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Although the developments in sustainable living and plastic-free packaging have led to increased recycling and reducing, there is still the possibility to minimise your waste further as well as giving the waste in your home a second life and help the cause even more. So, before you chuck out your used jam jar or egg box into the recycling, take a minute to think about other useful and creative ways they can be used.

 

Pots and planters
Egg cartons make the perfect planters for little seeds by cutting them up into individual seed planters or leaving them in the tray. Just put a little bit of soil and the seeds in one of the dipped egg cradles and this will help them grow until they are big enough to be transferred into a bigger pot.

Jam/sauce jars and tin cans are a good option to plant succulents in. The jars and tins can be left plain for an organic simplistic look, or they can be personalised with paints or stickers to fit the décor of your room. Be sure to rinse out any of the remaining food left in the jars and tins before potting the plant – attracting insects and flies when growing plants is not ideal!

Cardboard storage
There are many waste materials and packaging that can be transformed into practical storage and décor. Shoeboxes are one type of packaging that can be upcycled into chic and professional storage. To do this the boxes should be primed and painted to fit your style, this can even be with patterns or completely one solid colour. To go the extra mile, any small handles, door pulls or buttons can be applied on the front of the box on the lid to give a very high-end effect and make it look like an expensive item from a homeware store.

If you have large pieces of cardboard instead, try fixing together and covering them in material to create a square open-top box. You can add a handle if you have any extra material to hand. This can be personalised or be labelled on the contents of the box. This is a perfect idea for children’s toy boxes and book boxes so why not get your kids involved so they can design and create their own storage box. Let’s face it, with the school holidays upon us we could all do with some craft ideas for the kids and grandkids!

Bird feeders
Depending on the size of your household, empty toilet roll tubes are something that can pop up every few days and they can stack up pretty fast. A good way to get some use out of these is to make some bird feeders and place them around your garden. To do this, cover all sides of the tube in peanut butter, then roll in birdseed until all of the peanut butter is covered with seeds. Trail a piece of string through the centre of the tube and tie the two ends together and hang it from a tree or branch in your garden. This is the perfect way to invite new birds into your garden.

DIY pet home or fort
Ordered something big recently? Don’t let the big boxes go to waste. DIY pet homes are a great idea for small animals like dogs and especially cats. With a few different colours of pet-friendly paint and some scissors, you can craft the box into whatever style suits you from mini houses to mini cars – your pet will love it. This concept can also be used for small children as well!

Perfume Vase
Perfume bottles are usually very stylish and would make a great feature for shelves and bookcases. When you are finished with the perfume, take the lid off and rinse out any left-over residue. Add a flower (fresh or fake) or some eucalyptus and place on a nightstand, bathroom or bedroom for the perfect piece of décor.

Candles
Jam and sauce jars are perfect for creating your own candles so don’t throw them away. The first step is to melt some wax, this could be out of a range of left-over candles you have lying around that are nearly finished. Whilst it is melting, thoroughly clean the jar out and add a candle wick to the bottom. At this point, you can add in dried flowers and glitter to make it more personalised. The final step is to pour the melted wax in the jar and wait until it solidifies to light it.