Stop! Don’t Throw That Away!

Photo c/o

Photo c/o

Today we’re going to explore the uses of items from the toilet to the tropics.  (I’m sure I would have received a D- if I had started out a term paper this way.  But I just couldn’t resist.)  Toilet paper rolls and banana peels.  How about that combination?  

Let’s start with the toilet paper roll.  Who knew something so simple can be so darn useful to us?  Shhh… don’t tell Charmin, they’ll raise the price!  In addition to toilet paper rolls, you can also make good use of the foil, saran wrap, paper towels, and wrapping paper rolls.  (I’m cringing right now as I realize all of toilet paper rolls that I’ve had a hand in throwing away before I got smart.)

  1. For starters, although it’s not very sexy, you can cut up the rolls into small pieces and use them in your compost pile.  They help your plants to retain moisture and are a deterrent to weed growth.
  2. You can also roll out toilet paper rolls flat, punch a few holes in them and then line the bottom of your plant pots with them.  This will allow the water to flow through, but not the soil, and still provide a weed deterrent as well.
  3. One of the best ways to use cardboard rolls though is as peat pots for starter for your plants. These work great for seedlings or small cuttings.  Talk about easy and economical!  And hey, it’s even environmentally friendly, too!  Simply cut the roll in about 3 inch size in length, keeping the roll intact.  Then cut into one end at the Noon, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 spot, about a half inch deep.  Now fold in the “flaps” that you’ve made, to create a solid bottom so that the roll will stand on its own easily. It will resemble a square bottom.  Place the rolls into a shallow, flat garden tray.  (You can get the plastic ones for free at garden centers!)  Add your potting mix, and then plant your seed or cutting.  Water until the rolls are wet, otherwise the rolls will soak up the water from your plants in the future.  If necessary, water the rolls from the side instead of directly overhead to ensure unnecessary disturbance to the seeds.  You can make longer peat pots for larger plants such as tomatoes or woody cuttings as it will encourage the roots to grow downward. Once your seedlings/cuttings are ready to live life on their own in your garden, all you need to do is place them in the soil or your preferred container while still in the cardboard contraption.  The cardboard will break down and become a part of your soil just like you would expect in a peat pot.  This strategy really enables you to get a head start on your plantings for the spring, summer, and fall!

  4. You can also use flattened cardboard rolls just below your top soil or mulch to prevent weed growth and foster better water retention.
  5. To keep weeds out of your pots, unroll cardboard rolls and place them on top of the soil, under a layer of mulch or rocks, much as you would use cardboard boxes in your garden.

These cardboard rolls are so valuable, if I were you, I’d beg your friends and neighbors who “just aren’t into it” to give them to you.  Your garden and trees will thank you!


Banana Peels—Nope, you don’t want to throw these out either.  After all, someone could slip and fall, right?

  1. Banana peels are a great source of nutrition for your garden, especially your flower garden!  Simply break them down into smaller pieces so that you can work them a few inches deep into the surrounding soil.  Aphids hate these, so bananas are ideal for your tomatoes, trees, and roses.
  2. You can dry banana peels out and then grind them down as a great potassium-rich fertilizer or you can simply add them to your compost pile.
    Photo c/o Heart Windows Art

    Photo c/o Heart Windows Art

  3. They will also attract bees, butterflies, and birds.  Simply put the small pieces of banana peel below your bird seed and your bird viewing will be heightened, as will the fertilization of your plants and trees by the bees.
  4. A banana peel also serves as a great shoe polisher or silver polisher.  (Dry it out a bit first.)  Simply use the inside of the peel, and buff away.  This also works GREAT for shining up your plant leaves and it feeds the leaves nutrients as well.
  5. If your teeth are getting a bit yellow, use the inside of the banana peel to rub your teeth in a circular motion.  After 2 weeks you will indeed notice a difference.  (Although I would use a fresh peel for this, not an old one.  Yuck!  So just think “eat a banana, shine my teeth.”)
  6. Most horses like banana peels as an occasional treat also.
  7. Believe it or not, many nations wrap their meat in a banana peel when roasting it, resulting in a more tender meat when it’s done.  Somehow the food avoids tasting “tropical.”
  8. Lastly, you can use the inside of a banana peel to ease a mosquito bite, even an ant bite.

And if you ever DO slip on a banana peel and hurt your back, you can always make a paste of meat tenderizer and water and add some warm heat to the “owie.”  Really.  It works!

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Banana peels are great for

Banana peels are great for roses. Digging them in the mulch is a great idea but then we had a problem with raccoons and chipmunks digging them up. Next time, I'll dry them.

Although the inside of a

Although the inside of a banana peel may be good to ease the itch of a mosquito bite, bananas in general will attract mosquito's.

tp rolls -- no work fire

tp rolls -- no work fire starters staple or tape one end closed sit on dryer, when you empty lint trap stuff it in till full. To use just loosen lint and light tube

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