Reusing Packaging

November 09, 2021

Reusing Packaging

A great development in the sustainability movement is the shift away from plastic packaging towards more eco-friendly options that use recycled and recyclable materials.  Many retailers have made this change yet avoiding packaging altogether is impossible.  

You might be able to buy your groceries completely packaging-free but almost everything else we buy comes in some form of packaging, whether it's a box or wrapping.  Then there's the online orders we place and the gifts exchanged between loved ones.  These have been doubled wrapped in their original box with additional packaging over the top.

So what do we do with all this packaging to prevent it going in the bin?  With the holidays coming up, here are some ideas on how to reuse and repurpose packaging waste from the gifts you may receive.  These ideas also work at solving the problem of what to do with packaging from online orders, food packaging, and other household waste.


Reusing Packaging


Repurpose As Gift Wrap and Postal Supplies

The easiest solution is to salvage any packaging you can to reuse when you need to send a parcel or wrap a gift.  Cardboard boxes, tissue paper, brown paper, and packaging chips can all be repurposed and reused when you need to send something in the mail.


Printed Media As Wrapping Paper

Repurpose any old calendars, magazines, or newspapers you have to gift wrap presents with.  It saves buying gift wrap new, which is only going in the bin anyway, and your gifts will look much prettier.


Jars and Bottles As Food Storage

Instead of buying containers to keep your leftover food in, repurpose jars and bottles instead.  They work just as well at keeping food fresh.  They're especially good for small amounts of leftovers or any leftover ingredients you didn't use up.


Tin Cans As Kitchen Containers

This is an easy way to keep counter tops clear and cupboard tidy.  Use empty tin cans as storage for utensils or to corral small kitchen items that would otherwise get lost.  If the cans have pretty labels you might want to keep them out on display.  Otherwise you might prefer to remove the labels and place them out of sight in a cupboard.


Boxes As Storage

Shoe boxes in particular are the perfect size for using on pantry shelves or in utility cupboards.  Even a standard cardboard box can help keep everything you need in the same place. They can all help keep cleaning suppliers tidy, food packages neat, or linen organised.


Small Boxes As Desk Organisers

If you have a messy desk or drawers, small boxes can be turned into desk organisers and drawer dividers to keep everything stored neatly.  Use them to group similar items together, and prevent them from getting mixed up.


Bottles As Candle Holders

A super easy use for empty bottles, particularly ones that previously held alcohol or cordial.  Certain brands have really lovely designs that look great as home decor.  Stick a candle in the top (you may need to trim the base to make it fit), and let the wax dribble down the sides.


Glass Jars As Vases

If you've ever been given a bunch of flowers and didn't have a vase to put them in, a glass jar is the perfect solution.  Keep a couple in different sizes for big and small bunches. Here are a few more ways to make use of glass jars.


Perfume Bottles As Stem Vases

If you have a few cut flowers but not a whole bunch you may need a stem vase that you don't have.  Perfume bottles make an excellent alternative.  These look super pretty on nightstands or in the bathroom.


Jars For Plant Propagation

Use jars to propagate cuttings from your houseplants.  These can also be gifted to friends and family who wish to grow their own collection of indoor plants.  Simply prune your plants, stick them in water, and watch them grow roots.


Paper Bags As Planters

If you have any cute paper bags from your favourite local shops, use them as decoration.  It's as simple as placing a plant inside the paper bag - just make sure you have the plant in a pot without a drainage hole in the bottom!


Cardboard Boxes As Dog Toys

Some of the most entertaining toys for our companions are the most simple and low waste.  Cardboard boxes make excellent enrichment toys.  Throw in some scrunched up paper, a few treats, and a toy or two then let your dog dig or sniff around in it.  Here are a few more zero waste dog toys.



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