daily californian logo


Apply to The Daily Californian!

Procraftinating: how to creatively reuse materials like a UC Berkeley professor

article image


We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

OCTOBER 01, 2014

A few weeks ago, The Daily Californian published an article about how astronomy professor Joshua Bloom impressed the Berkeley community by putting together a personal earthquake alarm for fewer than $100 using computer parts, a speaker, a Wifi adapter and an SD card. The coolest part of it all? He stored it in a Gregoire to-go box next to his fireplace. That takes recycling to a whole new level — what a true Berkeley resident!

In light of our professor’s ingenious recycling, the Clog decided it might be useful for students to learn how to make some ordinary things extraordinary. Here are five simple ways to creatively recycle things around your apartment:

1. Jars and containers as food storage and cups


This goes far beyond the typical mason jar. Save spaghetti jars, Starbucks Frappuccino bottles, peanut butter jars and anything else that can be cleaned and reused! You’ll save money on Tupperware, and, a lot of times, these containers are way more convenient and travel-ready. You’ll also fit in with the hip Berkeley crowd. Store your coffee, water and granola, and maybe get a little crazy with some fruit-infused tea? Whatever it is you wacky kids are interested in these days, you can do it with these jars!

2. T-shirts as reusable shopping bags


We imagine recycled t-shirt bags would be way easier to carry around than the typical reusable grocery bags. Making the bags may give you a chance to learn some elementary sewing skills. You can find different tutorials all over Pinterest. Plus, if you can’t part with your favorite old tee, rather than keeping it as apparel for longer than you probably should,  just carry all of your groceries around in it. That’s the next best thing, right?

3. Cardboard boxes as wall art


Spend an afternoon with your friends and paint on some cardboard for an easy canvas! This will both reduce your trash load and upgrade your recyclables to up-cycles! You don’t have to be particularly artistic to do this, and there are so many possibilities on the internet when it comes to DIY wall art. And if you fail, just call it “abstract.”

4. Old baking pan as a magnetic board


This one is easy and customizable. Just hang up an old baking pan, cover it in some cool paper, add some magnets and voila! You have new, functional wall art! Besides, having a place to remind you of important events might just keep you from forgetting about them … maybe.

5. Wine corks as bag clippers


You’re probably wondering what to do with all of your extra wine corks, especially when midterms and finals roll around. They can actually be used as bag clips to keep your food from getting stale. All you have to do it cut a slit halfway up the cork, and there you go.

Happy procraftinating, friends!

Image Source: Featured ImageImage 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Image 5

Contact Kristen McFadden at [email protected].

OCTOBER 01, 2014