Reducing the number of single-use items that you toss in the trash might be easier than you think. Often times, items designed for single-use can be used many times over before being thrown out.
Read on for lots of ideas to reuse single-use items for the holidays. After all, they’re not single-use items if you use them more than once!
As we prepare for the holidays and enjoy the festive season, there are so many ways we can also pursue eco-friendly living in a season that traditionally leads to lots of waste and excess. To save money and reduce waste, here are a handful of ideas to reuse single-use items as gift wrap for holiday presents, tools for baking holiday treats, containers for sweets, and more.
Takeout Container for Neighbor Gifts
This year, we made lots of peppermint bark, one of my favorite holiday treats. We prepared several batches and used plastic takeout containers to gift a bit of tasty peppermint bark to our neighbors.
To add a festive spirit to the container, we wrapped each one in a bit of holiday ribbon (some of which was repurposed from prior gifts and online order packaging). This is a super-easy way to reuse the single-use takeout containers that can be put to good use so many times before heading to the trash.
Fruit Container for Small Gifts
Similar to the takeout containers, we reused plastic fruit containers from the grocery store for neighbor gifts as well. Because these have holes in them, they don’t work for all types of gifts. But they were great for these easy mint chocolate truffles we made.
We packed a half dozen or so mint cookie truffles in each container. They were just right for a sweet treat that was a simple gesture of holiday spirit.
Want to see in action how easy they are put together? I shared a little peek on Instagram you can check out.
Plastic Syringe To Decorate Holiday Cookies
We decorate sugar cookies once a year around the holidays. Because it’s not a frequent activity, I don’t keep many supplies on hand for it.
This summer, I was lucky enough to snag some Christmas cookie cutters from another member of my Buy Nothing group. We had a few already, but this rounded out our collection.
As the boys tried to add icing to their cookies, they asked me if I had any special icing tools. I did not. Instead, we got creative and used these plastic syringe tools that come with children’s medicine.
For some reason (who knows why), I’ve saved several of them. Now I’m glad I did. They worked perfectly to add icing to their cookies, and we will definitely be reusing this single-use tool in the future!
Pringles Canister to Ship Cookies or Small Treats
If you’re a baker, try packaging up cookies for a friend in a Pringles chip canister. Isn’t this such a neat idea?
A friend who runs a baking company called Kayla’s Konfections shared it with me, and I think it’s so useful. She said the Pringles container prevents the cookies from getting crushed or breaking so they arrive intact and delicious.
Keep all of the greeting cards that you receive from others and save them for DIY gift tags. We do this year-round, but it’s especially great during the holiday season. Not only does it prevent the greeting cards from heading to the trash or recycling, but you also save money not buying gift tags for your presents for family and friends. Check out this tutorial for DIY Gift Tags from Greeting Cards for all the details!
Holiday Cards as Holiday Decorations
Save the holiday cards that you receive each year from family and friends. They are fun the year that you receive them, and they are even more fun to look back at in subsequent years.
We bind together all the cards from each year and hang them on our fireplace mantel. It’s one of my favorite holiday decorations, and we have four years and counting of memories from family and friends to enjoy each holiday season.
Parcel Packaging for DIY Gift Wrap
We reuse brown parcel paper from online orders to wrap gifts. It’s great as simple brown paper. You could also paint it or decorate it to make it even more special for the holidays. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest to make brown kraft paper or parcel paper really pretty for holiday gift wrapping!
This is a fairly obvious single use reuse idea, but don’t throw out the gift bags in which you receive gifts from others. They can be reused so many times! If there is a tag with a name on it, just tear off the tag or add a sticker over any existing writing to make it fresh and new.
Bulk Grocery Plastic Container
We buy many items in bulk at the grocery store. Sometimes we can use our own packaging. However, the items we desire aren’t always available in the self-serve containers.
Alternatively, many items we purchase come in plastic containers. While these containers are recyclable, we save them and use them for a variety of things. Around the holidays, they are another perfect container for gifting small treats or even small tangible gifts.
We chose not to wrap these containers, though you certainly could. Instead, we added a small repurposed ribbon and let the gift speak for itself. Your family and friends will care more about the contents than the wrapping accessories. 🙂
Do you have any other ideas for repurposing single-use items around the holidays? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!