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Go Green - Recycle What You Have

Updated on March 20, 2018
What do you think? Is this grill too far gone?
What do you think? Is this grill too far gone?

What's in your yard? You Can Re-recycle.

It seems that everywhere you look you can see evidence of people "going green." This isn't really a new concept. For years people have tried to reuse or recycle when possible and this is something I've been trying to do as well.

Years ago I began taking action on how I was to follow through with what I taught my students concerning saving our planet and recycling. One of my students took me up on my challenge and made me promise not to blacktop my driveway. So instead we used a quarry mix and it worked out great. Since then I've looked for ways to use items I already have in my yard to recycle them into other useful items.

When we moved I had to start thinking of new ways to use what I already had in my yard. Someone gave us this old grill (pictured here). I think we used it only once before the sides and bottom started to give way. We were about to throw it away when I had a vision of what it could be with some imagination. We ended up re-recycling it in several ways.

Have you thought about what's in your own yard that you could recycle for another purpose? To give you some ideas, here are a few of the things I have done in the past few years.

Photo by Favored1

Copyrighted Material by Favored1. Do not copy. Photo credit byFavored1 or Amazon unless otherwise noted. This artwork is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Earth Day, April 22nd

EARTH DAY isn't just one day a year.

It's everyday of the year.

What do you think I did with the grill?

See results

Why strain your back? - Not just for gardening.

Do you have problems getting up from a kneeling position? The Garden Kneeler may be just what you were looking for.

Using this kneeler and seat can help prevent your knees from getting sore.,Guard against back pain by reducing strain and injury to your lower back and knees. Besides the physical aspect it also helps to protect your clothes from dirt and grass stains.

It is really two products in one. You can use it to kneel on the cushion or turn it over and use it as a seat. It's perfect for any place, not just in the garden and it folds flat for easy storage.

Almost anything can be recycled if you have a good imagination.

Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

Now you see it, now you don't.

Do you recognize this?

If you look closely you can see the legs on that old grill. As you can see I turned it into a flower box.

To line the grill I used an old plastic bin that was cracked along the bottom. It was about 6 inches deep so it worked perfectly. I filled it with potting mix and 6 plants. Two colleus plants were used in the back, because they grow taller and would cover the lid. In the middle I used 2 pink begonias and cascading down each side I used what I call white bridal veil. That's all it needed, and I placed it in a slightly shaded area.

It didn't take long to fill out and was a great conversation piece.

(Photos are courtsey of favored1)

Repurposed & Recycled Grill into Flower Box

Photo by Favored1
Photo by Favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

What about those old tires?

Tires are ususally something that we recycle right away, but this time we had a few to "spare."

We decided to keep these 2 tires to grow early spring crops, because they retain heat and help keep the soil warm on cooler evenings.

On the left bib lettuce is growing, and in the right tire radishes (which needs thinning). In February and March we had some very warm days, but April brought cooler weather. These tires worked out well as insulators.

When these crops are finished, we can plant flowers in them or beans to preserve the soil.

(Photos are courtsey of favored1)

Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

Cat Litter Pails?

They are heavy duty, clean and portable.

I don't have the acreage that I used to, so these days I do a lot of container planting. When I was in the market for containers and 5 gallon pails for my luffa plants, I noticed how much the price had gone up from previous years. There were a few things on sale, but not the sizes I needed.

One day I noticed these cat litter pails being stacked up for the recycle truck. They were the perfect size and easy to carry. But were they clean I thought? Cat litter pails empty clean and just need to be rinsed out a bit. They can be stored upside down and stack on top of one another. The lids can be saved and pop off easily or you can simply recycle them.

I debated as to whether or not I was going to paint them (with old leftover paint of course), but decided not to at this time. Well, mainly it was because I needed them in a hurry.

(Photos are courtsey of favored1)

Have any idea as to what I put in these heavy buckets?

— Take a look ...

Early Tomato Plants

Early Tomato Plants
Early Tomato Plants
Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

A Bucket of Tomatoes

Last year when I entered the county fair I noticed that the tomato entries were very small and skimpy. For that reason, this year we decided to start some plants earlier by putting them in these buckets that were usually recycled.

We drilled holes in the bottom and placed a few empty plastic 24 ounce water bottles on the bottom for drainage. Then filled them 2/3rds of the way with potting mix. One trick to growing strong stalks is to place them a little bit deeper in the soil.

By using these buckets we could move them around. In the daytime we placed them in the sun and brought them under cover at night.

(Photos are courtsey of favored1)

Grow Luffa Sponges in Buckets

Grow Your Own Luffa Sponge

You can grow your own luffa sponge. It's easier than you think, and I'll show you how. Use repurposed materials to get you started.

Read on... In 2010 I met a lovely lady named Gail. She has all kinds of uniqu...

One trick to growing

strong tomato stalks

is to place them a little bit

deeper in the soil.

Suncast GDS200D Garden Scooter
Suncast GDS200D Garden Scooter

Portable seat keeps all gardening supplies in on convenient place.

Foam cushion for sitting or can be removed for use as a kneeling pad.

Small bin inside to carry gardening supplies. Includes 2 drink holders on top.


Garden Scooters, Step Stool & Storage - Scoot around the yard easily.

This is a product that I can say really worked for me. I would use it to scoot myself when planting flowers. It had plenty of room to carry extra hand tools, twine, scissors and gloves.

When I didn't need it in the garden it helped me around the house while working in areas that I had to get up and down a lot. It was a real knee and back saver.

Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

A Sapling Vase

Not the most elegant vase you'll ever see, but none-the-less, effective.

While waiting to plant the trees I got for free at the home and garden show, I placed them in these containers with a few inches of water in them.

These pails served me well until I was ready to plant the trees.

One thing about these bright yellow buckets, they're easy to spot! A neighbor of mine has taken a liking to the idea and she is using her free buckets to store seeds, fertilizer and as she puts it, "a bunch of other stuff" as well. Basically, she uses them for just about anything.

If you can get past the fact that it's a kitty litter container, you'll do alright. Remember, it isn't "used" kitty litter. That should help make you feel better about using them.

(Photos are courtsey of favored1)

My Sablings are Now Several Years Old
My Sablings are Now Several Years Old

Recycle Empty Littler Buckets for Chicken Nesting

Keep the lids attached to buckets and the eggs won't roll out of the nesting area.

Little Buckets for Chicken Nesting

Cut part of the lid off where it bends to make a border so nothing falls out of the nesting area.
Cut part of the lid off where it bends to make a border so nothing falls out of the nesting area.
Suncast GC1500BTD Portable Outdoor Gardening Center with Interchangeable Shelves, Tool Storage And Utility Bin, Taupe
Suncast GC1500BTD Portable Outdoor Gardening Center with Interchangeable Shelves, Tool Storage And Utility Bin, Taupe

Ideal for gardening and outdoor projects

Wheels for portability

Interchangeable shelves and bin

Durable resin construction

Handle and wheels for easy movement


Portable Outdoor Potting & Gardening Center on Wheels - I love my gardening cart on wheels!

If you love gardening and need to repot your plants, this handy cart is a blessing. What I like about it is that you can take the "grill" out of the top and interchange it with the bin. That way you can put the potting soil right in the bin and scoop it out as you need it.

When you have to repot a plant, all you need to do is turn your plant upside down, tap it and let all the dirt fall into the bin. This potting table saved me time and was easy to clean. I could easily move it around the yard or wherever I needed it.

Anything will work...

Once I had an old wheel barrow that I used to store Iris bulbs in for a season.

I covered them with a little dirt. Don't you know that they took off and bloomed before I ever got to plant them!

An old duck decoy.
An old duck decoy.
Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

I needed a "quacker-jack" idea.

A Fowl Problem

This old planter/decoy duck had seen better days. I was debating what to do with him so I placed him in this "work in progress" area of my yard.

Doesn't he look lonely? The lemon balm and hosta would soon over take him, and I wasn't sure what I would put in the big planter yet. What to do?

(Photos are courtsey of favored1)

Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

A New Duckie

For the most part I have perennials in my yard, because I like things blooming all year round. However, there a a few annuals that I really like and plant every year such as Impatiens, Vinca Vine, Luffa, Spike plants and a few others I rotate from year to year.

After I had planted all my annuals, I had one or two purple Impatiens plants left. Just the ticket for this little guy don't you think?

It filled out beautifully and I can move him anywhere

I want. Now he feels right at home with the other "newbies" to the garden.

(Photos are courtsey of favored1)

Riverstone Outdoor Garden Sink

Riverstone Outdoor Sink Large
Riverstone Outdoor Sink Large

All you need is a garden hose for this outdoor sink.

Comes with mounting hardware, drain tube and nozzle holder.


Need to wash up? - What about an outside sink?

Isn't this a neat thing? I love this sink. When repotting plants or doing basically any gardening my hands still get dirty even if I wear gloves.

Having a sink to do general clean-up is a time saver. It's easy to use and doesn't take long to install. Keep the dirt outside and wash up boots, paint brushes, tools, garden vegetable or, dirty hands.

Anyone who works outside will benefit from having an outdoor sink and you won't be making a mess inside. That's worth it alone!


Use straw to cover early plants to keep them from freezing.

Use straw in the summer to keep plants from burning.

Use straw to help keep plants moist and weed free.


Do not use hay to cover plants,

because it can go to seed.

Who has been eating my garden? - Keep animals away safely.

Having trouble keeping animals out of your garden? This handy motion activated sprinkler device is a "watch dog" for your garden.

It detects when an animal has entered into the area and sprays a burst of water to scare the unwanted creature out of your yard. Motion-activated sprinkler detects and sprays animals in a 1000-square-foot area day and night.

It won't harm the animal, but will keep them from returning. A much safer way to protect your hard work than with chemicals, electrical devices or traps.

Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

Throw that away... no wait!

I've got an idea.

This wagon served me well in the past, but now it's old wheels have lost their spin. In order for you to get it to work you have to drag it; not the best use of a "wagon" do you think?

So for an entire season it was out by the trash can area waiting for the spring city clean-up to take it away. One week before the clean up I needed a container in a hurry. I had some short season crops that needed to be planted right away and had nothing to put them in at the time. The garden wasn't ready because of all the rain, so I had to do something before I lost the plants.

Hey, wait a minute. What's that plastic thing by the fence? The old gardener's wagon... go get it. I think it will work.

Sure enough, after drilling a few holes in the corners it was ready to go. Two cubic feet of potting mix filled the middle of the wagon and was large enough for the broccoli.

You can see there were places all around the wagon for my tools and things. One side even had a lid, but was removed. This will serve nicely for annuals in the spring and early summer. It just goes to show you that almost anything can be recycled if you have a good imagination.

(Photos are courtsey of favored1)

Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

Lawn Cart with Wheels

Lawn Buddy Planter Cart
Lawn Buddy Planter Cart

Fully assembled all poly construction cart has a large internal storage area.

Convenient comfortable seat with removable trays.


My Little Lawn Buddy

As you can see my planter's wagon is the old version of this. It served me well and I'm in need of a new one. It has a seat that doubles as a handle.

The seat is wide and comfortable. Inside the storage area there are removable trays. Plenty of room to keep your small garden tools and supplies at hand.

It's easy to clean, just wash it off, and it's rustproof. I can say from experience that I have used mine for so many things for years.

3 Arm High Rise Sprinkler - A Favorite of Mine

Growing up in the Garden State I learned to appreciate how farmers would water and work their fields. I didn't need the large sprinklers they had, but I liked the system they used.

Having this type of sprinkler throughout my yard not only saved me time, but it saved water. I would put these on a timer so I know exactly how long I watered and how often.

Most farmers suggested watering an hour or what would be equivalent to one inch of rain.

Orbit 58288 3-Arm High-Rise Sprinkler
Orbit 58288 3-Arm High-Rise Sprinkler

Area coverage - up to 50-Feet Diameter

Foot step spike for easy insertion into ground

Adjustable from 23-Inch to 35-Inch in height

Retracts to a small size for easy storage


An Old Crab Pot

Recycled container planting by favored1
Recycled container planting by favored1

I have had this old crab pot that was my mother-in-laws for, well I really don't care to admit how long, but it's been a while.

For years I planted yellow flowering stone crop in it and always filled it out to overflowing. However, in this new place where I live, stone crop doesn't do as well. I planted some in it and it looked stingy and never flowered.

So I've decided to try some new Dianthus plants and see how it does. Have to try something right? After all, it's family.

(Photos are courtsey of favored1)

Grow Your Own Luffa Sponge
Grow your own luffa sponge? It's easier than you think, and I'll show you how. Read on... In 2010 I met a lovely lady named Gail. She has all kinds of uniqu...

Favored 1
That's me! Glad you dropped by for a visit. Browse through some of my articles and see which ones suit you. Check them out and then drop me a line about your...

My yard - your yard. - So what do you have around your yard that could be put to good use?

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    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks paperfacets it was fun using so many items to grow things. My grill sadly didn't make it for new plants, but is being enjoyed by the birds :) Nice to see you.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 3 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Fun plant container ideas.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @Colin323: You're right. I used one for growing Iris and tulips. Had some hanging baskets on it, but they weren't safe with running pups in the yard. It is a great idea. Thanks for reminding me.

    • profile image

      Colin323 4 years ago

      An old wheelbarrow - makes a great planter, with hanging plants dropping down

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @jimporsche86: That's good. We can't always recycle everything, but it's nice when we can.

    • profile image

      jimporsche86 4 years ago

      I don't recycle as much as I should but I do try to find useful things to do with items that are no longer useful for the intended purpose.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Love finding unique purposes for things that are past their prime. Great ideas! :)

    • profile image

      Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm 5 years ago

      I love the idea of using a duck decoy as a flower pot. It looked hilarious :) Great ideas!

      Li Li

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Came back to share this idea with you. My sister used an old CD tower rake to display some beautiful rocks on the corner of a garden by the house. I thought of many other thing to re-use one for since.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for sharing with us how you reused many items that were lying around in your yard. Practical ideas for people who have yards. Keep up the good work and stay blessed!

    • KandDMarketing profile image

      KandDMarketing 5 years ago

      Great ideas. Here on our farm, we are all about the reuse, re-purpose and recycle philosophy. To much good stuff is just tossed, especially those things that are made of materials that really do not break down in the environment. Might as well use them for as long and in as many ways as possible!

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 5 years ago

      Awesome lens!!! You have some great ideas!!

    • Sher Ritchie profile image

      Sher Ritchie 5 years ago

      Love your lens, it's amazing! Your recycling/upcycling ideas are fantastic - I've featured your lens on mine: . Thanks for sharing and happy World Environment Day!

    • vetochemicals profile image

      Cindy 6 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

      I love your creativity using these old items for new planting ideas and I'll put it on my How to celebrate Earth Day lens, hope that's ok:) xoxo

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      This is a wonderful lens full of beaut ideas and resources. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2 and also on Earthday and What is Wrong with our Planet Earth? Hugs

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Its amzing what you can do when you think outside the box - I am a great believer in recycling and reusing. Thanks for some great ideas here.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      There are so many wonderful ideas in this lens! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm going to ask my sister to start saving her empty cat litter buckets for me. :)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 6 years ago

      This is a really lovely lens. I read every word - honestly sometimes I just skim, but I didn't want to miss anything. I have all kinds of ideas now. I didn't know tires held in heat, I thought of planting stuff that tends to go invasive: like mint in them. Pinned to my board "How does Your Garden Grow?" and Angel Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Oh, about that idea of planting the tomato deeper for a stronger stock, I just heard that from a gardening expert on TV last week and now you brought it up, that is such good advice!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      How delightfully done, I'm a little late in arriving to congratulate you on being one of the Best of Squidoo Silly Celebrations in April! I love your innovative ideas for recycling what is at hand and you do it wonderfully!...*

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 6 years ago from Australia

      Your grill story made me laugh because we once received a similar hand me down, but ours wasn't even good for flowers! Congratulations for your inclusion in the Best of Squidoo April Silly Celebrations and blessings.

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      "One trick to growing

      strong tomato stalks

      is to place them a little bit

      deeper in the soil."

      I like this tip, thanks.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 6 years ago

      Great recycling ideas! Super lens!

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 6 years ago

      congrats on making the wacky celebration monsterboard.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 6 years ago

      Great ideas. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 6 years ago

      i almost did the same thing with my garden. i just dont want to show it because it is in a disorderly situation. blessings for this green lens.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 6 years ago

      These are some great tips on better ways to re-purpose and reuse what we have.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      Great ideas for reusing "worn-out" items. I'm always saving things and finding good uses for them later.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 6 years ago

      You are so creative - I especially love the grill into a flower pot idea!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 6 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Lovely ways to keep a "green" yard - really enjoyed the pictures and write up

    • amkatee profile image

      amkatee 6 years ago

      I'm using old newspaper to lay down in the flowerbed to keep weeds out and then adding mulch on top of it. I've started a compost bin too.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 6 years ago

      I really like the tomatoes in kitty litter pails. Very clever, and about to be shamelessly copied in my own yard. Thanks! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love this go green lens. Thank you so much for your nice information and tips. A lot worthy things I already got from here, especially tomatoes growing trick ;) Have wonderful times.. always.. dear lady :D


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