How can I reuse or recycle plastic handicap car parking tags?

January 30, 2012 by  
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Ages and ages ago on the Suggest An Item page, Carolyn asked about reusing handicap parking tags – but I missed it until Raynor recently comment last week. Sorry – not sure how it slipped by me! Anyway, better late than never, Carolyn asked: Every two years my husband’s blue handicap tags for the vehicles expire. The county gives him new ones at no cost. What can we do with the expired tags, made of heavy but flexible plastic? They are about 3.5? x 6.75? plus another 2.5? for the hook at the top. Raynor suggested cutting them into strips and using them as plant markers in the garden /allotment, since they’ll be weather proof. Philip also had a suggestion: “I’d put them with your tools and they will come in handy sooner or later.” I imagine that’s what we’d do with them too – I always need stuff like that when I’m filler-ing holes before painting . Speaking of painting, last week I was doing some painting-as-art painting rather than DIY and I could have used something like that as a mixing palette (I ended up using some old plastic packaging instead but it was always to hold). At this time of year, my seed stash is full to bursting and I like to organise it by sowing date – those tags would be just about the right size to use as dividers in my seed box — and would work much better than the too small bits of cardboard I’m using now. Flat pieces of heavy yet slightly flexible plastic are useful as dough scrappers when baking or doing any similar crafts (like salt dough or even clay pottery) where you need to scrap your material from the worksurface sometimes. Finally, one more suggestion from me, ask your county/council if they’ll take them back for recycling . Everyone with the tags in the area will be in a similar position and will need to dispose of them some how – depending on the type of plastic, they might find it easier to get them recycled in bulk than someone relying on consumer recycling services. Any other suggestions? What would you do with them?

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How can I reuse or recycle plastic handicap car parking tags?

How can I reuse or recycle leftover chips?

January 25, 2012 by  
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Mari has emailed asking about leftover chips – as in English chips eaten hot, thick fries not potato chips/crisps – saying her family nearly always have “eyes bigger than their bellies” when they order fish’n’chips and end up with some leftovers: Good thick chips not just tiny hard scraps. It’s such a waste. Can anything be done with them? Obviously the first thing here is to reduce the amount she & her family buy in the first place – but I realise chip portions are a variable thing. I read about a study recently that found that portion sizes could vary from between 250g (half a pound) to 1kg (2.2lbs!) depending on the shop and server. I think most families would have leftovers even if they bought just one bag of the latter! Whenever my father (not) in law has leftover chips, he wraps them back up in their paper again and freezes them for a snack at a later time. I’m not sure how he defrosts/reheats them (and admittedly, he’s not got particularly high standards when it comes to cooking) but it might be worth experimenting with if you have them leftover regularly. At the end of the day though, they’re just leftover fried potato – and can be reused like any other leftover potato. Mash up the softer ones – they could be used in fish cakes or a hash/bubble & squeak. The little hard ones could be chopped up and used as a crispy coating/topping. Here, they’d go in our “misc stuff for the chickens” pile. What would you do with leftover chips?

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How can I reuse or recycle leftover chips?

How can I reuse or recycle an old toaster oven?

January 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco, Recycle

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Joel has an old toaster oven and would like ideas on how he can reuse or recycle it: My wife just bought a new toaster oven. The previous one had problems in her eyes, because the spring-loaded door didn’t work as smoothly as when new, and the unit, after three years, had a couple unsightliness issues. The door is not much of a problem, as far as I’m concerned. It does stay shut reliably when you shut it. So, okay, now I’ve got this little heating unit that I can take to my shop. It seems the controls function as-new. Thermostat system works. Heats up to 450* F. People are using old toaster ovens for flow soldering, for un-soldering components on circuit boards, and for powder-coating of small objects. Right now, I don’t do any of those things… but you never know Got any other ideas as to how it can come in handy? Toaster ovens aren’t very common in the UK but they seem to be mini table-top electric ovens – the bread is put on a horizontal tray for toasting but they can be used for other things too (much like any electric oven). First things first, since it works well, do consider passing it on to someone is less concerned about the door/aesthetic issues — if your local thrift/op/charity shop doesn’t accept electronics, you could pass it onto someone else directly through your local Freecycle/Freegle group. If that ship has sailed though and it’s needed to be removed from culinary service, it may still be ripe for random crafting reuse. It doesn’t go hot enough for things like clay pottering firing or enamelling (the latter of which is a shame because perhaps he could have fixed Su’s casserole pan … 😉 ) but would be fine for the things Joel suggests or other low temperature crafts such as Fimo or the recycled equivalent of Shrinky Dinks (there seems to be a new trend for making pedants from plastic number 6 – (not expanded) polystyrene – cups). Some gardeners recommend always starting seeds off in a sterile potting mix/seed compost which can be bought or made at home – Alys Fowler recommends a couple of minutes in the microwave or popping it in the oven for an hour at 80C/175F – the toaster oven would work for that. Any other suggestions for Joel – how he could pass it on or reuse/recycle it for other purposes? (Photo from Wikipedia )

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How can I reuse or recycle an old toaster oven?

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