What Single or Limited Use Items Do You Reuse?

Whether it's chicken pad thai from Green Peppercorn or leftover charcoal chicken from EJs, I often wash and reuse plastic takeaway containers for later. I'll throw out the container if it's oily or broken.

They're especially handy when after a party and you want people to take home leftover cake or nem nuong.

Sounds tightass but I like to think that reusing/recycling is better than going to landfill.


    • lmao do you have any visitors at your house?

    • You should sell the towels. You'll get big bucks. SMH

  • +1

    Hmm… plastic water bottles, get reused 2-3 times then thrown out. Also ziplock eg. one week it held cookies, m&ms the next. Oh jam jars, I do love those.

    I have a hoarder friend and she collects every piece of trash though… from jars (which are ok) to bits of random cardboard, water bottles, perfume bottles (she stuck a candle in one and made it into a candle holder - totally not safe) and takeaway containers. She has been to my events and collected dirty disposable forks/bowls and all that. She's a total weirdo though, rarely washes the dishes/utensils and just buys "new" ones from the op shop, and obviously doesn't wash those either… - Side note, is there any place where we can dob her in for being a hoarder? She doesn't think she's a hoarder.

    • How's your tattoos going luv

  • +5

    Toilet paper and paper towel cores. Put your cables in there and say goodbye to tangles. You can label them easily. There's a never ending supply as well.

    • +6

      Also, bread tags fit on power cables and make great little tags so you know what's what.

    • Never thought of this but I'm gonna do it. Thanks!

  • Baby wipes accidentally found their way in to the washing machine and I discovered they can be reused for 5-6 washes before they are too full of holes

    • +2


      • Probably just the ones that have wiped wee etc I imagine

    • +1

      And yet people think it's OK to flush them down the toilet…

  • +5

    Rubber bands and twist ties. They cost hardly anything, but then I never have to go to the effort to buy any.

  • The main and side brushes of the Xiaomi robot.

    They usually still look ok after the app says they need replacing.

    • My side brush is well not due for replacement according to the app, but is looking pretty munted… admittedly I do have a lot of items for it to brush, but I'm surprised you're getting so much life out of yours!

      • In my house they let at least two full cycles.

  • +1

    My mother in law reuses teabags.

    • for what?

      • +1

        For diluted tea probably.. it's still good and usable just maybe half or less of the original taste/flavor.

  • +8

    My grandma used to reuse the newspaper shrink wrap as gladwrap for her food.

    RIP grandma.

    • +3

      RIP grandma.

  • -2

    Surprised no one has said razors yet…

  • Contact lenses. But you have to use peroxide based storage solution.

    • +3

      Careful. You're putting yourself at risk of GPC. I used to 'extend' my monthly contacts by a week each month thinking it'll be okay with a hydrogen peroxide solution. After doing that for 7 years developed GPC, which was no fun.

      Better not mess your eyes cos you only have one pair.


      • How long did it take your GPC to go away?

        After reading that link I feel like I developed it a bit due to wearing contacts for longer than the prescribed period. This was around last year, I can wear contacts now and seem to be okay but don't wear them daily like I used to.

        • +1

          I had to stop wearing them for around two weeks, and used a prescription eye drop twice a day for about 7 days. It alleviated the symptoms but I felt the symptoms flare up after about 6 months. I've now switched to a fortnightly disposable lens and try to limit wear time to under 12 hours a day and it's been okay ever since.

      • Thanks for this.

  • The GLAD zip bag thingos

  • +2

    German pork knuckle bone to make congee. Gives it a nice Smokey taste.

  • +5
    1. Facial wipes, I use them to clean my face and then to wipe dusts around the bathroom.
    2. Supermarket veggie bags for rubbish especially when cooking (eg, veggie peels, garlic skin etc).
    3. I sometimes resuse the breakfast bowl to heat up my lunch without washing it.
    4. Disposable gloves. I use it multiple times to wash dishes until it feels damp inside.
    • Disposable gloves, certainly aren't disposable from my perspective. I use them when I rub Finalgon on my sore muscles; this is like deep heat on steriods. There is no way you want this stuff directly on your fingers, not a good idea to rub your eyes, etc, even ifyou have washed your hands. Reuse the glove for next time.

  • daily disposable contact lenses, used it over and over and over again, about 6 hours each time, that way you staggered it daily for 4 days in a row which is then 24 hours which is exactly the amount of hours you are recommended to wear before throwing it out. Eyes sometimes can get red and look tired though but you'll get over it.

  • +1

    Not single use but our post comes bound in elastic bands when there are a few letters. I keep the bands and use them for various things around the house when needed.

  • Last time I bought anchovies from Costco they came in a nice clip top preserving jar like this

    I dont drink coffee but I stole a heap of coffee jars from mum for storing dry baking ingredients. Maccona ones that can hold about a kilo and some larger Pablo ones from the 70s that hold about 3 kg. https://cdndata.bigfooty.com/2016/08/275885_b13fce4b01f1d0cb...

  • +7

    Motors from kids toys after the toy is broken. Remove them. Solder 2 wires and give them to kids with a battery pack and kids enjoy them more than the original toy. They made fans, plug in a old ball point pen and draw designs etc.

  • +1

    VOSS water bottle.In fact we buy them only for that bottle and not water.

  • I bought gilette fusion proglide flexball razor back in 2016 september because it was on a special at woolies, remember less than $10.
    However, the refills are expensive… so i have been using the same one that came with a razor ever since I got it.

  • +1

    Newspaper for deep frying. Lay it surrounding the deep fryer, and two sheets on the floor; keeps the kitchen spotless, and a container lined with it makes for good drainage of the food.

    KFC moist towelettes go in the glove box of the car.

    Used to save the included hex key from flat pack furniture, etc; but I have so many now I don't need to keep stockpiling.

    • +2

      Cut the end off so it's a straight piece then use it in a drill to assemble things quicker :-)

    • +1

      I use catalogs for throwing fruit skin and seeds, or bones. I also have a weird way of eating potato chips. I don't eat from the packet. I pour it out onto a sheet of catalog (either double sheet or one sheet folded in half). I don't like getting my knuckles or back of my hand dirty from scraping the inside of the chips wrapper. :D

      My folks use newspapers for wiping glass after cleaning it with Windex.

      • +2

        Newspapers are the best as they do not leave streaks.

  • Yes. As required and if not a safety hazard.

    What is safety hazard: reusing plastic types that is not 4 or 5 if used for food storage.

  • -1

    i re-use my car, multiple times in a row.

  • +3

    Instead of throwing my dog away when he wasn't a puppy anymore, I just kept him and let him grow up into a full sized dog. This way, instead of spending $1000 on a new puppy every couple of months, I keep the old one. His love and affection does get a bit old, but this is the price of frugality.

  • +1

    Normal alkaline batteries.

    If you don't discharge them more than 60% you can recharge 'em another few times.

    • Are you talking about non-rechargeable batteries?
      How do you recharge them?

      • I have only tried it experimentally. It does work, but I used a "dumb" battery charger rather than a computerised one. I checked the voltage with a multimeter.

  • Take away coffee cups all the time! I get one in the morning and rinse and reuse it for my 2-3 instant coffees that day before throwing it out. (No H8 on the instant coffee plz)

  • -1


    H. Weinstein

    • -1

      The well known trope of Hollywood was 'who'd you have sex with to get that role', and now everyone's disgusted that a mogul got A listers to polish their knob to get a movie role.

      Water is wet, who'da thunk it?

  • I wonder how many ozbargainers recycle stamps??

    • I have got a still good conditioned large padded parcel bag I want to use to give away a small controller for Android devices sometime when I can get around to it on gumtree via Australia post. Curious to see if they will take it. Just needs some double sided sticky tape or something.

      Have a neat nvidia shield tablet box that I still need to get rid of too also.

  • Missus re-uses the frozen berry relesealbe bags. They are a lot more durable and thicker than sandwich bags. She also has some sort of wax coated thing that she uses instead of cling wrap that you can resuse.

    • She also has some sort of wax coated thing that she uses instead of cling wrap that you can resuse.

      Must be a beeswax wrap.

  • Tooth floss pick.

    • gross it has bacteria which in turn is why it's a single use item only. gross

      • I'm confused, do you get a new toothbrush every 12 hours?

        Plus I wash it and dry it. Bacteria cannot survive a day outside the mouth in a dry environment. Therefore each time I use it there's no bacteria alive on it.

  • If you ever buy those McCain or On The Menu plate meals, you can re-use the plates after washing for leftovers. Just add the food quite flat, wrap in a single layer of Glad Wrap and you have made a new easy microwave meal which stack nice in the freezer. Works for roasts, pasta, pizza, stirfry, most things.

  • One day contact lenses. At least 5 days out of them.

  • -1

    Calendars. Just wait until a suitable year and reuse them. :)

    Actually serious re those desk calendars with a joke/saying/insight/foreign word per day. Just as long as you don't use them for planning, but only for the daily content.

  • my mum insists on reusing the ziplock bags I pack the kid's lunch with.

    • +2

      Why not? Rinse them out in hot water, dry them and they should be good to go. I really don't understand the "use once" philosphy with things like Ziplock bags. They have a ziplock because they are meant to be reused. They are also beginning to find a lot of allergies etc where the problem is that the kids don't get a chance to build up their immune system when young.

    • Yeah same deal with water bottles I hope you guys re-use them because they can last quite a while if you keep them clean.

  • I reuse the plastic cover on the in-ear thermometer. There were 10 in the pack and am still on the 1st one after a year.

    • Hopefully you don't share and you wash it.

  • +6

    I reuse shopping bags from Coles and woolies for rubbish. I have a small bin which these bags fit perfectly.

    I don't know what I'll do once they ban these bags in a month. You can't buy these shopping bags. The ones they will sell for 15c are wide open with a handle. These make poor garbage bags.

    I find the bags from supermarkets to be much more convenient and clean to dispose of than getting a big bin with big bags. Sometimes I don't even bother with a bin. Just have a bag on the floor and throw stuff into the bag.

    I don't know of people who just throw away their shopping bags after a single use. Everyone I know reuses their bags. This will not cut down on plastic bag use. It just means people like me will have to start buying alternative plastic bags for garbage, but the same amount of plastic will still be used.

    I'm not going to carry those green bags woolies sell with me every time I go shopping. That's not happening. So with respect to bagging my groceries, it means I'll have to pay for bags now, but the amount of plastic I use will not change.

    I understand you love the environment. How about switching to strong brown paper bags like the US uses?

    • Yup, I agree.

      I'm not sure what I'm going to do once Colesworth stop giving out free plastic bags.

      I use them for normal rubbish bins too.

      I never understood buying rubbish bags for normal sized bins. Although I have a big kitchen bin that I use commercial grade bin liners.

  • I use my own cutlery when I have Chinese takeaway at home and save those little cutlery packs for when I'm out - I just give them a wipe or a wash and seal up the pack again ready to use next time.

    Sometimes the napkin gets a change, sometimes it doesn't.

    Also, I reuse napkins if they are only partially or not used. Kind of gross but oh well.

    • -1

      you realise you can buy like 100 plastics forks for a dollar

      • +1

        49c I think, but that's beside the point.

        Actually, it looks like they have gone up in price to $2? Minimising landfill and maximising profits :P

        • SMH what a huge life changer, you're rich now

        • @boostpak: were you really that petty to comment such a childish thing on a post that's like 10 days ago. You dont even make sense..

    • I keep takeaway cutlery at work in my drawer for those times when there are no forks in the work kitchen or when i go to park to eat my lunch and I've brought food from home.

      • I mean this is just smart who doesn't do this unless you are very tired or too exhausted enough to worry about it.

  • I used to send mine to China.

  • +1

    Boxer shorts, can get 4 wears out of a pair.

    1 - Normal
    2 - Switch to back-to-front
    3 - Flip it inside-out
    4 - Switch to back-to-front

    Problem is, if I'm at a urinal trying to do a wee and it's wear no. 2 or 3 hmm….. interesting.

    • 5 - Swap with a friend

      • Not if they went commando.

  • +1

    7-11 coffee cups.
    Then they get recycled at their collection points.

  • +3

    Moccona coffee jars.
    All my spices are stored in those jars.

    • This is the only reason I wish I drank instant coffee. Being a coffee snob and only using single orign beans, my spices are missing out.

  • +3

    joke at ozbargain

    • Half the comments in the eBay threads over the last year have been disposable one liners that have been parroted past the point of beating a dead horse.

  • condom

  • +2

    Swimming nappies. I simply wash them by hand with liquid detergent and rinse off with very hot water.i dry them in full sun too. You can use them probably up to 7ish times before tgey start to show some wear. I'm talking about little swimmers type nappies.

    • yes i have used them twice, it works, they are expensive so good idea.

    • +1

      i've got a newborn, good to know for when we're ready to take her to swimming lessons

  • +1

    I also reuse those bags you put fruit and vegetables in from coles and woolies etc. They're my bathroom bin liners 😁

    • +1

      Exactly this!!

      Just recently started doing it (a few weeks ago), and it's a great solution.

  • Tenga Egg

  • Dental floss that comes attached to plastic holders/toothpicks.

    I tend to tear off the unused parts of a serviette or tissue to use later.

    I put new batteries in "disposable" keyring LED lights (I have a rechargeable one from Nitecore now though).

  • Old Nappies with wee wee in them. No poo poo.

    For the garden and pot plants, apparently they are the same water crystals used in gardening.

    The wee wee will also provide nitrogen and other nutrients for the plants to grow.

  • Wrapping paper, gift bags like the wine bags etc, rubber bands from post/fruit and veg.

  • +2

    I kept the plastic strainer/mold that came when I bought a large quantity of ricotta. It's been my go to strainer for years.

    I also use bread tags to close opened frozen food bags that don't have a ziplock, like peas and corn.

  • +1

    I kept the plastic cutlery from my economy Qantas flights. They were really good quality and I use them when travelling.

    • I have my sets from my last flights in my drawer at work. They are really good heavy duty plastic (when flying with Malaysian Air and Cathay Pacific).

      They can handle the dishwasher too :)

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