You probably noticed that I blog quite a bit about repurposing household items (some of them landfill-bound) for other uses. Whether it’s cleaning with white distilled vinegar or salvaging an old juice carton from the recycling bin and transforming it into a lamp, there’s nothing quite as exciting as versatility, creativity, and thrift rolled into one tidy, Mother Nature-approved package.

On the prowl for a Web resource that details all the ways you can get the most out of household items? I think I’ve stumbled across (via the Los Angeles Times) the mother lode: Since launching last July, has attracted 5,000 to 10,000 daily visitors seeking alternative ways to use over 700 household items from toothpaste (remove watermark stains) to tennis balls (promotes fluffiness when machine washing a comforter), hairspray (stops mosquito itch) to panty hose (a fire escape ladder).

There are over 2,000 alternative uses listed on, most of them submitted by the site’s DIY-happy 5,000 registered users. Although at times mind-boggling (I got stuck on the aspirin facial and iMac-turned-aquarium pages), the site is relatively easy to navigate with a robust search engine.

The brain behind is Benjamin Goldfarb, a "green pioneer" and former interactive marketing expert for Nestle who wanted to share his love of reusing, repurposing and recycling to the masses while saving folks money and keeping waste out of landfills. I should point out that after reading about how to soften dry skin with duct tape, I searched for alternative uses for Nestle products but couldn't find any. So Goldfarb’s favorite alt uses? Using instant mashed potatoes as a garden rodent repellent and reusing old soda bottles for ice packs during picnics.

Here’s what the ‘About Us’ section of has to say:

At, we believe that less can truly be more. That's why we set out to create a worldwide repository of alternative uses to extend the utility of everyday products. In an age of financial hardship, perilous climate change, and overflowing landfills, we offer a smart, comprehensive system to tap into the collective intellectual capital of the planet in order to discover and share valuable recycle and reuse strategies. We enable site visitors to save money, and to help save the environment, by putting their stuff to work in new ways. offers a catalyst for change in the business world by challenging the notion of marketing products for one specific purpose. We seek to increase manufacturing efficiency and product quality, while cutting down on unnecessary waste. Ultimately, the AltUse brand name will become a noun a la 'Kleenex', or a verb such as 'Google', (ie: What's the AltUse?).

So, the million dollar question: do you have an alt use that you're absolutely wild about? 

Via [Los Angeles Times]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Panty hose: There's an AltUse for that
Designed to save you cash and curb landfill-bound waste, offers a dizzying number of alternative uses for just about every household item imaginable