left overs.

kelandab Sun 04-May-14 08:48:56

We are collecting up all our tins of different shapes & sizes, which we are going to 'decopatch' a collage of magazine cuttings onto the sides to make a massive desk tidy the length of the kids desk to store all their stationary.

We also use old yogurt pots to plant seeds in.

nerysw Sun 04-May-14 09:00:09

We've used old 2 litre pop bottle and Pringles tins filled with a handful of pepper corns to make some great shakers.

muskratlove Sun 04-May-14 09:46:04

Old plastic bottles can be stacked together to make an eco greenhouse!

elvy106 Sun 04-May-14 19:28:08

We've managed to make a huge difference by simply becoming more organised in every room. In the kitchen food is stocked in good order, we use tupperware boxes to refrigerate spare food items and always check what ingredients are in the fridge before opening another. When we cook 'proper' meals, we cook two extra and freeze so that on evenings when the children are out we can 'forage' them lol. In the bathroom, instead of loads of seperate shower gels, shampoos and conditioners, we work to order and have cut out surplus and clutter.

urterriblemuriel Sun 04-May-14 19:48:20

I don't think that ours can be classed as creative however I am really pleased that as a family of three, our wheels bin is only about 2/3 full on collection every fortnight...I'm sure that's loads more than others, but from what I see in my neighbourhood that is quite good going.

We...
Have a compost heap for all raw vegetable waste, dead flowers, grass cuttings, tea bags, eggs etc
use coffee left overs to help ward off slugs from our plants
Normal stuff recycled (tins, cardboard, milk containers)
Tetra packs, all plastic bags and glass to supermarket recycling
Clothes donated to charity
Foil, batteries etc to recycle bit at the local tip

Eerrr, that's all I can think of at mo!

hakunafrittata Sun 04-May-14 22:54:38

I'm not the most creative of people, but I always reuse containers. I got a Lidl antipasto platter a month ago and have been using it as a mini nibble platter since. Like-wise with their glass creme brulee jars, they're good for homemade cold individual deserts, such as cheesecakes or trifle. I have also been using old SMA tins to store my make-up brushes in. I also love the plastic tubs that Chinese food comes in- I use them to store portions of veggies in cold water that I know I am going to use over the next couple of days whilst the rest is frozen.

Moogdroog Mon 05-May-14 07:54:28

I recycle everything I can, but I've started gardening since we moved house and I've been amazed how much I can reuse - milk cartons for cloches, plastic mushroom trays for starting off seedlings.
Regarding food waste, we're pretty good as we try not to overbuy (reduced budget) - any fruit or veg goes into the compost and things like the ends of bread go out for the birds.
Of course, we're always making things in our house too - we have a bag of making stuff and I regularly raid the recycling bags for stuff to be creative with.

Pinter Mon 05-May-14 08:14:22

We cook as much as possible at the same time to make good use of the cooker energy. And switch off early & use the residual heat

Use the Eco setting on the dishwasher & washing machine

Dry outside

Use as little detergent as possible. Play around with the amounts to make sure

Use white vinegar as a fabric softener & to clean the shower curtain & all the windows & mirrors

Get refills for the hand wash

sarahj68 Mon 05-May-14 17:30:13

As well as re-using plastic shopping bags for the next shop, my mum works in a charity shop that have decided to stop producing their own bags to reduce costs, so I now give any spare to them for their customers purchases.

hareinthemoon Mon 05-May-14 19:13:00

A hot composter can take lots of things that other composters can't.

I am jealous of the greenhouse and the chickens!

Drying outside really is preferable.

Old cartons and tins are good for starting off seedlings on the windowsills (and keeping seeds like basil and coriander going - they'd just be decimated by slugs in our garden so they live on the windowsill.

NotCitrus Mon 05-May-14 22:02:45

The plastic containers that takeaways come in are so useful for everything - leftover food gets put in them (small children have erratic appetites) and almost all food then gets eaten. The boxes are see-through so great for Lego storage.

Shame that each takeaway place uses a different brand so lids aren't interchangeable. I keep them matched up in huge piles.

We now have doorstep food waste collection as well as comingled recycling, so even with a toddler still in some disposable nappies we only produce a bag of landfill rubbish a week.

starfishmummy Mon 05-May-14 22:24:12

When it comes to leftover food, DS is my secret weapon. He loves to have a meal of leftovers!!

KateOxford Mon 05-May-14 23:03:05

I save the plastic boxes from the liquitabs to store toys like lego in and screws and nails for the shed. We buy cleaning products in 5L bottles and decant it into smaller ones (recycled from a previous use). The 5L bottles save on packaging. We try not to waste food but do have a food waste bin. I save take away boxes to use as snack boxes. We use fruit that's past it's best to make cakes and muffins. Leftover bread is saved for a trip to the duck pond. Old clothes are taken to the textiles recycling bin at the supermarket and I lift my son up to put the bag in the chute then he closes the lid and gives the bin a tap to help it down! On holiday we take our bottles to the bottle bank and my son puts them in - at home we have mixed recycling collection so don't need to separate the glass. There is a lady in the next street who once put a notice up asking for garden waste so we take ours to her in a green sack which she composts then returns the sack for next time. A lot of our cardboard is saved for junk modelling and Christmas cards are cut up for next years present tags - always with my son. Our online shop is delivered without bags and the

KateOxford Mon 05-May-14 23:03:59

Contd... Plastic bags we do have are used to line the nappy bins. We cut up old c

KateOxford Mon 05-May-14 23:05:42

Comics to make sticking pictures and recycle wrapping paper to use again. Last week we have a neighbour our old newspaper for using as pass the parcel paper!

Lemoncakeuk Tue 06-May-14 08:48:42

I run my local Freegle UK group to reduce landfill. On a personal level we reuse cardboard, plastic anything really for junk modelling (schools often want items - check locally) My local primary made a complete green house from recycled 2 litre bottles!

Willemdefoeismine Tue 06-May-14 10:25:10

my tip for waste reduction is to blitz all dry bread in the food processor to make breadcrumbs - freeze and then use as required.

Once a week make a wholesome veggie soup using leftovers from fridge!

Yes, most veggie and fruit waste, coffee grounds, shredded documents and teabags go in the compost bin

Always re-use breadbags as sandwich bags.

Cut up birthday cards so the pictures can be used by DCs in future craft projects....

Regular delivery of empty small boxes, cartons etc...to school for craft projects....

chezvic Tue 06-May-14 10:25:16

We use glass jars for storing and cleaning paint brushes in, any egg boxes, cardboard cereal boxes and microwave meal cases are saved for rainy days and making stuff with my daughter, old toothbrushes are kept and used to clean the grout inbetween my bathroom tiles and any old towels are used for cleaning our pets.

wageslave Tue 06-May-14 12:29:19

I'd really like my local council to accept tetrapacks in its fortnightly bin collections for recycling. I can take the packs to be recycled at the local recycling site (thanks for the map showing this!), but it would be a lot easier to recycle them from my door step.We use tetrapaks and other squareish containers for freezing sauces and stews. We line the container first with a poly bag, then lift it out and add a label once its frozen, they can be more easily stored like bricks in the freezer.
Toilet and kitchen roll tubes are saved for sowing sweet peas and runner beans, and in the winter I dip the tubes into cheap peanut butter and roll them in birdseed, then hang out for the birds in the garden. Plastic trays from fruit and veg are re-used as seed trays.

I re-use cotton dishcloths many times by soaking them in boiling water left over from the kettle, using a small amount of washing powder/liquid. I then put them into the washing machine with the next load. If the cloths are really grubby then they get a couple of minutes in the microwave in the solution. I keep a special bowl for this.
And when the dishcloths have become tattered, they go into the compost heap. Dishcloths are either made from crocheted string or by cutting up old t-shirts.

The dog gets ends of veg, fish skins and meat leftovers in his tea. He also gets bits of veg that we dont want to eat, e.g., I cook the core/stalks of broccoli and cauliflower when I'm cooking our veg and put them in the dog's dish. Garden birds get unwanted meat fat soaked in leftover bread.
We re-use the washing up water (using environmentally friendly washing up liquid) and is poured over the garden veg or into flower pots and tubs.
Our local dog rescue kennels collects all sorts of things for recycling, so we always have a box on the go for them, including obvious things like printer cartridges, but less obvious items like most plastic pens and highlighters, labels from coffee packs, coffee refill bags, jar lids, coffee bean bags and coffee stick wrappers, and tassimo packaging, and for some reason I'm not sure of, wrappers from sweet biscuit wrappers too. They also get unwanted gifts for their tombola stall.
We also freeze grapefruit and orange skins and when we have enough I make a batch of marmalade
My DH saves lots of pieces of timber in our garage, but I'm not sure if that's recycling, because they don't seem to have come in useful yet...

MOOON5 Tue 06-May-14 12:33:53

use old milk cartons or plastic bottles for measuring out dog biscuit, washing powder etc by cutting into desired shape and washing and leaving to dry. Some insulating tape around the edges helps prevent you being cut by jagged plastic.

BreakingDad77 Tue 06-May-14 14:15:52

Cut the top of milk, to make cheap pots

Takeaway plastic containers make great pots for cress and have similar shape to bonsai! containers.

Wjjkl Tue 06-May-14 17:55:38

We have very little food waste at home due to having chickens - they pretty much eat the scraps of anything and in return we get lovely eggs - whose shells we then recycle again on the veggie patch to keep out slugs!

dragonfly63 Tue 06-May-14 19:03:04

An old tip that I find useful is to use the inner cardboard tubes from loo rolls to plant seeds in especially ones that don't like their roots disturbed when planting out as you can sow one seed per roll. If you make four vertical cuts about an inch deep you can fold each piece up to make a base and it stops the compost falling out.

Yoghurt pots make good plant pots. Plastic mesh mushroom trays from farm shops make good trays for standing pots in so they are easy to move and plastic Chinese take away containers can be used as seed trays, their lids can be used before the seeds sprout to conserve moisture and afterwards as bases to stand the trays on.

Punch holes into plastic bottles and cut the pointed end off to give a container that can be sunk into the centre of hanging baskets, window boxes and larger plant pots to get the water right to the roots of plants and stop the water running off the compost when you water.

Old net curtains can be attached to greenhouses with clothes pegs to shade plants on hot days. These can be easily removed on dull days to give more light which stops the plants getting leggy.

Net sacks that farmers sell carrots, turnips and swedes in, can be begged from farm shops and green grocers, When opened out these make great netting around crops that the birds decimate.

Halved grapefruit skins put downwards on the veg patch will form a shady damp place that slugs can shelter in, making them easy to catch and dispose of.

Without using these things that are normally thrown away I would have far less money to spend on plants and seeds.

daisybrown Wed 07-May-14 09:29:05

I give all our old newspapers and kitchen towel rolls to my step-daughter for use in her class room. Cartons and plastic bottles/containers are used for home crafts, when no longer wanted they're recycled.

sarahjackjasper Wed 07-May-14 12:13:56

My kids and I recycle egg cartons by cutting them up and using them for arts and crafts eh painting and putting on googly eyes.
I also make soup using left over potato peelings and veg.
Used cereal cartons go to my eldest son who loves painting them and then cutting shapes out to give to his grandparents.

ilovereading Wed 07-May-14 13:25:45

I think Tetra Pak cartons are brilliant (and keep wondering why, why, WHY the huge supermarket chains persist in packaging so much - if not all - of their fresh milk, fruit juices, etc in that dreadful, non-biodegradable plastic?? IMO it's just irresponsible and ignorant, and I keep meaning to write to them about it - I will, in fact do so soon. I will happily spend a lot more on a fresh Covent Garden soup precisely because it's in a cardboard carton, than on an own-brand cheaper product in their plastic cartons which will still be in the gorund in a few hundred years time...).

We save all our plastic bottle tops, as Granny collects them for a charity which seems to be able to turn them somehow into Wellie boots! grin. I endlessly reuse microwave cartons/lids/pots for plants, saucers under houseplants, storage etc. Some little plastic dessert pots make good containers for child-size portions to freeze for use later. Plastic shopping bags are reused until they fall apart as bin liners etc. I often cut out interestingly-coloured/patterned cardboard from cereal or cake boxes for later use, eg, to back photos, pictures, stiffen envelopes or whatever. It is so alarming how packaging waste piles up, and sadly, it is a postcode lottery as to which local authorities will recycle what. Ours is not very advanced and still only does the basics, with limited recycling of plastics.

museumworker Wed 07-May-14 20:19:29

We reduce food waste by writing a meal plan every week before we go shopping - (almost) everything gets eaten. Leftovers make lunch the next day, or get frozen for future meals. We take packaging to our son's nursery and they make all sorts there with them - giant robots, cardboard christmas trees or strange child-led sculptures! We've cut down plastic bottles to use as cloches in the garden (and protect things from snails, unless the blighters crawl through the spout!)
We're very lucky in that almost everything is recycled in our borough - we have a box in our kitchen next to the bin that everything gets slung into, and that gets emptied once full into the wheelie bin outside. I've even taken an ancient computer to be recycled before, was pleased with that!

ComfyLeatherChair Wed 07-May-14 21:10:47

To reduce food waste we:
meal plan
Veg that is a bit past its best gets frozen for soup, same for breadcrumbs
Leftover food from meals go to the chickens,
Peelings to the guinea pig
Everything else to the wormery

Then we use vegetable cartons and punnets to grow seeds (strawberry punnets with the lid on make great mini greenhouses. Plastic trays make great paint pots, etc

janekirk Wed 07-May-14 23:30:27

Large yogurt pots are used for plant growing and paint pots.
The kids love to spend their pocket money in the local charity shop, not only can they get a lot more than if they spent their money in a toy shop but it also helps them to learn the value of money.
Also picked up a cheap ssecond hand freezer to put in the garage, helps to reduce the food wastage.

hunhun007 Thu 08-May-14 13:30:00

We try to do our best with being environmental friendly.
We re-use plastic tabs after butter or yogurts in the garden, especially during spring / summer time for new seedlings (this way I do not have to buy any small pots).
We re-use all metal tins for making storage tubs (mainly covered with fabric or a coloured paper but sometimes we also make them with glued buttons or beads), which then kids sale during summer on car boot sale raising money for whatever they fancy at the moment.
When it comes to food... we still struggle and put too much to the bin but we are working on it... if we make too much we freeze leftovers for quick meal some other day... we do not feed our dogs with it, as in most cases human food is not good for them.
We also buy industrial type kitchen rolls - they are cheaper and last much longer than your standard roll you get at a superstore (we would love to not to use them at all but with a Newfoundland dog in the house this is not an option)

JulesJules Thu 08-May-14 14:26:30

We try and recycle as much as possible. Our area does not take many plastics for recyc - so I try and limit the number of things I buy with plastic packaging. Some of the things we can't recyc I collect up and take to the nursery class at the dds school - they are always keen for items for junk modelling and craft activities and use yoghurt pots etc for planting seeds.

I hate throwing food away, all leftover bits of bread get turned into breadcrumbs or croutons and frozen. Odds and ends of veg get turned into soup. Peelings etc go in the compost bin. We have stopped buying bagged salad and grow some salad leaves and herbs on the kitchen windowsill instead.

Our school collects ink cartridges for recyc.

Letitsnow9 Fri 09-May-14 13:29:08

We use take away style containers to grow seeds in until they are ready to be transferred outside, they are perfect and you can use them again and again

1amtheonewhoKnocks Fri 09-May-14 16:44:42

We always use the confidential waste that has been shredded as bedding for our little gerbil girls, they love it. Also orange juice size tetrapaks have become storage boxes for the kids' little toys and bits. They love painting them etc and it's so easy to store little bits of lego etc on them or arts and crafts bits.

sashh Sat 10-May-14 08:07:07

A full freezer is cheaper to run than an empty one so if it's getting low I fill it with bread that will always be eaten at some point.

When I was doing a course at an FE college one day a week it was the same day as the catering students baked bread so I could pick it up for the cost of ingredients.

I also freeze milk, I don't drink it myself so have some frozen either in whole pints or in an ice cube tray, I can then put a milk cube in tea for guests.

I make pickles, the most expensive part is the jars and as I give them as presents I don't get the jars back but I can often get them on freecycle.

ataraxia Sat 10-May-14 20:45:41

I save unusual jars and tins with a metal/glass pen to re-label them

TheHouseatWhoCorner Sat 10-May-14 20:50:11

My DD(6) did a recycling project for school last week.
Her idea was to turn a drink bottle into a megaphone.
I suspect that her idea won't be winning us this prize.

IncaAztec Sun 11-May-14 13:45:00

Maybe you learnt an amazing tip from Mumsnet, or came up with your very own way of, for example, reducing food waste in your home? What’s the most creative way you've found to recycle your household waste? What family activities have you done to make recycling fun for your children? What would you recommend to other families to make recycling even easier? What everyday household objects were you surprised to find that you could recycle?

Best way of recycling formula tins was taught to us by DD's nursery, they make them into photo albums with photos on the sides and inside. Kids love to look at them. To make recycling easier I would suggest buying those green sacks and a proper indoor compost bin. I was suprised to find out that you can recycle whole t.v.s (as told to me by the man at the tip!). I've yet to involve my children in recycling as they are too young (yet!)

I've re-used beer bottles into small vases but wrapping PVA glue soaked yarn around them. I've even made little flowers out of wire and left over bits of felt plus a button in the middle. Makes a cute and low maintenance display ideal for our boring and hardly used downstairs loo. Actual plants don't stand a chance as I forget they're there.

We also re-use baby food jars for spices, buttons, screws, goggly eyes and other small items.

I've never tried re-using a tetrapak though but Cardiff council do include them in the kerbside recycling, so they're recycled via that.

RhinosAreFatUnicorns Sun 11-May-14 20:26:38

We menu plan so have reduced our food wastage massively. Plus we have a Labrador who of course eats anything smile

My husband uses the laundry tablet containers for all his screws, bolts etc.

I never use bags when buying veg, preferring to buy them loose.

Glass jam jars are given to the lady in the village who makes marmalade.

I reuse cardboard boxes and padded envelopes when I'm selling on eBay. All clothes are either sold, ebayed or donated to the charity shop.

Other bits are used for junk modelling. Cardboard tubes are given to the dog as they are the best toy ever!

JarOfDaffs Sun 11-May-14 21:32:37

My old / odd socks are recycled to make mittens and shoe-to-ankle snow covers for the baby / toddler in winter.

CathBookworm Sun 11-May-14 22:13:47

We have reduced food waste by shopping online, no more impulse buys and we plan exactly what we will eat each day. We have recently had a big clean out at home, meaning several trips to the local waste/recycling centre with our toddler , who even at his young age seemed fascinated that we can reuse things instead of just throwing them away!

manfalou Mon 12-May-14 12:20:49

Use empty squeezey tomato ketchup etc bottles to store paint in if you use powder paint.... you can mix it and keep it in an easily accessible pot.

We only cook for what we need and have little food waste.

We do seem to get ALOT of recycle but we have two bins in the kitchen, red for food waste, black for recyclable products. Our eldest now know that plastic, paper etc go in the black bin and food plus some packets in the red, if he's unsure he always asks which to put it in.

lozster Mon 12-May-14 14:40:07

Happily my council collects practically everything I can think of for recycling. In addition I do try to get an extra use out of things. Loads of good ideas on here already but in addition I keep bottles of Marmite or tomato sauce that I can't squeeze anything more out of, and rinse them out with hot water to add to a stew or casserole. Also in the kitchen, I reuse cereal pack liners as sandwich bags or as bags to mix and shake marinade in.

Mojito100 Mon 12-May-14 15:37:00

I send my unused food scraps and cartons home with one of the girls from work, she has a mini farm and feeds the food scraps to her chickens, the rest is compost and she uses the containers for a whole range of activities.

I also merge all the ends of my lipsticks Into one little jar that then becomes my new colour for the season. I apply with a lipstick brush. Easy.

DoctorGilbertson Tue 13-May-14 05:05:14

OUr local recycling is really good - moving to the area was great, as they take almost everything (except nappies but we have just got rid of night nappies so all good there too)

But the hint I read on Mumsnet which was really good was about freezing mushy bananas and then using them in cakes.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-May-14 12:46:59

Thanks for all the tips etc!
Am pleased to say Lemoncakeuk has been picked as the winner of the £250 JL voucher - well done!

CointreauVersial Tue 13-May-14 17:28:37

Clothes recycling is my thing. I buy a lot from charity shops, from eBay, or car boot sales, and am happy to adjust/take in/mend so that it suits me. I also send my second hand clothing to charity to continue the cycle.

Also, most of my "Tupperware" is recycled food packaging - ice cream tubs, pasta sauce pots etc. I have a whole drawerfull for storage of leftovers.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now