Recycling can be a whole lot more fun than just sorting your different types of trash by material every week. Old stuff can be transformed into all sorts of new stuff with a bit of imagination. We live in a society where consumerism has gone over the top when we really need to be going green. We replace things instead of fixing them and we chuck out perfectly good things all the t ime, sometimes just for the sake of fashion, instead of recycling them. The reality is that we need to stop sending millions of tons to landfill every year, when a lot of it can be recycled into things that are useful, decorative and fun.

Recycling is about lateral thinking. Repurposing things is a mindset, and as well as being a great thing to do if you’re going green it can also save you money. You just need to look at your junk from a different angle. What about that old pair of jeans with a broken zip and holes on the seat? Cut off the legs, stuff them with rags and sew up the ends. Hey presto – you have two funky draft excluders that will help you cut down on winter heating bills.

Sturdy boxes of any kind are ripe for recycling into something useful. Most of us are always looking for more, or more efficient, storage. By painting or decoupaging boxes you can create attractive storage containers to help declutter your home. Even small cardboard boxes can have a second life with a makeover. Cover them with scraps of used gift wrap paper and varnish, and you have personalized boxes for giving gifts in.

Plastic is one of the most important things that we need to be recycling, since most of it is made from petroleum products, which are non-renewable resources. Plastic containers can often be recycled for growing plants in. All you need to do is make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom. Even plastic soda bottles make cheap and cheerful plant containers. Cut a clear plastic bottle in half and you can also use the top as a bell cloche or propagator cover for protecting seedlings.

Plastic bags are the bane of the environment, but they can also be made into useful things. Cut them into strips and use them as plant ties. By twisting them and doubling them back you can make sturdy string for household use. You can even knit or crochet them into all sorts of handy items, from tote bags to garden kneeling pads to waterproof hats.

For a useful product from garbage you can’t do better than composting. Even if you live in an apartment you can use an indoor bokashi bin. A regular compost bin will allow you to recycle cardboard and organic fabric as well as organic waste, and will save you on buying in fertilizer for your garden. It’s no effort and you’ll really be turning it into new flowers and plants. That’s maybe the greenest transformation of trash you could ever achieve…

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