7 Rethinking One Time Use

We have all been conditioned to think that 'one time use' means something we quickly use and then discard. Like your Starbucks cup, paper plates or a Big Mac cardboard box. Why does 'one time use' need to have a time associated with it? Why do we think it has to be things that we use quickly after buying?  It's time to think outside the box and redefine 'one time use'.

A bottle of ketchup, jar of lemonade, a jug of laundry detergent, carrot peels, weekly flyers and a bottle of cooking oil all are one time use. You may use them over several days or over the course of a year but in the end you are still only using that container 1 time before it gets thrown away. In fact the average home throws out 1949 lbs every single year, most after only 1 use. In our home we dispose of  much less than that  the majority of which is thrown away after 1 use.

One time use should mean something you use only for its intended purpose and then you dispose of it. You finish that bottle of ketchup and toss it into the blue bin. You peel your carrot and put the peels in the compost. What if you didn't use them just once? What if you washed that bottle that previously held ketchup and used it to make pancakes easier while camping (do this one...it made it super easy!) or made your laundry detergent jug into a watering can or turn your carrot peels into vegetable stock or turned your weekly flyers into gift bags

Other Ideas 
Lemonade jars into dry good containers
Wine bottles to water your plants
Tea tins to grow your herbs
Soup cans to hold your supplies
Glass jars to hold leftovers
Cereal boxes into gift boxes
Bread tags now label cords
Just about anything can be used to make kids crafts and games
Cereal boxes into photo mat

Obviously the best answer is to not generate the waste in the first place. Refuse to use takeout containers, cancel your weekly flyers and get them online, make your own condiments and store them in glass jars, eat your carrots unpeeled. But realistically it is not feasible to not have some items that you eventually have to find another use for. The key is to think about those other uses before you buy that product. Know exactly what you are going to do with it after its one time use.

How do you define 'one time use'? What are some of your best tricks to giving something a new life rather than throwing it out?

Related Posts - Check them Out
Sometimes buying eco-friendly isn't the answer
Kicking the Plastic Habit
Opting Out! No more phone books please


  1. Love this. I use my Kombucha bottles for beans, popcorn, nuts, etc. Why buy glass containers when I am getting them with products like peanut butter!

  2. Love this! These are the kinds of posts we need to share so folks will start to just think about these things. Once we get them thinking, it goes green from there!

  3. And it is easy once you start to think about the decisions you are making. Like I had 2 salad dressings in my hands..one in plastic..one in glass. The plastic one I knew I could do nothing with once it was empty. But the glass one would be perfect for storing craft supplies, homemade dressings or even lost buttons.

  4. Thanks for sharing your opinion. This is a really good read for me.This is the good blog for eneyone who wants to know about this topic.

  5. Great suggestions! I love reusing glass containers.

  6. This is a great idea. It can at least lessen the garbage we throw everyday but how do I know that these containers have already served it's purpose? When will i replace it with a new one?

  7. It really depends on the material the container is made from and what you are using it for. I read online a few months ago that you should never use a plastic food container more than 100 times. Remember to never reheat food in plastic too!