Written by Grove Collaborative

10 household items and single-use packaging you can easily reuse or repurpose.

Last Updated: August 4, 2021

Have you ever wondered if there’s anything you can do with all that packaging for household products you buy all the time (instead of throwing it away that is)? We’ve found the best repurpose ideas for you and your family.

If you’re ready to commit to eco-friendly living, it might feel overwhelming. You can look around your home and see plastic and waste everywhere! The stress can lead to an “out with the old, in with the new” mindset.


While there are many sustainable products to help in your journey, beginning to reuse and recycle what you already have is a great start. There are plenty of ways to repurpose types of plastic and other single-use items you already have in your home.


We’ve compiled a list of household items and old packaging you can get creative with to reduce waste, save money, and teach the fam about the other R’s: reuse and recycle. Get the kids and start getting crafty.

1. Food containers and packaging

It feels like the packaging, containers, and unnecessary materials involved with groceries and take-out are an eco-disaster. No worries! There are ways to repurpose even the most random items.


Jars

The possibilities are endless when it comes to repurposing jars. Depending on the size and your affinity for DIY, your old jars can be transformed entirely.


Turn your jar into:


  • A small planter
  • A pencil cup
  • A place for your keys
  • A candle (holder)

GROVE TIP

How to make a DIY candle

Now that you have your reused candle holder, you can easily create a new candle with only a few materials.


Simply collect soy wax chips (or remnants of candle wax from almost-gone candles), a wick, scissors, and your favorite essential oils.


Heat wax on the stove or in the microwave, mix in your essential oils, hold the wick in your jar, and pour your wax around into the jar. Cut your wick to the desired length, and you’re all set!

Shop our favorite essential oils at Grove

What is Grove Collaborative?

Did you know U.S. companies make 76 million pounds of plastic every day, but only 9% of plastic is recycled. At Grove, we think it's time to stop making plastic. Today, we're plastic neutral. By 2025, we'll be 100% plastic-free! Plus, everything sold at Grove is nontoxic, sustainabile, and cruelty-free.


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Butter wrappers

Stop throwing away your butter wrappers, and use them for one of these practical uses:


To wrap candies


  • Wrapping candies with butter wrappers is a simple process! Simply clean off butter wrappers and let dry, cut to size, and wrap the butter wrapper around the candy.
  • You may secure the sides by twisting the wrapper. Old butter wrappers can also be used to wrap half-eaten fruit and other loose foods in the refrigerator.

Other useful ways to use butter wrappers include:


  • To separate burger patties
  • To grease a pan

Once you’ve used up all your old packaging from products you’ve bought, check out this variety of food storage options to avoid single-use plastic and packaging. Or read a real review from a Grove writer who documented her switch from plastic storage bags to reusable ones.

Shop reusable food storage bags

2. Old clothes

When spring cleaning days come around, and you’re creating a mound of old clothes, always try to donate or repurpose.


Here are some useful ways to repurpose T-shirts and socks!

T-shirts

  1. Cleaning rags
  2. Dog toys
    • Would your dog chew on just about anything? Do they love tug-o-war? You might feel the hit to your wallet buying new toys to keep your pup amused, especially when they end up just ripping them up in a day or two. Instead, upcycle your old t-shirts!
    • Get creative by wrapping a t-shirt around a plastic water bottle, tying a large knot for chewing, or keeping it long with a bunch of knots to use for tug-o-war.
  3. Bracelets
    • One unique way to upcycle your t-shirt is by making a fashion statement with braided bracelets! Cut off the end of your sleeve, then repeat two more times. You’ll be left with three circles. Cut your pieces to open the circles and tie them together on one end.
    • Measure your wrist and cut all pieces to size. Braid them together, tie at the end, and voila!
  4. Quilts

Socks

  • Dust rag
  • Pouch for storing items
  • Cloth for polishing your shoes or car

3. Plastic

Plastic is a big problem for sustainability, but it doesn’t have to be the enemy! Reuse your plastic in creative ways to be a part of the solution.

Grove's quick facts about plastic

76 million pounds of plastic packaging are created by U.S. companies every single day.


Only 9% of plastic gets recycled, no matter how much you put in your recycling bin.


24 billion pounds of plastic enter the oceans every year, killing over 1 million marine animals.

Plastic bags

If you haven’t yet invested in reusable shoppers, you probably have tons of plastic bags around.


Reuse and repurpose for:


  • Dog waste
  • Packaging or storing fragile things
  • Line trash cans

Plastic water bottles

Do your best to reuse plastic bottles for beverages as much as possible, and if you’re ready to repurpose them, here are some great ideas!


  • Planter
  • Soap dispenser
  • Bird feeder
  • Toy rattle or sensory bottles

4. Old or broken dishes

If you have old dishes, bringing them to someone in need of a new home-owner is an excellent option. If you’d rather keep it, or they’re broken, you still have options!

Old coffee mugs

  • Bookends
  • A planter
  • Centerpiece
  • Create a vase out of your water bottle by cutting the top off and putting in flowers or a plant of your choice.
  • Use reused packaging to create a little height for short flowers.
  • Go a step further by decorating your water bottle with colorful duct tape!

Broken dishes

  • A keychain
    • Broken dishes can make unique and interesting keychains! Colored or designed dishes are even better!
    • All you’ll need to create the look is a rotary tool with attachment set to finish edges for safety. Add a hole. Get a key loop to put through the hole and you’re all set!
  • Stepping stone
  • DIY mosaic

5. Furniture

Before you put your old or broken furniture to the curb, consider possible upcycles for materials.


Old couch

If your couch has seen better days, consider reupholstering. If that’s not possible, reuse wood materials for other projects, or reimagine uses for couch cushions in children’s playrooms or outdoors!


Old chairs

If you’re unable to upcycle with replacement legs or a paint job, reuse a chair’s materials for other projects!


  • Use wood for DIY projects.
  • Reupholster chairs with the broken materials.
  • Create wall decor or a shelf out of a chair back.

6. Hygiene products

Staying clean is essential, but if you’re not doing so with sustainable products, you’re going to be left with tons of plastic and waste.


Toothbrush

Toothbrushes are a huge problem when it comes to sustainability. One billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year, creating 50 million pounds of waste. Reuse your toothbrush for cleaning your drain, keyboard, and other small spaces.


Floss containers

Once you run out of floss, your floss container can take on a new life!


  • A small DIY sewing kit
  • Holding stray seeds, nails, or screws
  • Holding bobby pins

Shop eco-friendly toothbrushes and floss

7. Paper products

Paper products tend to add up in our homes, from newspapers to old notebooks, magazines, and old birthday cards.


Newspaper or magazines

Give your newspaper or magazines a second life!


  • Wrap gifts
  • Garden mulch
    • Old, shredded paper provides warmth, protection, and nutrients for the plant's roots.
    • Use around trees, plants, or in your garden.
  • Basket filler
  • Packing fragile items

Notebooks

Do you have old notebooks from school collecting space?


  • Use all the pages
  • Take out empty pages for grocery lists
  • Turn a page into art or add it to a scrapbook

8. Pots and pans

With a bit of creativity, your pots and pans can be reimagined entirely around your home.


  • Use as a planter
  • Make into a storage basket
  • Serving trays
  • Kitchen decor

9. Organizational items

Organization items around your home, from the office to bedroom closet, might need replacing at some point. Repurpose them!

Shoe organizers

Whether it be a wooden rack or an over-the-door organizer, there are plenty of ways to upcycle. Broken or old wood shoe racks can be wine racks.


Hanging door organizers can be used in a pantry instead, or used to organize products in the bathroom.

File holders

Turn your old file or magazine holders into storage for:


  • Notebooks, gift bags, or gift wrap
  • K-cups or tea bags
  • Toilet accessories

Caddies and bins

Use old storage bins and caddies for new purposes around the house, like indoor gardens, arts and crafts holders, or to store cleaning supplies.


Garage storage or tool organizers are also great uses for small bins you have lying around.


If you need some stylish storage, you can always check out Grove’s stock too.

Shop Grove's organizing cleaning caddies

10. Outdoor items

Outdoor items can be damaged or run down over the years by the elements. We get it! Instead of throwing old things away, try these options for ladders and buckets you’re done with:

Ladder

Your old or broken ladder can become:


  • A laundry drying rack
  • A piece of gym equipment

Bucket

Your old buckets can be transformed entirely with a bit of crafting.


  • Turn your buckets into:
  • A birdhouse
  • Decorative storage
  • Stools

Creative or not, you have options!

A sustainable lifestyle can be tricky, so take it slow. Take a look around your home for these everyday products, and instead of throwing them away, give them a new purpose. Many of the above ideas are super easy to do, and will help you live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Shop plastic-free items at Grove

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