Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle Tips

Read these 41 Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Thrifty tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Where can I donate items?

Prescription/Pill Bottles for Donation

Prescription or pill bottles are saved because there are some countries that are so “poor” that they can't afford prescription bottles. Over here, it is illegal to re-use prescription bottles. But in these other countries, they don't have these laws, because they need all of the help that they can get! Please mail them to Amvet's Post 208, Ladies Auxiliary, 5 South Street, Hudson, MA 01749 and mention the name Deirdre so that they know how you heard about them.

Where can I donate items?

Cancelled Stamps for Donation

Cancelled stamps from the post office, only the stamp, not the part with the date, are somehow used as money to help purchase school buses in under developed countries. Not sure of the entire process, but this is why the Auxiliary collects them. Please mail them to Amvet's Post 208, Ladies Auxiliary, 5 South Street, Hudson, MA 01749 and mention the name Deirdre so that they know how you heard about them.

What can I use baking soda for?

Cleaning Your Dishwasher

Add a tablespoon or two of baking soda to your dishwasher before starting wash cycle to remove odors.
Doing this also increases cleaning power and makes inside sparkle.

Where can I donate items?

Used Greeting Cards for Donation

Used greeting cards, the front part with the picture on it, are used in the schools and children's hospitals. The children make their own cards with them, ornaments, and other crafts with them. Please mail to Amvet's Post 208, Ladies Auxiliary, 5 South Street, Hudson, MA 01749 and mention the name Deirdre so that they know how you heard about them.

Can toothpaste really be used as a cleaner?

Toothpaste as a Cleaner

Why spend money on expensive cleaners when all you need is a tube of toothpaste? Try it to: polish silver and gold, remove crayon marks from walls, remove ink spots from cloth, remove fruit punch "moustaches" from kids, deodorize smelly hands, remove scuffs from shoes, and fill holes in walls.

How can I recycle my clothing?

Dress for Success

Go to to learn more about donating your business clothing to Dress for Success, a not-for-profit agency that helps low-income women get back into the workforce.

How can I re-use my Chrstmas cards?

Christmas Card Re-Use

Use a discarded paper box and paste old Christmas cards to all visible sides, including the lid. Cover it with clear contact paper for a smooth finish. Put the Christmas present inside; add a ribbon if you wish.

Where can I donate my old prescription glasses?


Your old prescription glasses may be able to help someone else see. If your local eyeglass store doesn't collect and redistribute them, conact your local Lens Crafters or Lions Club (

What´s another use for baking soda?

Tea Stained Mugs

Is your tea staining your mugs? Well wet the inside of the mug and sprinkle some baking soda all over the inside. Let it sit for a while, rinse, and then wash as you would normally wash. This should do the trick, unless the mug is really stained, then you may need to do it two or more times, or let the baking soda stay on longer.

How can I save special artwork?

Storing Special Artwork

Save paper towel tubes for storing special drawings or pictures.

Where can I donate items?

Expired Coupons for Donation

Expired Coupons, up to 6 months past expiration date, are saved and sent to military bases all over the world! The Auxiliary sends them to the bases that only used expired coupons up to 6 months past their expiration date. Then, these bases take out the ones that they don't want/need, and then pass them on to the bases that can use them up to a year past the expiration date. Please send your expired coupons to Amvet's Post 208, Ladies Auxiliary, 5 South Street, Hudson, MA 01749 and mention the name Deirdre so that they know how you heard about them.

Can I wash tin foil to re-use it?

Tin Foil

Did you know that you can re-use tin foil? You can! If it has food stains, wash it dry it and store it for another use.

What can I do with my fabric scraps?

Fabric Scraps for Wrapping

Fabric scraps can be used for wrapping presents. Use it like paper, or make into gift bags. You can make a more formal, structured gift bag, or simply make a drawstring bag. Or, cut out shapes from the design of the fabric, and use to decorate gifts wrapped in plain brown paper. You can also tear the fabric into strips, and use it as ribbon.

How can I re-use a milk jug?

Berry Picking Aid

When picking blue berries and black berries, take empty milk jugs, cut off the spout and down a few inches on the side opposite the handle to make a large opening. Thread your belt through the handle of the milk jug so the jug hangs from your waist. This will free both hands to pick the berries and prevent you from having to constantly move a bucket along. Best of all, no constant bending.

How can I re-use CDs that I don´t want?

AOL (and other) CDs

Do you feel bad about throwing away all of those promotional CDs that you get in the mail from AOL and other internet providers? Well, look no further. You can go to and find out how to mail yours in to be brought back to the company that they came from, or you can go to and see how others have creatively re-used their CDs.

Where can I donate items to?

Aluminum Can Tabs for Donation

These are used for the Shriner's Hospital, which is a hospital for burn patients. After the tabs are collected, the tabs are put through a special magnet to remove impurities, and then each batch is visually checked by volunteers. The tabs are barreled up, weighed and redeemed for cash. The money is used by the Shriner's for items not included in their burn center's budget, such as bookcases, wheelchairs and high chairs. Please send these to Amvet's Ladies Auxiliary, 5 South Street, Hudson, MA 01749 and mention the name Deirdre, so that they know where they came from.

Where can I donate items?

Boxtops for Education - for Donation

Boxtops for Education are sent off to schools that are in desperate needs of supplies and/or equipment. There are some schools out here that can't even afford paper. Now that these dumb politicians want to cut more money from education, they are going to need more help than before. Please mail them to Amvet's Post 208 Ladies Auxiliary, 5 South Street, Hudson, MA 01749 and mention the name Deirdre so that they know how you heard about them.

How can I re-use old jeans?

Old Jeans

Using an old pair of jeans, make a book cover, complete with a pocket from the jeans on the front for note cards and pens. You can cut a piece of an old bandana and sew it above the pocket to make it look like it was stuffed in the pocket.

What can I do with old socks?

Old Socks

Use old socks to dust blinds, clean mirrors and windows, or buff up your shoes.

What can I do with old blue jeans?

Jeans Quilt

Old jeans, especially those with pockets, can be pieced together for a great teen quilt, comforter, or throw pillow.

How can I re-use an umbrella?

Inexpensive & Easily Stored Drying Rack

An inexpensive and easily stored drying rack for lingerie and other small items can be made from an old umbrella. Simply remove the fabric from the fram, bind any rough edges with tape and hang by the handle.

Where can I donate my cell phone?

Cell Phones

DONATE A PHONE® program recycles used wireless phones to help the environment and raise funds for a variety of charities. Most phones are resold as economical alternatives to new phones. The rest are safely recycled in accordance with all applicable U.S. environmental regulations. Go to to find out more!

How can I re-use a plastic drink bottle?

Plastic Drink Bottles

Use the top half of a plastic soda bottle to make a disposable funnel. Take that cap off of the bottle, and then cut it to the funnel size that you want. The part that you used to drink out of acts as the funnel.

How can I re-use a milk jug?

Wind Chimes

Use as the base to make an interesting wind chime with other products that you're re-using/recycling (cans, bottles, jars, etc.) You can even paint them for some added flare, or leave them their natural colors.

How can I re-use a milk jug?

Make a pinwheel

You can cut out a flat panel of the milk container to make a pinwheel. Of course, you can paint it any color that you want, or leave it natural.

What can I do with a plastic lid for a container that I´ve lost?

Plastic Lids

If you've ruined a plastic container or simply lost it and you have an extra lid without something to put it on, try cutting away half the rim and using it as a bowl scraper.

What can I do with leftover wallpaper?

Leftover Wallpaper

Use leftover wallpaper scraps to line drawers and shelves.

What can I use to collect sea shells?

Collect Your Treasures

Re-use mesh onion bags as a great place to put all of the beach goodies that you`ve collected (sea shell, ocean glass, etc.). This would probably work best with the larger mesh onion bags, but you could put some of the smaller ones together and get a similar effect.

What can I do with the cotton that comes inside of pill bottles?

Cotton Balls

Instead of throwing away the cotton that comes in a bottle of pills, use it. Save it in the same bag as all of your regular cotton balls, so you remember to use it the next time you need a cotton ball.

How can I re-use my mailbox?\


Mailboxes can be re-used as bread boxes. Get creative and paint them and/or add crafty materials.

How can I re-use a milk jug?

Bird Feeders

Rinse out an empty plastic gallon milk jug w/lid. Cut a window in front of the jug, and make 2 small poke holes for the perches. Insert pencils for perches and fill the bottom of the jug with birdseed.

How can I re-use a milk jug?

Make stencils

Use the heavy plastic to cut out different shapes for stencils.

How can I re-use a mesh bag?

Use as a Pot Scrubber

Re-use mesh vegetable bags by cutting the bag in fourths and wadding it up for use as a pot scrubber.

Should I recycle my cans?

Recycle Cans

Don't throw away your soda/beer cans - they could be worth money! Each state has different procedures, so check with your local recycling center to find out more. Some states pay you by the pound, and other states pay you back the deposit fee that you paid when you purchased the item.

How can I save on plastic and paper lunch bags?

Lunch bag re-use

Save and reuse plastic sandwich bags and paper lunch bags. Depending on what was stored in the plastic bag previously, you may want to wash it before re-using it.

What can I do with scrap fabric?

Fabric Scraps

You can make hair accessories, such as scrunchies, with scrap fabrics.

What can I do with my scrap metal?

Scrap Metal

Look in the yellow pages under scrap metal for vendors who will buy the metal items you might otherwise throw away. Call around for the best price.

What can I do with the tabs from aluminum cans?

Aluminum Can Tabs

Use the tabs off aluminum cans to hang pictures. Just tack them to the back of the frame, or glue on with a hot glue gun.

Is there anything that I can do to revive an old pillow?

Give an Old Pillow a New Look

Wrap an old throw pillow in material, gathering the front with a rubber band, poof it, then put the loose ends under the rubber band for a rosette.

What can I do with aluminum foil?

Aluminum Foil Scouring Pads

Crumpled up, used aluminum foil is ideal for scouring pots and pans.

How can I re-use a plastic drink bottle?

Make a Mask

Make a heavy-duty mask for kids.

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Lynda Moultry