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Here are just five examples of things that people throw away that serve an even greater need when repurposed creatively:
1. Old newspapers: If you don't have a bird or aren't housebreaking a puppy, these are just headed for the recycle bin, no? Not necessarily. If you line your kitchen garbage container with old newspaper, it will absorb the liquids that are spilled into it and also masks odors. No more smelly, messy, wet accidents.
2. Take Out Containers. Those Chinese food take-out containers? There's a real design-oriented reason they are shaped the way they are. If you undo the fasteners, the container opens out into a plate -- with your food already conveniently placed in the center.
3. Old Calendars. Old calendars make for great gift wrapping. Personalize the wrapping by making sure the actual birth date (or anniversary or what have you) is circled on the wrapping itself (or scribble down something the way people do for an upcoming event on a calendar).
4. Silica Gel Packs. You find them in everything these days and most people throw them away, but you can actually use them to banish condensation from window sills or even your car windshield. Actually, you can do quite a lot with these little guys.
5. Food Scraps. You can actually regrow a whole bunch of different foods just from scraps alone. Here are just sixteen examples.