Given enough time and the proper stimulation–money, romance or your very survival–you could probably come up with some way to recycle or upcycle just about any item in your house. Most people don’t look at recycling an item as a way to make money, find their soul mate or continue living for another day, however, so they wind up throwing into the garbage assorted objects around the house that could be recycled, upcycled, retrofitted or repurposed for brand new uses. To get you started on the road toward looking at things around your house that you never imagined could be recycled, here’s a quick and fun list of examples.
The primary purpose of a doorknob is to facilitate entry and exit through the doorway as well as to lock yourself in or to keep unwanted people out. But we all know from experience that doorknobs serve a secondary purpose nearly as useful as the primary one. Why not recycle old doorknobs to make that secondary purpose the primary one by affixing a collection of old, discarded doorknobs to a decorative panel of wood that you nail into a the wall? In one instant you have succeeded in recycling, saving money and creating a unique rack of hooks upon which to hang various household items.
We don’t often get the chance to recycle leftover food in a way that really qualifies as upcycling. When it comes to recycling the food we don’t eat, usually we’re talking about a compost heap or some other gardening usage. Corncobs are a different matter altogether. Yes, of course, if you have a talent for whittling, you could transform a corncob into a pipe, but let’s assume for the purpose of this article that effective recycling means not creating something new from something old that contributes to bad habits and poor health. No, if you really want to see the power of looking at household items and objects in a brand new way geared toward recycling, then set those cobs from which you have eaten all the corn out in the sun for a few days so that can dry out. Once your corncobs have dried, they can be upcycled as cheap replacements for scouring pads. The bristly surface of a corncob makes for a very effective scrubbing brush.
Well, technically speaking, banana skins. Be honest: how many times have you tossed out bananas because they got old and brown and soft and yucky? Go ahead and toss out the banana, but peel it first. Then slice off the hard “handle” and gather all the remaining banana peels and toss them into a blender set for puree. or just slice and dice them with a knife and use a whisk to puree them into a puree. That gooey mess that is left over after putting it through the blender makes a very effective polish for all your silver. You now know that corn and bananas can be recycled for use in more than just gardening, so why not consider ways to recycle other foods before making the rash decision to toss them into the garbage can.
How do you recycle a broomstick? Well, if you are a witch, you can upcycle an old broomstick into a means of transvection. Let’s assume you are not a witch or that you are smart enough to understand the metaphorical significance of the broom in witch iconography . In which case (pun intended) you gut off the bristly section of the broom and use what’s left as a rod instead of a stock. In one fell swoop (or a few minutes with a handsaw) what used to be a broomstick is recycled into a curtain rod. Or a towel rack. Or a handrail.
No, not a sheet of brand new unused aluminum foil torn straight from the box, but aluminum foil that you have used in cooking and that has gotten stained and greasy and officially used. Yes, that aluminum foil can be recycled. Variously. See, the thing about aluminum foil is that it cleans up very easily and efficiently. Heck, that’s part of the reason aluminum foil exists. It makes cleaning easier. And that easy cleaning also makes it ideal for recycling. Just give a dirty sheet of aluminum foil a th orough cleaning and it can be recycled for the exact same purpose. But recycling isn’t upcycling, is it? If you want to upcycle used aluminum for a brand new use, give it the same cleaning and exploit its amazing reflective powers for any number of new uses. For instance, line some wooden stakes with aluminum foil and drive them into the ground to provide guide lighting for driveways or walkways. Or tape small pieces of aluminum foil on the edges of steps and stairs to make them safer in the dark. If you really want to walk on the wild side of unexpected recycling uses for household items, look at used and cleaned aluminum foil from the perspective of shimmery wallpaper.