‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ has become an everyday mantra in most societies. And in Namibia the ideology behind this mantra has firmly been established, with many companies, schools and government facilities introducing a variety of campaigns aimed at keeping our Namibia clean and preserving its natural heritage.

Having said this, we often don’t always realize how easy and effective recycling can be. It can offer a variety of ways to preserve nature but also aid in our everyday lives. Recycled, or rather up-cycled, items can effectively decrease the amount of waste and creatively become part of solving everyday nuisances. We all have objects that we dispose of on an almost daily basis, and here is how you can reuse the:

Toilet paper rolls

We all use toilet paper on a daily basis, a lot more than some of us would like to admit. Instead of tossing the empty rolls aside, use them to organise and store cables and cords. These useful rolls can also be turned into inexpensive serviette rings!

Serviette holders  -  Image: Tiny stitchers

Serviette holders – Image: Tiny stitchers

For more ideas on how to revamp your toilet rolls click here.

Plastic bags:

The one thing we all learn from our parents is to keep a plastic bag filled with plastic bags somewhere in the kitchen. We all know that those very plastic bags often end up in the streets and can be dangerous to animals, so try to refrain from using the plastic bags by using a reusable shopping bag. This, however, does not solve our little plastic bag problem… how about using an empty tissue box – yes your trusty Kleenex box – to store your plastic bags? Not only is this an effective way to store the plastic bags, it also offers you easy access. Plastic bags can also be used as ‘pot-fillers’ for pot plants, this saves soil and makes the pots easier to lift. And these bags can also be used to transport unpotted plants, this method keeps the moister in the plant and soil during transport.

Plastic bag tissue box - Image: Blogspot

Plastic bag tissue box – Image: Blogspot

For more useful ways to reuse old plastic bags click here.

Empty Plastic bottles:

Instead of throwing those empty soft drink bottles away – if you do prefer to throw them in the garbage, please be sure to add it to the recycle bin – create yourself a floating garden! Slice out the one side of the bottle, fill it with good, fertile soil and plant away! This is ideal for planting herbs that you can later use in your cooking!

Floating garden -  Image: Bored panda

Floating garden – Image: Bored panda

These useful bottles can also be turned into bird feeders. Add a wooden spoon to the mix, stick it through the bottle and fill it with birdseed. The little birdies now have a tray to stand on and the seeds can flow into the bowl of the spoon.

Bird feeder -  Image: Bored panda

Bird feeder – Image: Bored panda

For more ideas on up-cycling plastic bottles click here.

Glass Bottles:

Wine bottles, or any other kind of glass ware, can easily be recycled.The Gondwana Collection for instance uses glass-crushing machines to crush the glass wares into a fine dust. This in turn can be used in the production of bricks, tiles, sandblasting and of course all kinds of arts and crafts. Gondwana has even used the crushed glass from the Etosha Safari Lodge, by mixing it with gravel and sand, they built a new watering hole for the game in the area! But these empty bottles can be used in a variety of other creative ways. They can be used as vases, light fixtures or old fashioned candle stands, straight of out of an Old Italian restaurant.

Glass-crushing machine

Glass-crushing machine

For more fun and creative ways to reuse glass bottles click here.

Coffee grounds:

It’s safe to say that most members of any society cannot fully function without their morning cup (or three) of coffee. And once the coffee grounds have served their purpose, they usually end in the bin and are quickly replaced with fresh grounds. But what if we told you that your coffee grounds can serve a purpose other than giving you that much needed boost?

Used coffee grounds can actually serve as a pest repellent and a fertiliser in your garden. It can also be added to the compost pile as the grounds are rich in nitrogen. Moving away from the garden, those left over grounds can be used around the house as well. Fill a small container with the grounds and place it in your fridge to absorb any unwanted food odours. And the grounds can even be used as an exfoliator for your skin!

Coffee fertiliser -  Image: Gardening know how

Coffee fertiliser – Image: Gardening know how

For more tips on reusing your beloved coffee click here.

Tea bags:

If you are someone who prefers morning tea over coffee, fret not. There is a list of uses for old tea bags that stretches from here to Timbuktu. Similar to coffee grounds, damp tea leaves can be used as a fertiliser and to ward off garden pests. You can also add a bunch of used tea bags to a buck and use the weaker ‘tea’ to water you plants, this will protect your garden from fungal infections. Used tea bags are also ideal for deodorising your home, drop a couple of dried used tea bags into your rubbish bin to neutralise bad smells. Re-brew the old tea bags and use the weakened tea to clean glass surfaces!

Tea bags - Image: www.onlymyhealth.com

Tea bags – Image: www.onlymyhealth.com

For a few more tea-tastic tips to reuse tea bags click here.

Potato peels:

As Namibians, we are all fairly familiar with the “Rys, vleis en artappels” concept. And as we all tend to peel those glorious potatoes before they end in a pot, there is quite a bit of food-stuffs that go to waste. We are here to offer the solution! Take the discarded peels, fry them in some hot oil or roast them in the oven, add you favourite seasoning and voila! You now have either a delightfully crispy garnish for your meals, or a fantastically crunchy pre-dinner snack. But wait, the tricks don’t stop there…those potato peels can be added to your compost pile. Surprisingly potato peels can even be used to get rid of puffiness around your eyes and the juices from the potato peels can help your hair grow faster!

Potatoe peels - Image: Zerowastechef.com

Potato peels – Image: Zerowastechef.com

Crispy potato peels - Image: Silviascucina

Crispy potato peels – Image: Silviascucina

For more potato peel tricks click here.

If you have any other useful tricks to recycle your everyday commodities, we invite you to share them in the comment section below. Recycling is the ideal way to keep our environment in tip top shape and it doesn’t need to break the bank, it could even save us a penny or two. Recycle and live green, let’s keep our planet clean.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

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