Use and Reuse
October 1993

“Use and Reuse,” Ensign, Oct. 1993, 64–65

Use and Reuse

There are many ways recycling can help us save money and reuse items that would otherwise be discarded.

Metals are among the easiest items to reuse. Scrap metal dealers will pay for aluminum cans and siding, copper and steel tubing, cast iron pipe, and old automobile radiators and batteries. Old gold, silver, and brass are salable because they can be melted down into new forms. In addition to ridding ourselves of debris, we can also benefit by collecting metals as a fund-raiser for special projects or school groups.

Paper products are biodegradable, meaning they break down into a form that can be reabsorbed into the ground. Old newspapers, cardboard boxes, and office and computer paper can be sold to waste paper companies on a per pound basis, then reprocessed. Newspaper drives are a great way to help dispose of accumulated papers.

Plastic is the most commonly manufactured material in modern time. It is not biodegradable, but due to environmental and consumer demand, certain types of plastic (such as milk cartons and soda pop bottles) can now be recycled. Some grocery stores will even recycle plastic grocery bags. Finding other uses for plastics is an excellent way to recycle them. For example, five-gallon containers used by soft drink manufacturers and plastic storage bins used by commercial bakeries are ideal for food storage projects.

In the home there are numerous ways common household items can be recycled.

  • Cut old carpeting into small rugs for use in other areas around the house or garage.

  • Remake lace tablecloths into curtains.

  • Sew used cotton or chintz curtains into throw pillows.

  • Cut soft, absorbent fabrics or towels into rags.

  • Remake used clothing into new outfits, such as an old jacket into a new vest or old sheets into play clothes.

  • Replace dry-cell batteries with rechargeable ones.

In the yard you can also find ways to recycle.

  • Make a compost pile in a warm, sunny spot in the yard by layering grass clippings, dead leaves, wood chips, and vegetable peels with dirt. Turn the mixture occasionally with a shovel. Eventually you will have an excellent mulch for flower or vegetable gardens.

  • Use old newspapers between rows of vegetables in the garden to help the soil retain moisture and to inhibit weed growth.

Of course, there are many more ways we can recycle things around us. Becoming aware is the first step. With some thought, planning, and common sense, we can learn to utilize our resources better and preserve our environment for future generations.—Lori Young Nay, Louisiana, Missouri