Last Updated on June 26, 2023
Learn how to reuse plastic after going zero waste with these tips! A zero waste lifestyle obviously includes replacing plastic items with more sustainable materials. However, it defeats the purpose of consuming less if you get rid of it just to replace it. So what do you do with all of the plastic you accumulated before going zero waste??
Reducing, recycling, and reusing plastic is a hallmark of sustainable living. And once you’re aware of the harms of plastic in your food, it’s natural to want to get rid of all the old plastic containers in your kitchen. However, plastic reuse can be done outside the kitchen as well! These tips include what to do with old Tupperware as well as toilet brushes and other plastic items around your home!
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reuse plastic before throwing it out
I get asked this question all the time.
Throwing all of your old plastic away and getting all brand new eco friendly items would be contrary to the zero waste lifestyle. So it’s best to reuse plastic items around your home rather than tossing it all just to replace it. However, I completely understand wanting to ditch plastic around your food for health reasons.
I would highly recommend that you remove the plastic that touches your food. That doesn’t mean that you have to completely get rid of it though! I’ll show you what to do with old Tupperware to get the most out of it. These tips focus on a way to re-purpose them.
You can use plastic Tupperware in so many places that don’t involve holding food. I didn’t get rid of my plastic Tupperware when I went plastic-free, and I didn’t get rid of it when I went zero waste. Plastic reuse is a trademark of zero waste living because it keeps it out of landfills.
the importance of plastic reuse
I don’t think plastic itself is horrible. I think plastic is very important, and without it, we would not have made the strides we have in science and in medicine.
Plastic belongs in our society, but it does not belong to supplement our laziness.
Plastic will never go away. Every piece of plastic ever created still exists. It’s important that we remember that and treat it as such. It has its place, but single-use disposable items are not one of them.
I think it’s best to use the plastic items already in my life until they break or are no longer usable. If it’s not around my food, then I don’t view it as a huge health concern.
When I went plastic-free for health reasons, I had a lot of single-use plastic disposable items in my kitchen like plastic baggies.
I did give those away to friends who would have bought them anyways. I didn’t hold onto and use everything up. Some things I did part ways with. But, there are a couple of the plastic items still in my life.
Here’s what reusing plastic looks like in my home.
what to do with old tupperware
I keep a compost bucket in my freezer both at home and at work. I use large old Tupperware containers to hold it and transport it to my backyard compost. I obviously don’t mind if plastic touches my scraps, so this is a great way how to reuse plastic.
I brought several of my Tupperware containers to work for the kitchen. They often get used for leftovers and people take them home.
We use several of our old Tupperware containers in the garage where they hold all sorts of odds and ends. They can be used in the bathroom to hold bobby pins and hair ties. I even have two that hold jewelry in the bedroom.
Don’t forget about the junk drawer too. Yes, I still have a junk drawer to hold important do-dads like batteries, wires, and miscellaneous office supplies. I use a small container to hold expired batteries, so I can take all of them at once down to the battery recycling box at Best Buy.
reusing plastic odds and ends
I use a plastic bucket in my shower to catch water, which I haul out to the garden. I use the bucket for mopping and hand washing delicates too.
plastic storage containers:
I have had six large plastic laundry tubs that have traveled with me for over 10 years. They’ve always managed to store lots of stuff.
They’re stackable which makes them really convenient for hauling items during a move. Especially since we’ve moved 6 times in the last 4 years!
plastic organization boxes:
I have several of these under the bed, under sinks, and in the closet. I’ve had a lot of these travel with me all over the country.
plastic items you can’t reuse – and that’s ok
plastic toilet brush:
Once this one goes, I’m pretty excited about upgrading to one of the cool bamboo toilet brushes. Some places allow you to recycle your toilet brush, so check with your local municipality before sending it to a landfill!
This one is probably a shocker, but I have a set of melamine plates in my picnic basket. I use them for outdoor parties, camping, and occasionally a picnic. It’s simply not practical to take ceramics out on picnics.
I am currently typing this on a plastic computer. I have a plastic tv with a plastic PlayStation and plastic controllers. Plastic is still a part of my life, and that’s OK.
what are some other ways to reuse plastic?
Use your old plastic bags to carry your groceries instead of getting single use plastic bags every time. There are a number of gardening tasks you can complete with old plastic containers. The key is mindfulness: for each plastic item in your home, think of how else it can be used productively to reduce the demand for plastic and the need to make new purchases.
You can probably find a way to reuse plastic items in your home, no matter what it is.
isn’t the goal to be completely plastic free?
My goal in going plastic free is first and foremost for health reasons. My second goal has always been to reduce my consumption of plastic to rely less on the oil industry and to vote with my dollars.
It doesn’t mean plastic is going to magically disappear from my life. It’s about being a conscious consumer and being mindful of my choices.
Each choice we make has an impact. We get to choose what that impact is and what it says. Each purchase is a vote for the future you want to live in.
What plastic pieces do you still have in your home?