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What are some ideas for re-purposing common disposable items?

There are many items that are disposable that we now recycle. However, it takes energy to recycle things and I was wondering if some of this energy might be saved by re-purposing the items to a second functional need with no real treatment. Examples of disposable items that might be re-purposed include soda bottles, car tires and cardboard boxes. One example of a re-purpose is car tires being bound together and turned into reefs for sea life.

I am sure there are many items and uses. What are they?

I am mostly interested in functional uses rather than artistic ones.


Closing Statement from Robert Galway

Thanks everyone for providing ideas.

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    Nov 12 2013: how about reducing use of all that stuff in the first place? What did people do before paper towels? (Rags) Plastic wrap and Tupperware? (Put it in a bowl with a plate on top. Or at least re-use deli cups and plastic wrappers)

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