It’s a new year, and with that change in the calendar comes new goals, fresh starts, and lasting hope for what the coming months will bring. While sticking to those sweeping resolutions can get challenging beyond January, there are still plenty of ways to enact small, manageable changes into your daily routine. So why not start with some acts of kindness for your home and the planet?
According to the EPA, 146.2 million tons of trash ended up in U.S. landfills in 2018, with that trend increasing each passing year. And over 17 million tons of that waste came from textiles alone! Put simply, the need to offset this rise in waste production is greater than ever, and is an undertaking that we take seriously at Linda Cabot Design – we have committed our business to a zero-waste promise, and use every last bit of scrap fabric to make something beautiful.
Sustainable living starts with personal commitments like these, and so we thought we’d share some of our favorite ideas for repurposing common household waste materials – from unwanted clothes and excess fabrics, to leftover shipping boxes and plastic shopping bags. Read on for some simple, creative ways to practice sustainability in 2021, and ensure that something new comes out of something old.
LEFTOVER CLOTHES AND FABRICS
Starting with some materials that are particularly close to our hearts; here are some creative ways to repurpose leftover textiles!
1. Practical projects. There are plenty of new household items you can make out of old, unwanted clothes or excess fabrics from other crafting projects. A few easy tutorials that have caught our eye:
- An on-the-go pouch to carry your phone.
- A small tissue holder to keep in your purse or bag.
- A wraparound bookmark that adds some color to your latest read.
- Some eye-popping shoelaces for adults and kids alike.
- A super cute stuffed animal sleeping bag to keep your child’s toys snug.
2. Deck the walls. Artmaking is a mindful, soothing practice, and is another great opportunity for repurposing leftover fabrics. Some inspiration to get you started: Linda stitched together these beautiful tapestries from excess Linda Cabot Design patterns! All you have to do is arrange your fabric scraps on a wider swatch (old t-shirt background, anyone?) and start sewing for some lovely, handmade home décor.
3. Sustainabili-tees. On the note of old t-shirts, another great way to repurpose these unwanted clothing items is to cut them up into household cleaning rags! This practice not only keeps the old clothes out of landfills, but also can reduce paper towel consumption.
4. Donate and educate. Did you know that there are organizations exclusively dedicated to recycling scrap fabric? If you’re in the New York City area, you can send along your excess fabrics to FabScrap, an amazing organization that picks up and repurposes unused textiles. FabScrap also has an online store and offers plenty of digital events and courses that you can access from anywhere – a perfect way to get inspired for more crafting projects and to connect with like-minded crafters!
Even if you tote reusable bags around to do your shopping, plastic bags aren’t totally avoidable, and have a way of building up. Here are a few ideas for repurposing these pesky plastics.
5. Bob and weave. We’re mesmerized by this homemade loom tutorial from the Royal Academy of Arts – try weaving together your old plastic bags to make some colorful new patterns!
6. Household helpers. Plastic bags can be handy for household organization and cleaning – they’re perfect to use as small trash can liners, as stuffing to keep the shape of boots and shoes, even as a way to clean your shower head!
7. Drop and roll. If you’re just looking to get the plastic bag clutter out of your home, we can’t say we blame you. Plastic bag drop boxes are available at a number of retail locations and supermarkets – you can find recycling locations near you with this helpful online tool!
With all of those rolling holiday gifts finally arriving, you may have some extra cardboard boxes lying around. What better ways to repurpose them than making a…
8. Pet fort! What more do we have to say?
9. Give Back. We’d also like to highlight Give Back Box, another amazing nonprofit that allows you to ship unwanted clothes, accessories, and household items to a charity of your choice from anywhere in the U.S. A generous way to give those extra shipping boxes a second life!
OTHER WAYS TO DONATE
If you’re looking for more ways to give leftover household items to a good cause, we have two more suggestions:
10. The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation runs a COVID-safe donation pickup program in the Greater Boston Area. Accepting resaleable clothes, shoes, and small household items, these easy-to-schedule pickups directly benefit their youth mentoring programs around Massachusetts.
11. Keeping it local. If you’d like to donate unwanted household items directly to a shelter or service organization in your area, you can find centers in your community through this online database.
Starting a more sustainable routine doesn’t have to sweep your existing lifestyle under the rug – it’s all a matter of implementing small, thoughtful acts for our planet in your everyday. By repurposing common household waste materials, we can all reduce our impact on the environment and create something new along the way. Here’s to living sustainably in 2021!