Tuesday, 29 July 2014

July Reuse-It Item - Pill Bottles

July's Reuse Item is pill bottles! These little things seem so useful, it's hard to throw them away, and we see loads of them coming through the Reuse Centre. Read on for some practical and unique ways of reusing this common household item!

Blog team member Emma thought this would be perfect for
Walking Dead or Hunger Games aficionados!

Waterproof and compact, prescription pill bottles are great re-purposed as a travel container. But even if you're not going far away, one would make a perfect little "emergency kit" for day to day. A few spare safety pins, needle, thread (or dental floss), and buttons, and you can fix and prevent a wardrobe malfunction. Include plaster bandages, allergy pills, and a rolled five dollar bill and you'll likely have all bases covered!


When pill bottles came up this month, I thought I was going to have a hard time coming up with something other than "put stuff in them", but you really can find anything on the internet!

Visit LilacPOP to see these and more jewellery ideas
Can you believe that these gorgeous earrings were made from cut up pill bottles? Check out this article on LilacPOP for more really fantastic examples of jewellery made from pill bottles, including necklaces and more earrings.

The examples on that blog are all made from orange bottles, but the Reuse Centre also sees plenty in blue, fluorescent green, and clear that would look great, too!


Always forgetting your key? Try keeping a spare somewhere covert with this awesome stealth key hide.
Simply glue a rock to the top of your pill bottle, close up your key inside, and push it down into the dirt. Now you just have to remember which rock it's under!

Visit Thrifty Fun for this and other great ideas.


Endless Columns art installation by Mary Ellen Croteau
When I see pill bottles, I think of handy ways to keep hair pins and craft supplies organized. When artist Mary Ellen Croteau sees them, however, she sees the potential for installation art.

Her ongoing "Endless Columns" collection, featuring plastic bottle caps, jar lids, pill bottles and other materials that aren't easily recycled, is a social critique and visual challenge for us to look at everyday things in a different way.

Visit her online gallery to see more photos and learn about this innovative art project.

What are your favourite ways to reuse pill bottles? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

June Reuse-It Item - Packing Peanuts

Getting something, especially a package in the mail is a lot of fun! And if you have a big enough box, you might be able to do this with the packing peanuts. If not, our June Reuse-It post gives quite a few ideas on how to reuse them, especially around the house.


I have to admit, I hadn't thought much about using packing peanuts for much other than packing, before this item came up on our list. I like practical reuse ideas, so I was really happy to find this list of ten uses for foam packing peanuts, by This Old House. Number 3 was my favourite: keep pointy ends safe! Jab the sharp ends of tools, scissors, and even stray pins into a packing peanut to create a handy little sheath. Next time you're rummaging in your toolbox or junk drawer, you needn't worry about hurting yourself on stray sharps. This is a great tip for households with kids.
Source: This Old House


When I was little, my mom made me a pumpkin costume for Halloween that I vaguely remember as being cute, but uncomfortably warm and heavy. I suppose that might have been due to the world's supply of cotton batting required to give my costume shape. I've recently learned that there's a better way to fill costumes without weighing them down: packing peanuts! Their bulk means that a little goes a long way, but their weight makes them perfect for achieving different effects, like adding six-pack abs to a superhero outfit or putting convincing "rice" on a sushi roll.

Source: The Pink Couch

Staring at my latest container gardening project, I cringed when I realized how hard it would be to move once filled with soil and plants. Packing peanuts to the rescue! Light weight and space filling, they are a great, cost-effective substitute for the bottom-lining gravel (added for drainage) and some of the soil.
Source: Reposhture Studio
How to:
  1. Place packing peanuts in a mesh bag (such as an old onion bag or nylon stockings). 
  2. Arrange bag(s) of peanuts in empty container to cover the entire bottom. Layer with more bags up to ¼ of container height.
  3. Lay a piece of gardening fabric over the bags.
  4. Add soil and plants as normal.
This method removes the major thorn on gardening forums about using peanuts - the hassle of removing them from the dirt when the container needs to be emptied. But because there is less weight and soil, you'll need to consider the following:
  1. Take care not to overload the container with tall plants (making it too top heavy)
  2. Make sure there is enough soil, according to the plants' minimum root depth
  3. Monitor moisture levels frequently

Source: athriftymrs.com

I found this lovely Christmas or all year round craft. It is quite simple. Using a needle, push through each peanut. After making many strands, hang them like a curtain. I would also suggest draping this around the Christmas tree or a chandelier.
- Reuse Centre Volunteers