Repair and Repurpose – Tips
To get the most for your money and lighten their impact on the earth, buy products that can be upgraded, repaired and repurposed, so you can get full use of them for a long time. All products and packages contain ’embedded’ materials and energy that went into making them. They will go to waste if you dispose or even recycle or compost them prematurely.
Look for opportunities to repair rather than replace. Get those creative juices flowing and find ways to repurpose products and packages for a brand new use.
Fix It, Don’t Trash It!
Repair belongings so they will stick around a long time instead of dying a premature death in a landfill. Support local repair shops and check out the Fixers Collectives that are now springing up in some areas. Try your hand at fixing things yourself. If you’re like our ‘Junky’ Jacquie, you’ll have a great day when you find you can fix something yourself that a pro tells you is beyond repair.
Make Your Smartphone Last Longer
Americans keep their smartphones for an average of about two years before upgrading, but here are some ways to make your smartphone last longer:
- Check out the free repair manuals from iFixit.com, or if the problem requires a more experienced eye, iCracked will send techs to your home or business to fix your phone
- Replace the battery when your phone starts struggling to stay charged
- Buy a protective case, such as Otterbox or LifeProof, to shield your smartphone from damage
- Install a screen protector to minimize scratches and cracks
- When your smartphone is at its end, trade it in to services like Gazelle and receive cash back
Revamp Your Wardrobe
So sure that an old shirt can’t be used for anything else but a shirt? Make that shirt last longer by transforming it into different styles of dresses and skirts instantly.
Have a bunch of old unflattering t-shirts? There are many tutorials on YouTube that can help give new life to an old shirt. On the other hand, take that old shirt and make an awesome new bag. Use a pair of old jeans to the max by turning them into your new favorite pair of shorts.
UPCYCLE OR REPURPOSE
Get creative with products that can no longer be used for their original purpose. Many items can be repurposed, or even upcycled into something new and different. Pinterest and Etsy are great places to find inspiration for DIY repurposing and upcycling projects. Speaking of repurposing projects…link here to check out over 50 uses for Mason Jars.
Put That Old Toothbrush to Work
Despite their small size, toothbrushes account for a whole lot of waste. According to Discovery News every year about 450 million toothbrushes make their way into landfills. Wow. Instead of tossing old toothbrushes when the bristles start to flatten out, Waste Watcher Fredrica Rudell uses them as household scrub brushes.
The small brush head is perfect for cleaning around sink faucets and in between tile grout. To take your commitment to fighting toothbrush waste even further, check out these compostable, bamboo alternatives here. Now that’s a waste-saving tip you can really smile about!
A New Life For Starbucks Cups
Did you know that Starbucks’ plastic cups make great mobile containers? John Sims washes and dries the cups out then uses them to carry his earbuds and power cord for his cellphone on-the-go! You can also try using them for on-the-go snacks like dried fruit and nuts.
Creatively Repurpose Two Window Shutters
Have you ever noticed that window shutters are the perfect shape and height for a shelving unit? Ilene made a unique hand-crafted storage unit from two window shutters to help keep her home being overrun by clutter. It’s a fun and easy project that can prevent perfectly good window shutters from winding up in landfill. Click here to read more about Ilene’s shutter project.
Make Old CDs & DVDs into Coasters
Thanks to the popularity of iTunes, CDs and DVDs have become virtually obsolete. While you may not want to use these discs for listening to music or watching movies, they can serve as wonderful beverage coasters for your home. For advanced crafters, here are some ideas for decorating your coasters.
Upcycle Metal Goods into Jewelry
Metal cutlery and wire can be upcycled into unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry for any occasion. Katie goes so far as to suggest using rings made from repurposed spoons and other items as alternatives to traditional engagement rings. Read more about rings made from spoon handles and other interesting materials in Katie’s post Is It Time to Rethink Diamond Engagement Rings?
Repurpose Retro Music Formats
Upcycle old cassettes or vinyls into jewelry, ornaments, picture frames, placemats, and more. This is Kate Gloede’s favorite hobby. Check out all her creative ideas in her post Rock On! New Ways to Repurpose Retro Music Formats
Repurpose Your Smartphone and Its Cover
Don’t let your old smartphone become e-waste – it’s a repurposing gem! Even without cellular service it has lots of functioning apps and can connect to WiFi like a mini-computer. Download educational games and other kid-friendly apps and hand it to your children for some high tech playtime (an excellent distraction for long car rides). Or you can keep it for yourself to stream music, watch Netflix, or read eBooks. Mount it in the kitchen as a digital cookbook. Or save memory and battery on your new phone and let your old one function solely as a digital camera.
The pre-iPhone5 covers that don’t fit the newer models can also be repurposed. To get you started with some tips and inspiration, check out Jacquie Ottman’s post How to Creatively Repurpose Your Soon-to-be-Obsolete iPhone Covers.