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10 Ways to Green Your Shopping List

Reuse and Re-purpose
Used aluminum cans make excellent planters for sprouting herbs.
Used aluminum cans make excellent planters for sprouting herbs.
©iStockphoto/Lisa Fletcher

Excess packaging is an inevitable outcome of shopping. Figuring out ways to reuse packaging can range from the mundane to the uniquely fantastic. Creative re-purposing keeps cardboard and plastic out of the garbage or recycling bin and saves you money to boot. Here's a list of suggestions to get you started:

  • Plastic trays that held cookies or crackers are great to use for organizing drawers.
  • Larger containers and aluminum cans that didn't originally contain anything with harsh chemicals can be re-purposed as planters. You can also use them in building models or crafting projects.
  • Need to wrap a present? Make a gift box out of an empty cereal or cracker box.
  • Plastic containers from the deli counter are food grade and ideal for storing leftovers.
  • Forget the brown bag and make your own bento box for carrying your lunch.
  • Spray bottles that haven't held bleach or other toxic chemicals can be reused to hold homemade household cleaners or as spray bottles for plants.