I did not personally generate that much waste, that I then had to think about reusing, but I did start thinking about how much paper we waste at work - even though it's recycled, it's still waste. Seriously, stop printing emails already!
Okay, now I feel better.
Somewhat related: Once when I was writing fiction more often and printing it out so I could edit printed copies (I swear it's different than looking at it on a screen), I brought home a ton of paper from old manuals so I could print on the backside. At one point my demand for used paper outpaced my personal supply.
What I did end up with was one of these little paper sample cups. I was involved with two of them, but the first one was disposed of by someone else before I could hide it, for reuse or at least a photo. It's food-grade paper, so it could be either recycled or composted, and it's not even dirty. It contained a dry (but tasty) scone for about thirty minutes.
Ideas I had for reusing it: seed cup for seedlings next year, catch-all for anything... Honestly, I don't have a lot of ideas for this guy. I thought about putting it on the table, see what the cats would do with it. Feed it to the dog. I'm probably going to compost it.
The other thing I have on my hands today is a waxed paper bag that contained those almond cookies our Chinese delivery place gives us for free. Sometimes I don't even eat them, which is super wasteful, but I ate them today. Now I have a cute-but-useless bag on my hands. I'm not sure if I can compost it or not, but I think I'll try. I'll let you know how that works out in a few years, when it reaches the bottom of the compost bin.
Interestingly enough, sometimes whole potatoes make it all the way through the compost cycle, pretty much untouched by the heat, worms, etc. Whole potatoes come out the other side. What does it mean???
On a positive note, I thought of another reusable thing we have that I don't think everyone has - reusable drinking straws.
We have stainless steel ones and Pyrex glass ones. I got the Pyrex ones first and loved them. They break on occasion, and when that happens you can mail them into the manufacture and get a free replacement, but I never did that. Then I bought the stainless ones so I could be more comfortable taking them out of the house (usually in a smoothie) and now they're my favorite. The straight ones are about a thousand times more useful than the bent ones, in case you wondered.
I've always made a habit of chewing on plastic drinking straws, biting them flat and drinking through them like that, so I wondered how I would like these when I first tried them. Turns out it's the biting I like, not the results, and you can bite and chew on these as much as you want without anything happening. No one even has to know, because there is no physical evidence of your chewing tendencies.
The straws come with a long, thin brush for cleaning the inside, in case you were wondering. They don't get gross at all.
In the interest of being totally honest, I do have one more thing - a small plastic sample cup. I actually brought it home yesterday, with a marimo in it. A friend gave me the marimo in a little glass jar, which we somehow dropped on the floor instead of passing off like we intended. So we put the marimo, which is an adorable little green algae ball that looks like moss, and which I named Swamp Thing, in a plastic cup, where he lived until I could get a replacement glass jar. Which I got today. Which puts the plastic cup up for reuse.
I'm going to wash the plastic cup and put it in the bin with the paper towels and other party supplies, but I'm conflicted about it. Maybe it could have a second life as a jello shot container. But I really don't want to start collecting things I may or may not use at some point. Ugh, maybe I'll put it in the recycling.
This is hard.