Fall is on the way. Crisp nights, cooler days, and vivid foliage lead up to the first snowfall and wet weather. It’s a great time to go through your recycling and pick out what you need for fall-themed recycling projects. Here are five fall-themed recycling projects for all ages.

Fall Flower Centerpieces

Glass jars are easy to recycle, but if it’s a mason jar, it’s not going to be as easy. When you have a mason jar with a chip in the rim, you can no longer use them for vases, but you can’t recycle them. Your options become to repurpose it or throw it away. Why not repurpose them into vases for fall flowers?

Paint the outside of the vase in fall colors like red, yellow, orange, brown, and green. Let that paint dry and add fall décor. Twine can be tied to the top narrow section of the jar for a rustic look. You could use ribbons or strips of burlap instead. 

Once the vase is created, add colorful leaves, fall flowers, and ornamental grasses. If you use a little florist foam, they’ll stay in position if jostled. We love adding sunflowers, corn tassels, fall mums, and sedum flowers. These are beautiful centerpieces for family dinners and Thanksgiving gatherings.

Fall Rag Wreaths

Have you ever purchased a cake or cookie platter and had that large, round plastic circle left when all the goodies have been eaten? You could recycle it, but it’s the ideal base for a fall rag wreath. You also have a bag of clothes that are ripped, torn, or stained that are heading to the trash. You have most of the supplies you need to make a fall rag wreath.

Remove the center of the plastic circle using a box cutter while following the rim of a biscuit cutter as your guide. Once the center is out, spray the circle with flat paint. Set that aside.

Go through the stained, torn, worn clothing and pick out colors that work for a fall wreath. Cut them into strips that are about two inches wide and five inches long. Tie a knot in the center of each strip and add a few drops of craft glue. Glue them to the plastic circle. Keep going until the circle is covered in the strips. Let it dry completely. 

On the back side of the wreath, use duct tape and metal hanging wire. You can hang the wreath on your wall or door.

If you want a wreath that will last for years, use a wire wreath frame instead. You’ll tie the fabric strips directly to the frame.

Falling Leaves “Snow” Globes

Children love snow globes. Use a clean glass or plastic jar to create your own falling leaves “snow” globe. Make sure the jar is clean of any grease or food residue. Set it in the sun to ensure it’s dry.

Take your children for a walk and look for small leaves, pine cones, and pebbles. A small twig is also ideal. The more colors you have, the better your falling leaves globe will be. 

Back at home, use kitchen scissors to cut the leaves into smaller pieces. Place them in the jar along with any small pine cones and pebbles you found on your walk. Using a hot glue gun, glue the end of the twig to the inside of the lid to look like a tree. Add water and put the lid on tight. The leaves are the falling “snow” in this globe.

When your children are tired of it, you can pour out the water and materials outside to compost. Rinse the jar and recycle it or save it for next year.

Lasagna Gardens

The last of your crops are almost ready for harvesting, so the last thing you’re thinking about is starting a new garden. It is, however, the perfect time to start preparing lasagna garden beds for next spring. If you’re new to this type of garden, it relies heavily on recyclables and all of the fall leaves you’re raking up. It’s a multi-step project.

  1. Find a piece of land where you want to grow crops. You want a location that gets plenty of sun. 
  2. Place cardboard down to cover that entire area and soak the cardboard with a hose.
  3. Cover the wet cardboard with leaves and pine needles. 
  4. Add a layer of newspaper or brown packing paper and compostable packing peanuts and soak those with your hose.
  5. Take any coffee grounds and vegetable scraps you have and put those on top of the newspaper layer.
  6. Rake up all of the final grass clippings from mowing your yard and add that to the top.
  7. Repeat with a layer of cardboard that you soak again.

As you rake more leaves and have more vegetable trimmings and grass clippings, keep building layers. The more recycling you can use up, the better. Once it’s complete, you can top it with burlap and let it break down throughout the fall and winter. In the spring, the seeds you plant will finish breaking down items.

Wood Scrap Pumpkins

Did you get a delivery of wood pellets and have to figure out what to do with the pallet they come on? Did you build some shelves or put in trim and have leftover scraps? Turn them into pumpkins for fall décor. All you need are some templates, a jig saw, a drill, orange and green paint, sandpaper, wood glue, and thin wire.

Lay out several boards from the skid or scrap wood and place a pumpkin template of your desired size over it. Use a pencil to trace that pumpkin. Cut the pieces using your saw and follow those lines.

Sand any rough edges and paint the pumpkin orange. Once the pieces are dry, lay them out and connect the edges with wood glue. Drill two small holes near the bottom of each slat on the pumpkin. Use wire to add additional support to hold the slats together. Do the same to the top.

Take a leaf template and make a few leaves. Consider making a few different sizes. Paint those green. You will glue them to the top near the pumpkin’s stem. Again, drill holes and use wire to add additional stability. Once it’s dry, you can add a wire to hang it on your front door, garage door, deck post, etc.

Keep Recycling

Keep doing your part and recycling plastic, glass, electronics, cardboard, paper, food scraps, metal, and wood. While you may not be able to recycle everything in your curbside bins, there are other ways to recycle these other items. Recycle Nation’s guide is easy to use and helps you find the nearest location for recycling spent batteries, scrap wood, books, and many other items you may not think are recyclable.