I was on Ravelry.com today when I came across a thread that asked what you can do to reduce your waste at home. I forgot to add using a compost and a water barrel in the thread, but here is what I posted.
Cereal boxes and other food boxes: 1. make file boxes (I keep magazines and computer print outs in mine)
2. Make a book. You can sew in the pages or just staple them.
3. Quilting templates. I have made several templates for my hand pieced grandma's flower garden quilt.
4. ornaments - glue on left over or used wrapping paper or old cards (Christmas or whatever cards).
Juice pouches, like Capri Sun & Kool Aid: I clean them out and sew them up to make all sorts of things.To see examples, check out [my blog] or [my website].
Plastic shopping bags: 1. cut them to make yarn then knit, crochet, or weave them to make great tote bags or other things.
2. fuse them and then sew them to make produce bags. Examples are also on my blog.
3. Make a winter wreath out of them. Vicki Howell from Knitty Gritty has a link on how to make one on her blog.
4. Mailing packages, instead of using bubble wrap and packing peanuts
Plastic Bottle caps: 1. ornaments
3. punch a hole on 2 sides, string together, and you have garland for your outdoor trees
4. Personally I am going to make a trash can out of mine by punching 4 holes (around the sides) and putting them together with wire.
Metal bottle caps: 1. ornaments
3. game board pieces, like for checkers
4. turn your shoes into tap shoes
5. I have seen them made into hand bags and even chairs (the frame was made from something else)
Soda pull tabs: 1. a beautiful purse. I've seen pictures and now I am going to make one.
2. Some people crochet flowers using them
Twist ties and bread clips: These are good for around the house. You can keep your wires and cords together, hang things, etc.
Scrap ribbon: 1. fuse them or stitch them together to make a funky new ribbon
3. use on gift cards and gift tag
Left over pieces of yarn, thread, fabric, and other soft materials: stuffing. I make dog toys and use those left over tid bits to stuff it with. Some people find a way to put these things in their quilts (as part of the design).
Those green plastic things that strawberries come in: 1. an Easter basket
2. line with tin foil and put a plant in
3. weave ribbon through it and make a container
4. makes an excellent bubble wand
5. printing (just dip in paint and print)
6. turn upside down and it is a pencil holder
Plastic bottle: 1. message in a bottle (Family Fun has it for a Valentine's gift)
2. The bottom is cut, sanded, and attached to more bottoms to form a flower like curtain
3. Cut the top off, punch holes around the top, and join a few together with ribbon or yarn - great pencil holder
Potato chip bags: 1. cut and fold like a gum chain, join, invisible stitch, and make a change purse (DIY's Craft Lab has instructions)
2. Turn inside out and it is shiny wrapping paper
Duct Tape: make a sheet, flip over so that sticky side is up, attack candy wrappers or other paper like products, fold and glue or tape to make a gift bag.
Business cards: take two and glue the fronts together so that you end up with 2 blank sides. Fold in half, punch a hole at the corner, and you have a gift tag.
Tape cassette holder: flip open and you have a business card holder
CDs: 1. cut a Styrofoam ball in half, glue the 2 halves to either side of the cd, you have Saturn
2. Cut and mosaic
3. use the back side to make a card or ornament
4. punch small holes, string together, and make a curtain
5. glue a marble in the center of one side and a water bottle cap to the center of the other side and you have a spin top.
6. I've seen beautiful sculptures / mobiles made from cds
Soda Cans and other cans: 1. make a robot (not a real working one)
2. there are books on how to make airplanes and cars from them. My uncle made a road runner out of some
3. I made a chair out of them once. I couldn't sit on it though.
4. cut and flatten, then tack onto wood: purse, sign, planter, etc.
5. Fill with water, freeze, using a nail and hammer, make holes in a pattern. Then let the water melt, then dump the water out. You have a lantern. Great for Halloween.
There are books on what to do with tubes, egg cartons, boxes, etc. I love looking in the children's section of the library for ideas.