At work on Friday I found an empty gift box on my desk. It turns out that as I have been doing these little things to encourage reduction of waste and reusing resources at work people have started to pay attention. As this gift box was on its way to the garbage bin someone put it on my desk to see if I could find a new use for it. Although I am not hoping for all garbage to end up on my desk, it was exciting to think of the endless possibilities of finding new uses for our everyday items.
Ideas for finding new uses for items you might not be using anymore:
old jewelery, scarves, buttons, random decorative items - Maybe it's just me, but I love to take these things, cut them up into new designs and hot glue them on to blank headbands. I have an assortment to wear on my own and the others can be given away as gifts (if you know anyone who is willing to sport gaudy headpieces on a daily basis...)
clothes that aren't in good enough shape for goodwill - first I check if something is worth giving to goodwill for someone else to use, but if it torn or stained I try to think of other purposes before throwing away. Cut into strips as rags, or use the strips to do some old school hair rolling (like curlers but takes longer...) Other uses are making braided rugs, braided belts, or guitar straps out of longer strips of fabric. Not too long ago I cut the sleeves off of some plaid shirts and lined them with fleece to make fingerless gloves.
cardboard boxes, wrapping paper tubes, misc cardboard - make a fort, a car, a spaceship or house for your kids. And if you don't have kids, why not make one for yourself? It provides a little more use before these head to the recycle bin.
What other ideas do you have? There are endless suggestions at Etsy as well, try looking up a new use for something before you throw it away!