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Finding new life in disposable goods

My goal is to avoid disposable goods. Regardless, some of them come into my life. So I've been pleased to learn that some things that are probably cheaply made with the intent of one-time use can be used over and over. Here are a few things I've learned recently, that I'd like to share:

Gelato_2

  • The cute little one-scoop gelato dishes we got at a downtown gelato shop can be run though the dishwasher and re-used infinitely. We ended up taking them home instead of throwing them away in the store's can because the kids liked them so much. We have three now, and the kids always fight over who gets the pink one, but I was just happy to learn they wash perfectly in the dishwasher. I tried washing some Solo plastic cups once in the dishwasher and those melted.
  • Very cheap vinyl tablecloths can be cleaned in the washing machine and reused. Our preschool used these for a recent gathering, and instead of balling them up and tossing them out, I decided to run them through my washer. They cleaned up nicely. I hung them to dry in my laundry room, and will bring them back to preschool for reuse.
  • Those cheap cups they serve drinks to kids in restaurants can also be cleaned in the dishwasher. We have quite a collection. We use them for picnics, parties and camping.
  • The large screw-top plastic jars you buy things like salsa, shredded Parmesan cheese or peanut butter in at Costco can easily be recycled curbside here (as they have a neck), but we tend to fill our pantry with them. I find it easier to store bulk items like brown sugar, granola or flour in them.

At our last GreenGroup meeting, Betty said she keeps the slushy cups she gets at places like Oaks Amusement Park, and uses them year after year, instead of tossing them out after her kids finish their drinks. What "disposable" items do you find great for reuse?

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