Another day, another new website with promises of making our lives easier. This one’s called AltUse.com and if you believe its own press, it strives to be the “largest comprehensive resource for alternative use strategies in the world.” Visitors will search, post, rank and share their own ideas for extending the lifecycle of everyday products.
This idea’s not exactly new (how many of us use vinegar and newspapers to clean mirrors around the house?), but it ties in very nicely with two economic trends; the greening of the society and the tightening of our collective household belts. (Throw in a month-long garbage strike here in Toronto, and you’re riding another trend wave; how to reduce the amount of garbage building up in our homes).
“We’re part of the crowd sourcing phenomenon, tapping into the planet’s collective wisdom so we can all live more responsibly,” says co-founder Benjamin Goldfarb. “Through AltUse.com we enable site visitors to save money and to help save the environment, by putting their stuff to work in new ways.”
The most popular strategies posted to date include using instant mashed potato mix to eliminate rats (who knew the stuff was poison to them?), a zit remedy made from crushed-up aspirin, and making plastic shopping bags into fashionable bowls and storage containers (this one looks a little iffy…the instructions were sort of long and complicated and the end result looked like something your great aunt Ida might have in her kitchen).
Although the site bills itself as a recession tool by suggesting inexpensive fixes for common problems, I had questions about some of the suggestions. How cost efficient (or sane???) is it to use vodka to clean your eye glasses. I can think of much better uses for my alcohol.
If the originators have their way, we’ll be using “AltUse” as a verb in much the same way that we “Google” everything from homework research to holiday dates, so you might as well check it out now.
p.s. Here’s my own AltUse tip…when it’s time for dusting, give each of your children one of those single socks that always comes out of the dryer and set them to work. You spray, they wipe.