When I think of recycling, I think of the saying: “…one man’s junk is another man’s treasure…” Yes, I recycle–put out glass, plastics, paper, and yard waste. But there are many ways to recycle beyond our city’s definition of recycling.

Recycle By Reusing Household Items

  • Quilt pieces: When your sheets are past their prime, you can still use the outer portion of the sheet to cut quilt pieces. You can save a bundle on buying quilt squares. If you want to make a gift of the quilt squares, cut a batch of 12″ squares, press, fold and tie with a nice ribbon. Quilt pieces make great quality gifts.
  • Plant Starts: Trim your plants, but don’t toss the clippings. Start new plants. Use some of the new plants to make plant gift baskets.

Recycle Greeting Cards

You can make several new items by recycling greeting cards:

  • Wall Art. Cut the front half of a greeting card. Use extra frames you have around the house, or buy a gently used frame from a thrift store. Place the front of the greeting card in the frame and you have some new household decor, or another gift.
  • Gift Bags. Cut the front half of a greeting card. Use glue dots on all four corners to glue the greeting card front to the front of a gently-used gift bag. Add a couple appliqués, and you have a custom-decorated gift bag.
  • Note Pads. Use smaller greeting cards for notebook covers. Cut the front and back halves of the greeting card to the desired size. Cut recycled paper to the same size. (Or if you are giving as a gift, spring for blank paper.) Cut paper to size. Bind notebook. (You can use glue strips across the top, spiral, or metal key ring loops.)
  • Card Stock Paper. If you do a lot of paper crafting and have left over card stock, you can create speciality greeting cards using a “cricut expression”. If you don’t have a cutting machine, check with your local craft stores. Artco Craft in Tacoma allows the use of their die cutting machine.
  • Bookmarkers. You can use scraps of card stock to make bookmarkers. Cut strips 1 – 1 1/4″ x 4″. Laminate. Punch a whole in the middle of the strip at the top. Tie a cord or ribbon through the whole.


Comic strips are great for wrapping paper for gifts for young and old; they add a little whimsy. You can also use someone’s favorite comic strip to decorate and personalize a gift bag.

Lids From Aerosol Cans

Plastic aerosol can lids make a cute base for a small centerpiece. Place craft foam inside the lid. Add artificial flowers.

Use your imagination before tossing things in the trash. Recycling can be a lot of fun and definitely saves you money. You can make money by selling items at local farmer’s markets.