Editor’s note: Regular guest Jennifer Tuohy from The Home Depot will be contributing a regular column here at sustainablog: Easy Upcycling. If you’ve got ideas for her, leave them in the comments.
When you are a family of four, the recycling bag overflows on a daily basis. I’ve been so successful at drilling the importance of recycling into my reluctant husband and my eager children that the twice-monthly collection just isn’t cutting it. Pondering the problem of my recycling conundrum, I thought to myself, “What’s better than recycling?” Upcycling!
Upcycling, the process of taking something you would otherwise throw out and finding a way to make it into something better, not only reuses materials, but also prevents introducing new materials into your home by eliminating the need to purchase another product.
To deal with my recycling problem, I have set the goal of retrieving at least one item from the bag every recycling day and finding a way to upcycle it. As a working mother of two children under 7, I don’t have time for “Pinterest Perfect” upcycling projects, but I could certainly use one less excuse to go to the store and one more family project to do with my children. Plus, showing them how to make useful items from their trash will be a valuable lesson for them in a world where they are surrounded by too many instances of unnecessary waste.
After my peanut butter and jelly-eating children demolished two jars of Bonne Maman in a couple of weeks, I spied the ideal objects for my first project. Clearly, after eating all that jam my kids need good toothbrushes, and following a recent trip to the dentist I was told to get them battery-operated ones. The problem with those is that they don’t fit in the tiny little holes my wall-mounted toothbrush holder has.
Problem, meet solution; I decided to save these attractive jam jars from the recycle bag and transform them into toothbrush holders. Decent holders for those bulky toothbrushes have been difficult to find, and I don’t like them just sitting on the countertop as they fall over and get the countertop covered in toothpaste goop. These jars are heavy weight enough to hold the toothbrushes and can be easily popped in the dishwasher for cleaning.
All I did was drill a hole in the center of the tin lid, working it around in a circular motion to drill out a space large enough for the big, battery-powered brushes. Then I filed down the rough edges with a small round file I found on my husband’s Leatherman tool. If you have a skinny toothbrush you can use an appropriately sized drill bit to create the perfect size hole in one simple motion.
There you have it: easy, attractive toothbrush holders that I can throw in the dishwasher when they get covered in toothpaste gunk.
Have any suggestions for my next “easy upcycling” project? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Jennifer Tuohy writes about green homes, upcycling and energy efficiency for Home Depot. Jennifer’s green tips to homeowners range from advice on energy-efficient kitchen appliances to decorating your home, including bathrooms, in part with upcycled accessories. On the Home Depot website you can find a full selection of Home Depot bathroom accessories that could go with Jennifer’s upcycled toothbrush holders.