They have the tools to tap into our brains. Designers, advertisers and marketers have hacked into the nooks and crannies of our subconscious leaving us with soaring inventories of stuff. From household cleaners, to health remedies, to garden aides, we are bombarded with new products promising solutions and swathed in excessive packaging.
Fortunately, more eco-minded inventors are designing green products that offer redemption, or at least a lighter ecological footprint. But, the true road to salvation starts before we make the next purchase. By repurposing cast-offs into multi-functional household items, we can convert disposables into indisposables that cost pennies, but are worth a small fortune to our planet.
GET CRACKING ON EGGCELLENCE
Eggs have clever packaging with a multitude of reuses for indoors and out.
You don’t need to walk on eggshells, but scattering them in the garden deters slugs, snails, cutworms and deer without using nasty pesticides.
Recycle unsalted cooking water from hardboiled eggs. The calcium-rich water is the perfect booster juice for tomatoes, potatoes and peppers.
A little egg on your face makes an awesome facial. Whisk pulverized egg shells with an egg white, apply and allow mask to dry before rinsing off.
Reduce coffee bitterness by adding an eggshell to your coffee filter. Once you’ve finished your cup of joe, toss grounds, shells and bio-degradable filter into the compost bin.
Scour bottles or vases with crushed eggshells and soapy water. Simply swirl, shake and swab. Crushed eggshells can also be used as a nontoxic abrasive on pots and pans.
Keeping crushed eggshells in your kitchen sink strainer traps solids which gradually break up and naturally clean on their way down the drain.
Make and Take
Start seedlings indoors in eggshell pots. Using natural, biodegradable containers to coax seedlings to develop provides calcium for the soil, reduces waste and does not disturb delicate roots in the relocation process.
Peel great knowing you have rescued citrus cast-offs from landfill purgatory.
Disinfect a cutting board by rubbing the cut side of a lemon over the surface. The same principle will also remove stains from non marble or granite countertops.
Polish brass and copper pots with lemon juice and a little salt, rinse with cool water, then dry with a soft cloth.
Boil lemon wedges, cinnamon sticks and cloves in water to neutralize cooking odors.
Brighten whites with ½ cup lemon juice to the wash cycle of a regular-size laundry load.
Keep your sink disposal smelling fresh with citrus peels.
Whiten fingernails by rubbing a lemon wedge on the surface of your nails.
Repurpose a citrus mesh bag into a pot scrubber. Wad the mesh into a ball, add soap and water, and scrub away.
Soften hardened brown sugar by adding citrus peels to container.
Have your bowl and eat it too. Fill lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit slices with flavored gelatin for a fresh take on summer desserts. Remove pulp from fruit and combine gelatin and 1 cup boiling water and mix until dissolved. Add ¾ cup cold water and mix. Pour into rinds. Refrigerator 2-3 hours and cut fruit into slices with a sharp, non-serrated knife.
Make and Take
Upcycle orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime halves into organic jardinières. Add jute or sisal to convert the citrus containers into hanging bird feeders.
Olive oil as a must-have household and beauty product. Who knew?
Use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to zipper teeth to relieve a stuck closure.
Scrub hands covered in paint, sap or other sticky substance with olive oil and a little salt or sugar to remove the unwanted mess, leaving your skin soft and exfoliated.
Remove makeup with a cotton ball dabbed with olive oil. Olive oil also soothes itchy, burning, irritated skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles without clogging pores.
Remove dust and shine furniture with olive oil. Add a teaspoon to a quarter cup of lemon juice, and you’ve got a non-toxic polish that gently cleans wood surfaces.
Buff olive oil onto leather shoes, gloves, car seats and saddles with a cloth to restore and clean.
Dab a cotton ball with olive oil and wipe squeaky door hinges to lubricate and relieve creaks.
Buff stainless steel appliances with olive oil and a clean, soft cloth.
Relieve itchy throats and lessen snoring with a tablespoon of olive oil to lubricate the back of the mouth and tonsil area.
Dab olive oil onto a sticker, label or chewing gum, let it sit for a few minutes and the annoying culprit will peel right off.
Warm olive oil in a warm water and place a few drops into an ear to relieve an ache. Infuse the oil with a crushed garlic clove to cure ear infections.
Apply a few tablespoons of warmed olive oil to damp hair to condition the scalp and soften hair. Massage into scalp and rub through the ends, then leave it on for thirty minutes to an hour.
Make and Take
Don’t throw away that olive oil container. Upcycle them into knife caddies or whisk up a clock.
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