Waste not want not recycling

Oily raggers tend to be ‘waste not, want not’ types so it’s no surprise that they have lots of ideas to make the most of what others throw out.

A.M. writes, “When sandwiches are left over use them by placing them in a roasting dish. Scramble some eggs and pour over the sandwiches. Bake until golden brown – turns out like a fluffy omelette. Use leftover breakfast cereal in muffins – delicious when mixed with stewed apple and rhubarb.”

D.M. writes, “If you have left over cake, biscuits, trifle sponge, etc turn it into a steamed pudding. Just mix all together, bind with a little milk, put a dollop of jam or golden syrup in the bottom of the steamed pudding bowl and drop in your mixture. Steam for about one hour.”

Lauren from Whangarei treats the family to a modern version of ‘leftovers night’.”We don’t do ‘leftovers’ in our home – we have ‘fixings for a Smorgasbord’! It happens every Friday night, when all leftovers are nuked, baked or snaffled from the depths of the freezer and fridge and popped on the table. Smorgy Night. No takeaways for my clan. And surprisingly this is the night when my teenager tends to bring home her friends who love our Friday night Smorgys.”

J.J. writes, “Use the inside plastic bags from cereal packets to wrap left-over food instead of grease-proof paper. I use it to wrap my lunch and it keeps fresh. Just wipe and dry it each night.”

John from Whangarei says he got a number of great recycling tips from a gardening magazine. “To keep pot plants watered, punch a column of small holes down the side of a plastic bottle. Bury it in the pot with the top poking above the soil, with the holes facing the plant. Fill the bottle up and it will act like a reservoir and drip feed the plant.”

Alastair from Whangarei has this gardening, and recycling tip. “Old toilet roll spools. Save them up, cut them in half, pack in a kitty litter tray and fill with seed raising mix. Add your parsnip seeds, one to each roll. When they sprout you can plant out by lifting the toilet roll and transferring to garden bed. The roll breaks down in the soil.”

Anonymous says, “Paper towel cardboard rolls are a convenient and tidy way of storing plastic bags in your drawer. I just stuff the plastic bags in, and pull them out when needed.”

Canny Scot from Christchurch makes the most of waste paper. “When planting my strawberries I have given them a mulch of wet shredded paper from my shredding machine. It matts together nicely keeping light out to prevent weeds and I should have nice clean strawberries to eat. Makes use of your old bank statements too! Or use advertising junk mail – it’s very colourful when shredded and it will break down eventually and feed the worms helping the soil.”

An oily ragger from Auckland recommends “skip diving” He searches out jumbo bins, dives in, and finds heaps of goodies. He says bins on building sites usually have lots of materials that can come in handy. Apparently it’s a popular thing in the United States (where it’s called dumpster diving), although its popularity here has yet to gain national sport status! Tip: Beware of the collection truck – and ask first if the bin is on private property.

Carpet underlay is very good floor insulation for houses with wooden floors – staple it to the underside of wooden floors to prevent draughts and heat escaping through the joins. Or use it as lagging for water pipes. Cut the underlay into strips of about 100mm wide. Wrap it like a bandage around pipes for insulation.

J.O. from Christchurch shares the benefits of recycling. “I get a lot of enjoyment out of using things other people class as rubbish and if I save money by doing so, it’s even better. For years I was on a small wage and I still managed to pay off a $10,000 loan in 3 years. I’m proud of myself and think I am a real ‘oily rag’ person!”