How to Recycle Old Brooms

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Old brooms are a snap to recycle. There is all that broom straw which is good for a lot of interesting things, some of which you may not have thought of, and then there is a good long wooden handle. There are nearly limitless things you can do with any piece of wood. All recycling requires is a little thought. Once you get used to looking at things with a thought to re-purposing them for yard and house duty or things for the kids, you'll be off and running--and you'll never again look at garbage in quite the same way.

  • Try to revive your broom for sweeping. Sometimes you can trim the broom straw and make the broom sweepable again. If the broom is really dirty, wash it by swishing it in a bucket of sudsy water. Rinse well and let it dry outdoors if possible. Then just trim the ends as evenly as you can and try it out. If it still isn't too good as a broom, proceed to the next steps.

  • Cover the broom with a nylon stocking or a recycled pair of pantyhose. You can also use a soft fuzzy fabric like an old baby blanket cut to fit or tied on. Use this for dust mopping or sweeping the cobwebs off of the house eaves or patio. You can spray it with a little furniture polish for wood floors and make them gleam while you dry mop.

  • Remove the wire from around the broom straw. Use a pair of cutting pliers to cut through the wire and then unwind it. If it snags and you have to cut it again, do so but try to keep it in as few pieces as possible so that it can be more useful. You can use this for bundling small items, for tying up things or hanging things. If it is in pretty good shape, you can use it for anything that you would use regular wire for.

  • Scatter small pieces of straw around the yard to assist the birds in their nest building. Make sure the pieces are broken small enough for the birds to carry. If the pieces are really dirty, wash them off first, as the house dirt may have things like old food particles in it that could spoil and that would not be good for the birds or their babies. You can also use these for craft designs in collages, as add-ons with paper mache or clay.

  • Make a scarecrow for Halloween or to scare birds away anytime. The broom straw will be your head. Put the broom through the neck of a shirt and down one leg of the trousers. Put a cross piece tied to the first with wire or nailed to go through the sleeves. Stuff the pants and a shirt with newspapers, clothes or straw, cover the face with a pillowcase or piece of fabric and draw a face on. Add a hat on and shoes and he is done.

  • Make a firewood tote. Cut the broom handle into two lengths of 12 and 20 inches. Cut two pieces of webbing (from a recycled lawn chair) about 40 inches long. Wrap the two ends of the webbing strips to the ends of the short handles and screw down. Take the other ends and wrap them on the ends of the longer piece. Lay firewood pieces on the webbing strips and wrap the straps around it. Slip the short piece through the longer piece and use it for the handle.

  • Use the broom handle for a walking stick. Just cut it to the length you want and add a rubber tip if you like. You can also use it to replace a broken handle on any other tool that needs one. File it or sand it down if it is a bit too large. Slice them with a jig or other small saw into thin pieces and let the kids paint them for checkers and other game pieces.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the broom handle as a rack under any cabinet or shelf. Just buy two brackets made for holding a dowel and cut the handle to size.
  • Be careful of splinters when working with old wooden handles. Run a sander over them if they are really rough.
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