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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

9 Ideas on re-using in a permaculture apartment

Updated: Apr 10, 2022

Re-using items is a cornerstone principle of permaculture because re-using items empowers us to obtain a second yield while being more efficient and reducing waste.

Here are some of the ways I re-use things in my apartment. If you have any more ideas, then share these ideas below.

Community Resource

I used a free community ask and offer app, like freegle, to get all the plant pots shown in the picture below.

3 people in my local community helped me out at the very start of my permaculture project. All of them lived within walking distance of me.

It was great because there was no direct contact needed. I simply arranged a time and picked them off their doorstep, which was convenient for them as sometimes they weren't in. They told me they were so happy to give away something instead of throwing it in the bin!

I used an app called "Freegle" which you can find on the app/play store.

Loose tea/tea bags

Soil loves rotting leaves. In fact, compost was originally called leaf mould. Tea leftovers are a great addition to your homemade fertilizers because you're replicating exactly what would normally happen in a forest. Your plants obtain their minerals from dead leaves. Have a look at this article on how to use nettle tea as fertilizer as an example of how to do this.

Coffee grounds

You can use your used coffee ground to fertilize your garden. They are a great fertilizer for plants. If you have an indoor garden, then add them to the top of your potting soil. They'll help the soil retain more moisture and will slowly release minerals into your soil. You also add them to a compost pile. Read my article on How to use coffee grounds in your small indoor, balcony, or backyard garden.

Bokashi Compost

This is one of the best ways you can re-use your leftover food. You can use any kind of food whether it's meat or acidic. The bokashi liquid can be used to make fertilizer for your plants. Have a look at my article here to find out how to use bokashi compost as fertilizer.


Ever since lockdown, my cardboard boxes have been stacking up due to receiving more deliveries. Thankfully, cardboard boxes can be made into plant pots. Just line the inside with a plastic bag and poke holes through it. Fill this up with soil and begin planting. This works great if you plant indoors or on a sheltered balcony. If they get stuck in the rain, then they'll go soggy.

Toilet paper rolls

These are great for starting seedlings. Just put them face up in a tray, fill them up with soil and plant your seeds. Simply take your plants out when they're ready to be transplanted.


Tins are perfect for plant pots. You'll need to drill holes in the bottom first. If you're a plant addict like me you can never get enough plant pots.

Spice jars

I love to refill my old glass spice jars with new spice mixes.

I love nutmeg and cinnamon combo on my oats so I have a spice jar for that, or I make a premade curry or Caribbean mix and put that in a spice jar too.

You could also make dry your homegrown herbs and put them in one of these jars.

Compost bin

You could also have a kitchen tabletop compost bin. This is another way to re-use kitchen scraps in the home. Here are some compost bin tabletop options on Amazon.

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