My yellow enamel teapot will not rest in peace. Nor will it face a rusty death in a bottom of a landfill. With Earth Day approaching on April 22, my goal is to contribute fewer things to waste and landfills. And that includes a teapot whose inside is pocked by rust spots.
By recycling the teapot and other cast-off items, I can spend less money and save a small corner of the environment. Finding new uses for old items is a conservation strategy recommended by the nonprofit Air & Waste Management Association, which recommends reusing jars and containers, purchasing durable merchandise and passing up disposable alternatives.
Here are a few ideas for my teapot's second life.
• Plant potter: Our porch is decorated with a mixture of new containers and unusual plant holders from yard sales and garden stores. Washed and shined, the teapot would look great in the garden with a sprig of basil or bunch of pansies.
• Pen holder: A mere mug cannot contain the pens, markers and pencils on my desk. I need a teapot to store my writing utensils and the kids' crayons.
• Napkin centerpiece: My multitasking teapot will serve as a centerpiece, linen storage and a napkin holder during meals and dinner parties. I envision elegantly folded cloth napkins arranged in a teapot in the center of the table.
• Cord camouflage: Small electronic cords and cables dangle from hooks and nails like small snakes in a reptile house. Coiled, wrapped and tidied, those cables -- for cellphones, digital cameras, MP3 players -- would fit nicely into the mouth and body of the teapot.
• Beauty storage: Barrettes, cotton balls, nail polish and other beauty accessories can be neatly tucked into the round belly of the teapot.
That's just a start. Looking around my house, I have spotted pitchers that can be recycled into funky vases and baskets that can be used to hold socks, sewing kits and other trinkets.
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