You may think that this is a strange title, and you may be asking “what is different about recycling in November compared to any other month?”
Well firstly I think we are programmed to get a little more creative around Christmas, we craft with the kids, we lavish our homes with decorations from tinsel to wonky one eyed snowmen, there is glitter and sparkle, crafts and magic everywhere!
Secondly we have a lot of waste at this time of year, with presents arriving from all directions with their unnecessary packaging, to the excess of food leaving endless jars and containers to be recycled, it all adds up.
This year we have extra time on our hands as we can’t all go to work and a lack of actual shops open, giving us even more reason to get creative. So what better time is there to get your craft on and create unique gifts for your family than right now?
Creative November Recycling
If you're anything like me, a quick look around your kitchen right now will reveal all sorts of things you can recycle without going anywhere near a recycling bin, there are so many ways we can reuse these seemingly useless things into pretty handmade gifts. I'm sitting in my kitchen writing this so I'm just going to imagine you're all here with me and talk you through what I've got and ways to craft them
Jar’s, jar’s, jar’s!
My favorite jars have got to be the little pesto jars, they are a great size for gifts and a nice shape too, i've also got an assortment of various size jars i've saved, from tiny little jam jars that you get at christmas to the large chocolate spread jars with the plastic lid.
Soapy warm water is enough to remove the labels
The most simple ideas for jars would be based around food. I made a large amount of jam this year to put in jars as gifts. All I have to do now is write pretty labels. I’m also planning on making a chilli sauce gifted in glass bottles from store bought sauces, if you don't want to cook then you could make an awesome dry rub, or flavoured salts, (we love chilli and garlic salt and its so easy to make.) You can also pack larger jars with ingredients for cookies or cake and decorate like a snowman (Kids love these)
The food gift options are endless with jars.
If you're not feeling the food then there are plenty more ideas. How about cutting a slot in a plastic lidded jar, decorate the jar however you like, and voila you have a money jar, (just don't make it so cute that you want to keep it.) Half height jars make great candle jars, just decorate the outside, pop a scented tealight in and you're good to go. You won't believe how much something simple like a wrap of twine can jazz up a jar! But i’m not going into decorating details because i'll be here forever.
I have a fair few nearly done candles that i wanted the jars from and i came across the idea to make wax melts, all i did was melt some candle wax in a Pyrex dish in boiling water, i had a red candle and added in a few white tea lights to make it pink, when it was melted and stirred I added a few drops of essential oil. I poured the wax out onto a baking sheet and threw on some rose petals to make it pretty. Once this was hardened I broke it up into wax shards and packaged in paper bags. I love how they turned out.
Not only do i get the wax melts but I'm going to use the jar to make bath salts, which are simply Epsom salts and dried flowers mike in the jar, ill make a lid with a circle of baking paper held on with string, and a paper tag with instructions for use. So simple!
Before we start with cans the first thing you need to do is to file any sharp edges off!
Now my personal favourite thing to do with tin cans is to use them as planters for indoor plants like succulents, i usually paint the can with a bright pop of colour then plant it up with tiny succulents, and cover the soil with moss or gravel, You can even add wire and create a hanging planter.
These are always welcome gifts, I mean who doesn't like a house plant?
Another great idea for cans is to draw a simple pattern on the can then punch holes in along your lines, with a solar candle inside these lanterns cast some beautiful shadows.
You can also make cute storage from tins when they are simply decorated.
Now this may just be me but i still have pots of seeds drying that i haven't sorted out yet, so i made some little envelopes from kraft paper and drew a simple image of the plant. When packaged up these make a lovely little stocking filler. You could also make seed bombs with seeds and scrap paper.
There's an awful lot of packaging right now as we are all shopping online, the cardboard in my house either gets recycled to package orders or it goes in the compost, as for the plastic start by asking for plastic free packaging, in a lot of cases you will get your parcel plastic free. If not you could always look into weaving with plastic and make something new.
Definitely think about how you package your presents too, it doesn't have to be shiny unrecyclable paper, use your imagination, kraft paper and a sprig of holly looks stunning on a gift under the tree. Little bits of gift wrap and old cards can be used as gift tags
One year I made little gift bags from magazine pages and they were a huge hit.
As i said I'm not going into decorating in too much detail because it would take forever but ill give you some ideas to get you started.
The first place you want to look for embellishments at this time of year is outside, think pinecones, autumn leaves, holly and twigs!
When you're back in the warm you could look at your excess decorations and see how any could be reused, there's bound to be scraps of ribbon and tinsel you could use.
Bits of lace and fabric can be useful, as can old cards and scrap paper.
Really let your imagination run wild! Get the kids involved and get creative!
The best place to look for more ideas is Pinterest, there are so many simple and thoughtful gift ideas that you can make for practically nothing!
Happy Christmas crafting!