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Thread: Things we throw away now... useful in SHTF Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-24-2019 11:53 AM
hels337 If you are going to plant a tree then plant something that will produce food. Apples, cherries, various nuts are all common and easy to grow depending on your climate.

Another factor for collecting books is they act as an insulation tool if they are near against a wall.
09-21-2019 04:44 PM
Purdy Bear Here in the UK, one brand of yogurt does a bucket version with a handle and lid. I'm always using them to put broken china into for the rubbish bin.

Things like apple cores and fruit seeds we chuck away, but they will grow if you know how. They may not be like the original, but they are still food.

Toilet rolls, cardboard, all forms of paper can be mashed up to make new sheets etc.
09-19-2019 04:05 AM
William Ashley I found that yogurt containers (the larger ones 16fl oz. etc..) were good for use as planters. Bunch of videos on using pop bottles for growing seed. Good Glass bottles/jars for mixing chemicals. PET containers etc.. various plastics can be reshaped fairly easy with sufficient heat.

Most everything can be repurposed.

My current experiment is converting an old car muffler the big part not the pipe alone into a small camp stove. Old metal cans/tins can be turned into campstoves. Clay mudearth can be used.. the old "forgotten useful technology stuff series .. lots of 3rd world technology tricks are really useful for use of waste product.

You know for electronics all the garbage electronics are a store house waiting to be used with use of a solder/heat gun... basic electronics can go a long way.. power adapters stemp downs and stepups can be useful... old batteries can be rejuvinated or repurposed.
09-15-2019 11:13 PM
Originally Posted by juju72782 View Post
Newbie here, though I've been lurking for about a year or so. I'll probably rarely chime in much less start a new topic, but here it goes. This may have already been discussed but...

I watch little tv but recently re-watched The Book of Eli and The Road. In the first, a girl asks what things were like before SHTF and I loved this quote:

"People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious and what wasn't. We threw away things people kill each other for now."

In that particular movie, that one quote really got me thinking. You see them bartering with little wet wipe packs (as if that wouldn't be dried out by then but...).

What items do we throw away now (and consider "disposable") that you think would be very useful in a SHTF scenario?

For example... One of the items I save that doesn't take up much room are twist-ties, especially the thicker and longer ones that come in toy packaging. I use them a lot around the holidays for hanging things and I also use them a lot when we go camping (hanging things in the tent).
If you know a teen that works at a fast food place, you might be able to score tons of twistie ties. I remember when I worked at one in my teens, and every case of trash bags came with a huge roll of twistie ties, which we threw away because we didn't use them. Also, though it's been 20 years since I worked there and maybe it's changed, but you could get all the pickle buckets you wanted from Burger King.

If wet wipes (or clorox wipes, etc.) dry out, just add some water and let it sit for a bit.

Plastic containers, particularly juice containers, have numerous uses, and juice containers tend to be much thicker. The large ones that peanuts come in are handy for storing things. The thinner, tall circular ones are good for holding regular sized canning lids.

I don't have chickens anymore, but I always saved the feedbags. I often use them when I have broken glass or rusty metal for the trash.

Those of you who mentioned bicycles... don't forget about a few manual air pumps! Perhaps a few spare rubber tires.

I often save the screws from something I'm throwing out.

And definitely books! A lot of people have them as e-books, and while that's better than nothing, it isn't going to do much if the power is out. Sure, maybe you have it on a portable device with a solar charger, but eventually that may break (especially since it's probably getting a lot of use), plus you probably wouldn't want to loan it out. I have 3 or 4 libraries in my area that do annual book sales, and they usually have a bag sale at the end - $3 for as many books as you can fit in a bag. I've picked up a lot of good books that way. If you live by a large college, you can pick up a lot of academic books at the end of the year if you don't mind a little dumpster diving. Sometimes you can even make a profit reselling some!

Not quite the same, but a lot of stuff we throw away could be composted. 99.9% of all the paper in my house is shredded and added to the compost piles, as well as cardboard, and nearly anything else I can get my hands on. People I know will give me bags of shredded paper, their cardboard, etc. It makes for some very nice compost piles.
09-15-2019 09:06 PM
Jim from 28DaysLater Something I think might end up being one of the big themes of TEOW is bicycles. At least for a while.

If it's a point when a lot of people are still alive, but a lot of stuff is really wrecked--- basically, no gasoline or auto repairs for most people--- then it might be important to get stuff done on a bike. Might be one of the ways to greatly increase your chances of getting safely from point A to point B, besides giving you more time, and putting more in your reach.

In that case, having saved up a lot of those garage sale bikes might be a boon. Might effect your fate a lot.

A lot of people might think it's a weird answer, and a lot of people might not believe it, but... I believe it! Reminds me of a lot of things I've read and heard before, too.

Imagine having only spent $100 to get ten garage sale bikes for $10 each. But then being able to give those bikes to ten households you're allied with after a SHTF event. Seems possibly like a real lever to magnify your effect on things a lot.
09-15-2019 04:35 PM
Random Useful Items

I think there are many useful items that we easily overlook due to modern conveniences. I think the general public thinks it won't happen - except for in the movies - and then it does happen. Just look at the damage done in the Bahamas and the Florida panhandle area as a result of Category 5 hurricanes - and people had some time to prepare for the aftermath of that (granted, there are some things you can't fully prepare for).

I think one of the things is using technology to our advantage in the sense that we research all we can and get it in a hard copy format that we can use should power and internet not be an option in some kind of situation.

Beyond this, I think we can best use our time to gain skills that have gone out of vogue because technology can do them better/faster or whatever. I think having skills in addition to the various items that could be used in various survival ways will help in bartering and/or joining groups so you can provide something useful.

Happy Prepping,
09-13-2019 01:39 AM
SoJ_51 ..I think it's more of a 'mindset' / what you 'see' in things, than necessarily 'what items are "good" for repurposing vs others' / the things themselves... , ie:

..Water jug "camp sink", with 'base-turned-to dust cover / soap dish'... Credit: my Son..

..Or, ie: 'garbage empty spice jar'? ..Or - 'Toothpick shaker' / dispenser...

..torn / worn cargo-pocket good for nothing but the wastebasket? ..Or - Mini IFAK-roll ( put in yer cargo pocket

..etc, etc, etc..

..or.. Maybe it's, in fact, how closely linked you are to MacGuyver's blood line? jk, but.. Indeed, 'one Man's trash is another Man's treasure'.. So true. (..IF you have the right mindset..


PS - Yes, 3 Cheers for the Almighty 'heavy-duty bread tie'.. ..Just did an electronics repair (temp, onsite..) with one last month.. Saved the day...
09-12-2019 11:43 PM
IceFire Several things that I reuse/repurpose:

Drink mix cannisters - I use them for storing seeds. Can place seed packets in them, or when I save seed from my plants, they have plenty of room for holding lots of harvested seed.

Coffee cans/cannisters - used for holding screws, nails, and bolts. Each size is in a different can.

Glass Jars - Since I do a lot of canning, cheese making, making things from scratch, etc., I use these a LOT. I also use them for storing milk until I have a chance to get the cheese made.

Vegetable/fruit scraps - these either go to the animals, or to the compost.

Horse/cow/goat/poultry manure - Goes to the "future fertilizer" pile to compost down until it's ready to go to the garden or orchard.

Leaky hoses - where the leak is, I cut it and then use hose repair pieces (which I keep a stash of) to repair the hoses.

K-Cup "pods" - Use them for growing plants in the aquaponics system

Plant pots/flats - Since I do a lot of seed starting and growing out, I use them for growing out prior to transplanting out.

Old clothing - gets repaired when possible, remade, or if completely unusable, buttons, zippers, snaps, etc. get removed and stored for reuse later, and the fabric cut for use as quilt patches, cleaning rags, etc.

Egg cartons - No, I don't buy eggs...other people give me their empties, and I use them to hold the eggs from my chickens. Saves me from having to buy cartons to hold the eggs I sell.

2 qt juice bottles (the flat-sided ones like what cranberry juice comes in) - nI clean them out, run them through the dishwasher, and use them to store water.
09-12-2019 12:44 AM
Old fart I save the flats and pots flowers and veggie plants come in to start seeds/transplant/split little seedlings into... ditto for the hanger thingees, hanging pots, etc. A lot of people throw them away, although some nurseries/greenhouses/arboretums/etc. have a recycle bin(s) for them.

Also use the seed packets for reference for the next year (keep notes on planting/sprouting/harvest dates/yields, which did well, especially during *extreme* conditions, and any notes. Numbered cross-reference system for what's in which container. Most people throw them away or use them for disposable/one-season markers in a garden.

Most people throw away hoses when they start to leak. I use them for irrigation or dog cooling toy (make more holes). I clean out/repair sprinklers that *don't work* or are *broken.* Both are usually curbside on trash day or given away at yard sales I wonder if the leaky hoses could be used as an external sprinkler system for the roof
09-11-2019 11:35 PM
Originally Posted by FalconsBravesHawks View Post
Love the toy twist-ties. Keep all of them, they are super heavy duty and usually are very long...can cut as needed.
Something rom chicomland worth having/saving. Hard to believe.

Or just by a roll of solid core insulated wire. Made in the USA
09-11-2019 10:47 PM
IAFARMER Just today, I needed a certain sized spring to replace one that "escaped" our commercial lawn mower. I went to my spring bucket and found several that were 'bout right, and then found one that was a near perfect replacement. The spring bucket is heaped full and weighs about 60 or 70 pounds. It sets right next to the chain bucket beside the threaded rod bucket in front of the non-threaded rod bucket which is in the vicinity of the angle steel bucket but not as far as the square tubing bucket. Et Cetera.
09-11-2019 09:52 PM
Flofli Jars can also hold grease after cooking to be reused for cooking, although i have a grease container with a little sieve like top. My grandma would always cut the buttons from old clothes and saved them to replace missing buttons. I also save old clothes and towels that for cleaning. I also keep the screws from old eyeglasses.
09-10-2019 08:29 PM
Mule Skinner Even though my wife and I both grew up poor (in different places)
she somehow didn't develop the "never throw it away" attitude
that I have.

On the other hand, she keeps leftover food longer than I would.
09-10-2019 05:17 PM
Originally Posted by Jim from 28DaysLater View Post
You're right, but survivalism is weird enough already without my hoarding up huge amounts of ordinary junk.

The significance of dryer lint, plastic shopping bags, all plastic bags that you get free with other items (for instance, in electronics packaging, or covering items sent in the mail), twist ties, glass and plastic food bottles, etc., isn't lost on me. I even ponder stripping electronics etc. before throwing them out.

I save all plaztik bottles, pill bottles, pickle jars, cat litter buckets/containers, tires, junk metal, etc.
For 20 years I have played with electronics and I too save old boards, transformers, even remove components from boards/devices. I get hollered at ALOT for "KEEPING that JUNK", but one day a piece of this junk may save her AZZ by making a trade. (Depending on my mood at that time)
09-09-2019 12:58 PM
Originally Posted by Old fart View Post
...I haven't figured out a way to reuse aerosol cans (except for recycling for the metal)...
The 'shaker ball' inside aerosol paint cans make great wrist rocket ammo
08-28-2019 08:55 PM
Originally Posted by bkwudzhom View Post
While growing up on the farm we reused as much as we could. It may be a couple of years later but we usually found a use for stuff we kept..even if it was scrap metal that we sold when the price went up and used that extra cash for a project.

We waste way too much.
Most people today "Do not know how to make do with what you have". "I have a lot of stuff". Most of it in the 8X12 shed and in a 12X24 storage space under the house. I am into the stored items often. That under house space also holds our outdoor furniture during the winter. So it isn't full of needed items but shares the space.

Being in construction all my life I know what is valuable and what isn't. A leak during the Holiday's I can take care of it. That is why I prep.. I don't throw much away.... Repurpose is my BY WORD.
08-11-2019 10:38 AM
Originally Posted by francessanne View Post
my entry...old can fix the bottom of shoes with the rubber...and some good shoe cement. ive even seen people make shoes out of tires...treads on the bottom, wrap your foot in them for size, holes and string on top
I first saw this was in Nam most of the Viet Cong wore those that I encounter after a battle.
08-11-2019 08:45 AM
Truck Vet I work for a Large farm. Its amazing how much
Junk there is around there.
I used to provoke the bosses by humming the
theme to "Sanford and Son."

Couple weeks ago, I got to work early after
a windy night. A covered used,
5 gallon bucket was right next to where I park
my Truck, asking to be part
of my collection.

My wife teases me about my large collection
of free buckets. When I get a pickup truck full of mulch,
I let the loader fill up many of them.
When they are
uncovered I carry 2 full buckets at a time to
mulch different parts of our yard.
Our yard has many containers with plants.
We have fences to keep dogs out of
the Garden, and a truck won't fit there.
I also use buckets to carry
compost, dirt, and gravel.
Much of our container Garden
is in containers that stand about
2 and a half feet off the ground. So
I will use the buckets to carry things to
hard to reach parts of the garden then sit
on the bucket while I work on the garden.

I deliver sod to new construction
using a Tractor Trailer. Its amazing how many
of these buckets I see thrown into dumpsters.
08-11-2019 08:26 AM
Originally Posted by Prepper_Ed View Post
Small containers such as empty vitamin bottles. Possible uses pre and post SHTF:
1) Store nuts, bolts, screws
2) Store fishing tackle such as hooks and sinkers
3) Airtight containers for storing the innards of small game animals that have been cleaned. Catfish love this sort of stinky bait.
4) Hold any insects caught for bait
5) Container for bird bait. Fill with birdseed and find a clearing. Make a small pile of seed and sit back and wait for birds to show up and blast 'em.
I'm sure there are many more uses

I use small bottles of all sizes (prescription/vitamins, etc) to store my garden seeds that I've saved from the best vegetables I've raised (several varieties of tomato seeds for instance). I know from experience that you'd better label them well so you know what they are the following year.
08-11-2019 08:01 AM
mtnairkin Hey, good first thread!!

I don't consider much stuff as 'junk'. It is my source of raw materials.
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