That's Not Garbage: Graydon's Top 10 Do-It-Yourself Eco-Projects!

Photo by rooster |

Do you ever get jealous of those “do it yourselfers” that you know? Those friends of yours who always have something trendy in their house that they made with their own two hands? I think upcycling and downcycling your old waste is one of the coolest green habits you can get into, but a lot of the times it’s hard to come up with ideas.

Additionally, while the internet is a great resource, it’s sometimes full of the same suggestions over and over again. I know that you can re-use old pop/soda bottles to make a noisemaker if you put rocks in it, but I’m at the age now where I’m looking for something with a little bit more flair. So, I’ve scoured the internet and come up with the following Top 10 Do It Yourself eco-friendly home projects to recycle some of the waste around your house in ways a little cooler than those rock shakers from the 2nd grade. Enjoy!


1) Wine Corks

On the website, a writer posted a recycling article with a cool use for old wine corks. Collect your corks, lay them out in a pattern and glue them onto a frame and there you have it, your own funky looking cork board. Seems like a great idea for corks which a lot of people will just throw in the garbage.

2) Old T-Shirts

Yes, you can always donate your old t-shirts to charity and second hand stores. However if you were ever a kid and you received a “hand me down” that was a little too handed down, you know that there is a limit to the reusability of clothing items. However, this Colorado State University grad has found a cool way for you to weave your own homemade scarf from your old t-shirts. 

3) Old Magazines

Although it is pretty easy to recycle magazines in paper recycling, those arts and crafts inclined may enjoy a few of these alternatives before putting them out to the curb. If you search the internet, you can find how to videos on how to make greetings cards, envelopes, gift wrap, gift bows and more out of old magazines. It’s a distinct look but it adds a wow factor and a personal touch to any of your gifts that is also eco friendly.

4) Old Towels 

Just like old t-shirts, there comes a point at which thrift stores probably won’t accept your old towels. Luckily Michelle Kaufmann, a green architect at MKDesigns, teaches you how to take some old bath towels and create a bath mat for around your house. 

5) Old Pop Bottles

I’ve seen many uses for old pop bottles over the years from birdfeeders to gym weights, but I’d never seen something as simple and useful as this. Scott Amron shows a quick way to turn a pop bottle into a homemade juicer on his website. It’s cheap, it’s easy and all it takes is one bottle!

6) Old Pop Bottles: Part II

Notice how water reducing toilets are popping up more and more these days? The ones with the half flush and the full flush options? I never thought about this incredibly simple idea but if you’re interested in cutting down on the water usage of you current toilet without buying a new one, you can just fill up an old pop bottle and put it in your toilet tank.

7) Old Shower Curtains or Table Cloths

Eventually it comes time for those stained pieces of plastic to get recycled or thrown out depending on the city you live in. However, you can also turn them into a favourite toy for a windy day. By cutting your old shower curtains or table cloths into the right dimensions, you can just follow the tips on this DIY (do it yourself) kite website below to make yourself a cool eco-kite

8) Old Sweaters 

In another recycling tip for used clothing pieces, this blog post on explains how to take your old sweaters and turn them into a comfortable pet bed for Rover or Fluffy. It’s a relatively simple idea and you don’t need to be a master sewer to make it happen. 

9) Old Light Bulbs

In many cities, the recycling options for incandescent light bulbs are hard to come by. However, this creative project from gives you the opportunity to turn your burnt out light bulbs into some exciting pieces for around the house. You could try making flower vases, salt and pepper shakers or even light bulb lamps!

10) Old CDs

Old CDs are like the new age pop bottles in the recycling world. There are a ton of ideas that people are familiar with like bike reflectors and window reflectors for birds. After some searching I found this project to make a disco ball out of your old CDs. While disco balls are not for everyone, it can be a great way to recycle those old discs and add some fun to your next social gathering.