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To reuse or not to reuse, that is the question.

I like to take old unwanted or broken things and turn them into something useful. I have been teaching my pack of tiny humans to do the same. I was recently told that this practice is disgusting. The reason being that I am teaching them to be scavengers and act like bums. Now I am curious, how does the rest of the world view this topic? Also if you would like to leave any suggestions in the comments about ways to repurpose things, I would be much obliged. Thank you for your time.
I would like to add a side note. In general I don't teach the kids to go scrounging through the landfill. But I do teach them that if they ever find themselves in a desperate situation, not to overlook a valuable resource because it is used. We go to our local thrift stores and we find things at yard sales. We reuse old broken toys as planters in the garden. We save our coffee grounds and orange peels and egg shells for the garden also. We find things on our walks that have been tossed on the ground, a button or bright rhinestone, and use them for art projects. We learn about the local plant life that can be eaten and which ones to avoid. I just showed them today what a hazelnut tree looks like. ?

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By Byrd7
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53 comments (26 - 50)

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The social taboo of being resourceful needs to go. Our planet is covered in disposable everything.

ThisGuy Level 6 Aug 22, 2018

As Bob the builder said "Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!"

CeliaAnne Level 6 Aug 22, 2018


I'm all for reusing and repairing items. Consumerism isn't healthy the way we've developed it in the US at least.

I see that even extends to photos of yourself. What was your face - a couple of chess boards? ?


I am amazed at how wasteful and thoughtful we as a species are and have absolutely no shame in harvesting the bounty of other peoples foolishness. Amongst the most ridiculously valuable things I've been involved in scrounging are the laser head from a skin specialists dumpster, value over $500 they have a precision cut ruby in them, sold it back to the manufacturer after they contacted the skin specialist to make sure it wasn't stolen (they also gave him a lecture on the fact that these things were meant to be recycled.) The other was a number of 100 year old proceedings of the State Engineers Society with full pull out plans of major projects of the time, that had been chucked out for the quarterly council clean up, and the State Library didn't even have copies of some of them.

Have also been known to scrounge firewood, outdoor furniture, all sorts of things. Continue teaching your kids to be less wasteful rather than good little consumers. Keep up the good work!

Kimba Level 7 Aug 22, 2018

Yikes. The library thing. An analogy on how easy to see how thousands of years of history can be chucked right out the door

A brilliant story. It reminds of something heard 40 years ago of a disgruntled employee who stole from his employer. He promised all the gold connections out of machinery and walked out of the factory with a matchbox full of gold leaving the employer with a very expensive repair bill on all the equipment.


I can find a use for many discarded things. I rebuild,reweld,repurpose,reinvent. Sometimes for economics, always for the challenge! of my projects!

bubaj50 Level 7 Aug 22, 2018

If you're teaching your kids how not to be wasteful humans, and how to reuse items that would normally end up going to waste in a landfill, please feel free to
tell anyone who has a problem with it to go fuck themselves.

I reuse and repurpose things all the time. I draw the line at dumpster diving for
food because I personally cannot get past the fact that it's in a dumpster. However,
I'm pretty sure that if I were starving, I'd get over it. I'll let you know if that ever happens.
I have known people who do that. It didn't seem to bother them at all.

Raise your small humans however you see fit. Sounds like they are healthy, happy, and being raised intelligently.
Tell anyone who feels otherwise that if they aren't willing to support your children financially, and in all other ways, they don't get to have an opinion.
Or you can just tell them to fuck right off. Whichever. smile001.gif

KKGator Level 9 Aug 22, 2018

How to reuse and repurpose whenever possible I don't own a Keurig either.

oldFloyd Level 7 Aug 22, 2018

What's a Keurig, please?

@FrayedBear a ridiculously complicated way to make one cup of coffee, with lots of waste.


It is not disgusting . Do they think you're climbing into a restaurants dumpster ? Reusing and repurposing are good ways to pinch pennies and come away with useful items and even beautiful art. Keep up the good work??.

kltuckmn Level 7 Aug 22, 2018

We need to hone and teach survival skills.
I salute you.


That's really cool you're doing that. I have re-used much of an old saggy deck and pool frame into the new deck I built in its place. All of the old balusters were trimmed, puttied and repainted for use in the new deck, as well as the joists that could be salvaged. It's very gratifying!

Byrdsfan Level 8 Aug 22, 2018

A friend of mine was doing some volunteer work in India. They gave the kids a balloon and when it burst they cried "can`t you fix it?" For them the concept of such a disposable item was alien. Everything in their lives fixable or reusable.

273kelvin Level 8 Aug 22, 2018

Not the experience that I had with visiting Nigerians at a New Year's Eve party at a private college just north of Preston. They thought that it was the height of pleasure to make them go bang by jumping on the balloons at the start of the party but blown up and hung for decoration

They didn't do the hanging and inflation either!


With a limited income I repurpose things all the time. No dumpster diving for me, if I got in one I don't think I could get back out. If I see something interesting I may stop or I'll ask others for items.
I'm now making some wind chimes from wine and liquor bottles, small jars, deer antler, extra fishing line and aluminum sheet. Just to have something to do and to see if I can do it.

MacTavish Level 7 Aug 22, 2018

I guess it depends how you are acquiring the items you're repurposing. Goodwill, thrift stores, garage sales are okay. Dumpster diving, not okay.

Some of my best scores came from dumpster diving near dorms and apartments in college towns right after finals.

@Coleman I got some good stuff that was sitting curbside after the spring semester ended. Most of the stuff was good, they just didn't want to mess with moving it or didn't have room for it at their parents home.


I love making things from other broken things its the best thing ever!

jacpod Level 8 Aug 30, 2018

It’s a good thing to reuse.

Suzique99 Level 4 Aug 26, 2018

I love to repurpose objects or use them in my crafts projects. That's why I have an entire room of bins of various 'ingredients' such as fabric scraps, or glitter, or glues, or......


I used to cut up cereal boxes to make bookmarks. I pretty soon realised I would have more bookmarks than books so stopped!

I used to do that. I'd carefully cover them with clear tape ( to better preserve them.

If you have a garden use them for mulch, worm farms or weed control.

Also fill with seedling mix and plant with seeds in them to grow.


One mans trash is another mans treasure. If you can re-purpose something that someone else doesn't want, GREAT! There is a thing called planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence. If we consume as much materials in the US as much as the rest of the world, it's estimated that you'd need 4-5 Earths. Most of the tings we buy don't last more than 6 months before they are thrown out. Apple is notorious for downgrading their iPhones to make people buy new ones...


I love the way you use and reuse..we do the same....its fun too!

Hitchens Level 8 Aug 23, 2018

We live in a consumer culture that frowns on buying used, and repairing what is supposed to be our own devices. This has to go. Though I never really have taken it up, I've known tons of people who dumpster dive, and much of it has been both for surviving and as a practice of depending on consumer culture.

thexter Level 5 Aug 23, 2018

It depends on what you reuse or repurpose.

Ex-spouses are the hardest IMO.


When i lived in japan, i would save plastic containers that had contained, oh, say, yoghurt, or margarine, and use them to store leftovers, or nails, or paper clips, or whatever. my japanese friends thought i was a genius. they'd been throwing them away and then going out and buying the japanese version of tupperware! i save jars -- any foodstuffs that come in boxes are susceptible to bugs, and that goes double for grains, so i seal that all up in jars. i just ground up some coffee beans that came in bags. i put my fresh grounds in an empty french fried onion container, and i put the leftover whole beans in jars. i use egg cartons to start seedlings indoors before planting season. jeans ripped beyond repair? patch material for stuff that CAN be repaired! i even made a quilt once, but i'm no good at it lol. pill bottles? i made beaded jewelry; beads can be sorted and stored in those bottles. yeah, i am big on containers, and i do use them -- i don't just save them. i go to adult daycare with my alzheimer's-afflicted fiancé, and sometimes the lunch they provide is either short on veggies or long on white bread. when i know this in advance i use a nice, sturdy saved container that once had something else in it to bring a salad along to eat with the provided lunch. i have even repurposed ugly prints on canvas, since fresh canvas is so expensive and i like to paint! and i had a cat, now gone, alas, having succumbed to a brain tumor, whose favorite toy was a nose spray bottle he stole from me! once i discovered his love for such things, i made sure not to throw the bottles away when i was done, but instead rinse them and let him play with them to his heart's content. orange peel you say? soak in white vinegar to make a wonderful nontoxic cleaning fluid! egg shells you say? calcium for the garden -- and those coffee grounds acidify the soil so your pink hydrangeas can blossom blue! we compost all our other discardable vegetable matter (even some kinds of paper); we don't have to pay for plant food.

i always wrap birthday and chanukah presents in pictures i cut from old magazines and catalogues (yes, i recycle the remains). tubs that have no lids? poke holes in the bottom: instant planters!

and what's wrong with a little judicious scavenging anyway? in japan, people would throw away entire sets, like 40 pieces, of china in perfect condition, and rocking chairs, and book shelves -- i missed out on a wok once (someone else grabbed it). it's not as if i rummaged through icky garbage; there were special locations to throw out furniture and stuff. i think the only furniture i had in my house that wasn't acquired from one of those sites was my fridge and my bed! (oh, i miss my rocking chairs!) as for thrift stores, what could be better than helping the cause of your choice AND finding a bargain? some of us can't afford to buy new things (and some of us prefer old things anyway -- the workmanship is often far superior!) garage sales/yard sales help the individual sellers and you can find such treasures.

by far the most valuable treasures i ever found were my cat wafer, discarded at the age of 10 days in a deep gutter the night before a hurricane, and my cat wasabi, thrown into a trash can with his tail broken and his nose dripping green goo from the respiratory infection that almost killed him. someone threw these two treasures away and they gave me joy for almost 15 years each.


genessa Level 8 Sep 2, 2018

I love going to the dumps amazing what you can find .

Besalbub Level 7 Aug 25, 2018

Sounds like your town needs to develop social and entertainment activities for its citizens or do the local councillors think that the traffic lights on main street and local churches are all that is needed?

@FrayedBear I don't live in a town and we don't need any traffic lights and unfortunetly have too many churches .

@Besalbub Agh! Even worse a rural council and churches. You have my sympathy.


Whoever has Lulu please give her back, I need to paint her nails.

I do try to repurpose old stuff but I am not much good with diy tools. But recycling is big here in the UK, which is brilliant.

Like most things, using tools is a learned skill.


Like always adding a comment withou polling. I never stop using a woman because she was broken!

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