herbs in ice cube tray

10 easy household hacks to reduce waste (and save money)

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

When it comes to money-saving, the adage 'waste not, want not' comes to mind. Here's how to put that saying into practice in 10 easy ways.

1.Turn fresh herbs into ice cubes

Make fresh herbs last longer and reduce waste by chopping them up and portioning them into an ice cube tray.

Top up with water (making sure they're completely submerged), and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, you can transfer to bags. Next time you need to use herbs in your cooking, you'll have a convenient portion to hand.

2. Repurpose wax remnants

It can be frustrating to see the last of the candle wax stuck to the edges without being able to burn it. Instead of throwing your old candles away, use the leftover wax at the bottom to make new ones. Start by picking up some new candle wicks. Then melt down the old candle wax in a saucepan. When it's runny, pour the wax into a clean jar to set. The new candle should take around an hour to set. Make sure to avoid combining two different types of wax into one pot!

You can also add some dried scented flowers, such as lavender, to make it a bit more luxurious if you fancy.

Alternatively, you can use old pieces of wax to lubricate any drawers that are sticking. Rub along the sticking surfaces to provide a smooth glide.

3. Reuse your cooking water

When draining your boiled veggies, do it over a pan to stop it from going down the plughole. You can then use this water to make your own vegetable stock, or make your gravy taste extra delicious. Or you can add it to a watering can and use the remnants to water your plants.

4. Give food cartons a new life

If you’re partial to a Saturday night takeaway, make sure you save the foil containers. Once cleaned, they can be used for freezing portions of food or keep food organised in your fridge.

Also, save plastic containers from things like ice cream and use them instead of buying new Tupperware.

5. Use cardboard from toilet rolls as firelighters

By saving all the inner rolls from toilet paper, you can turn them into homemade firelighters. Stuff them with old newspaper, shredded paperwork and lint from the tumble dryer. They’ll save you spending money on shop-bought firelighters – perfect if you have a wood-burning stove, BBQ or a chimenea in the garden.

6. Repurpose gift wrap, cards and tags

If you can open presents delicately, you might be able to reuse the wrapping paper. Alternatively, repurpose newspaper to make eco-friendly wrapping paper.

Make your gift tags by repurposing the old ones or cutting up greeting cards. If you have some card lying around, why not cut a few shapes out of it and stick them onto the gift or thread them with ribbon.

7. Old toothbrushes make great cleaners

You should make sure you change your toothbrush every three months, or when the bristles show signs of wear. But rather than throwing them out, add them to your cleaning kit and use them to scrub awkward areas like the base of your taps, air vents, and any hard-to-reach gaps in your oven door.

8. Turn old clothes into dusters

If you’re throwing away clothes that aren’t good enough for charity (or if you’ve finally had enough of your odd sock collection), consider using them for cleaning instead. Making dusters out of clothes is a great way to keep them out of a landfill, and they can be put in the washing machine after use as well.

9. Keep your old bread bags

Instead of buying plastic sandwich bags, save up your old bread bags. They can have a lot of purposes, for example storing sandwiches or freezing food. They can be turned into piping bags for icing or simply for wrapping up any leftovers in your fridge.

10. Freshen up your nail varnish

Nail varnish tends to go goopy over time, which means people often prematurely throw them out. Instead, add a drop of nail varnish remover to the mixture to loosen it up. Your nail varnish will be good as new, which means you can avoid having to chuck or replace it.

To get some date-night-at-home inspiration, read on here.

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herbs in ice cube tray herbs in ice cube tray