Creative Recycling of Common Household Items

TiC/ Aug 13, 2019/ Creative, Recycling/ 0 comments

According to research, we humans across the globe generate around 2.12 Billion TONS of waste every single year, and this figure is rising annually!! If all this waste was put on trucks and they were stood bumper to bumper, they would go around the world 24 times!

This is one of the reasons that we at TiC believe in recycling; in using previously-used goods to create some wonderful, creative, and beautiful products in the DAPD protective workshop.

We thought that we would share some more information with you around what can and cannot be recycled, as well as various creative recycling projects you can do at home which both you and your children will enjoy, so that you too can do your bit for the planet.

Common Household Items that Can be Recycled

Never assume the only possible destination for a used item is the rubbish bin – you may be surprised by just how many items you can reuse creatively. Even a simple plastic bottle can be turned into a garden sprinkler, a bird feeder or a watering can!

There are loads of everyday items, including (but by no way limited to) the following, that can be used in any number of ways:

  • Books
  • Bottle caps
  • Carpets
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Christmas trees
  • Clothes
  • Coffee grounds
  • Corks
  • Dryer sheets
  • Egg cartons
  • Glass bottles
  • Light bulbs
  • Mailing tubes
  • Old and damaged tiles
  • Paper rolls (from kitchen towel and toilet paper)
  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic Pots
  • Shoe boxes
  • Stale bread
  • Vegetable peels

The above is by no means a complete list, but it will give you a good idea of just how many items there are that have many uses beyond their original purpose.

Non-Recyclable Items

Unfortunately, there are also some items that are pretty much non-recyclable and have to just be tossed if you can’t find a secondary use for them.

Of course, the best way to reduce the environmental impact of these items, in some cases, is to try to refrain from using them wherever possible, replacing them instead with items that can be recycled.

  • Bubble wrap and packing “donuts”
  • Ceramics
  • Disposable nappies
  • Garden waste
  • Items tainted by food
  • Laminated paper
  • Mattresses
  • Mirrors
  • Plastic wrapping
  • Wood


Up-cycling is a way of recycling creatively, turning items that would otherwise be unused, into functional and useful items (like we do at Tic). The most common example of this is the re-use of wooden pallets that has enjoyed a resurgence recently, where many individuals very creatively turn them a variety of beautiful and useful items.

Up-cycling can also be done with many smaller items. Wine corks, for example, have myriad uses in up-cycling projects – creative individuals are turning them into candle holders, kitchen backboards, cork stamps, bathmats, plant labels, pin cushions, place-card holders, coasters, and even flooring.

Up-cycling can produce striking decorative items, or items that are merely practical, such as an upturned plastic bottle used to irrigate a plant pot while someone is away on holiday. Either way, the items get used again rather than being treated as waste.


Up-cycling, as described above, is becoming more and more popular, with some individuals even starting businesses around up-cycled items. Down-cycling is a recycling practice that involves breaking an item down into its component elements or materials. Once the constituent elements or materials are recovered, they are reused if possible but usually as a lower-value product.

Down-cycling usually happens on an industrial scale. Many everyday products that we think are recycled are actually being down-cycled. Most plastic, paper, and glass is down-cycled into lower quality products. For example, writing paper that is “recycled” is actually being down-cycled into printer paper. That printer paper can then be down-cycled into cardboard, which can then be down-cycled into toilet paper.

However, anyone looking how to make creative things from waste material at home will also find examples of down-cycling that work as personal projects, such as using old clothes as dusters or linings for pet beds or turning old CDs and DVDs into drinks coasters.

We will bring you more articles on re-cycling, down-cycling, and up-cycling, as well as some interesting creative projects that you can try yourself in the following months, so stay tuned in and don’t forget to come back to check regularly…

Source: Adapted from an article on

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