Trash That’s Not Trash



I don’t spend much time anymore reading other survival blogs. I usually stay off the forums for the most part. Heck I have been thinking about giving up tsp. Why would you do that for James? Well I am a sponge and would have to sound like I’m  mimicking anyone else. It’s a fine line between still learning and enjoying my favorite subjects and copying. There’s an article I’ve seen going around called something about the items to not trash. Items to always keep as a prepper. What’s on the list of not trash? I have no idea I haven’t read it. It got me thinking though that there are items I always keep. Some of you might be interested in what my packrat butt hordes. Let’s get into the trash and see what we find.

Insert the pegs Trash
#10 Coffee Can

Coffee Cans

I only buy coffee in #10 metal cans. This is usually a store brand and some are better than others. I usually like a higher end roast. Those all come in bags though. I might stock up on some Lock N Load Java now that my coffee can stash is getting full. Just looking back I count 10 empty metal coffee cans. Why do I horde empty coffee cans? They are great containers. When I recently had to make a hobo stove for a reader I had plenty of cans to chose from. I am collecting coffee grounds in one right now. I plan on growing mushrooms in the can. Metal coffee cans have a million uses. They were good enough for your grandparents to fill with cash and bury. Keep them from the trash and use them.


Glass Jars Trash
Glass Jars

Glass Jars

Things like salsa jars with good metal lids are the best. Save them from the trash.  It’s like free Tupperware. Only healthier for you. So I have this obsession with trying to reduce the amount of plastic in my life. Yeah I’m kinda crazy. I don’t like the estrogens and chemicals in plastic. I no longer put food in plastic containers. I carry my lunch in Pyrex containers. I can make my own salsa and put in an old jar. Put in some cream and make butter. Homemade sauces and condiments all in nice glass containers. And much cheaper too. When I switched to pyrex food containers it was not cheap.  These reused jars help with the cost. Also I’ve used them to make emergency oil lamps. Small ones like Olive jars work great.


T Shirts Trash
T Shirts

Old T-Shirts

These have the shortest life of the items listed to not trash. Eventually you will be tossing or composting t shirts too. Until they torn to dust though you can put them to work on several things. First is as rags. I seem to ruin dish cloths and towels quickly. So I will use tshirts rags for the bad messes. It save the good towels from an early death. You can turn them back into cordage. Use them to tie things up like tomato plants to the poles. I have some scraps I am going to go turn into char cloth. Use instead of cheese cloth. Recently I was trying to make kombucha tea. I covered the top with cheese cloth and nats got in a ruined it. The cheese cloth holes were too big. If I had used an old t shirt it might have worked. Too many reasons to keep t shirts from the trash to even list.



Trash Is Gold

Those are just a few of the things I always keep out the trash. No I’m not a hoarder either. No crazy stacks of newspapers or anything. Everything is stored away in it’s place. I did finally trash the 40 2 liter bottles I had laying around. I planned on using them for water but never got around to it. Plus theres that whole plastic thing again. So keep those items from the trash can and reuse them.

What do you keep from the trash pile? Let me know in the comments!




3 thoughts to “Trash That’s Not Trash”

  1. James,

    I can relate to your post. My wife and I now collect anything with future functional value. There is a fine line between being a hoarder and being a prepper. I believe hoarders collect some things with no future functional value, while a prepper has the ability to prioritize the acquisitions. A partial list of things we collect in the trash category are: Wooden boards, metal surplus, yellow pages, bottles including wine bottles, yard waste. The next step up in the acquisition process is items considered low value at garage/estate sales/thrift shops, such as hand tools, camping gear, jackets, writing paper, fasteners, etc. Searching for items with future functional value adds an additional dimension to life.

  2. We save all the newspaper-material ad sheets that come with the junk mail and use it to start campfires, make worm bedding, drop cloths to paint on, etc. I haven’t bought a newspaper in years, but I have bins full of this stuff and it always comes in handy. We also reuse paper and plastic sacks from the grocery store. A lot of it still ends up in the garbage, but at least it’s full of cat poop or raw meat containers from the store that we don’t want to stink up the trash. We also try to reuse ziploc bags two or three times. If they just held some tortillas or lettuce, I’ll reuse them for shake-and-bake chicken or whatever. We hardly go through one of the larger boxes in a whole year.

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