I must admit, I abhor our “disposable culture” where wonderful things that were once made to last, like razors or water bottles or even cell phones (seriously!), are now manufactured with the sole purpose of being quickly discarded. Maybe that’s not an admission -- I mean, you’re with me on this, right? I think most of us will agree that disposables are pretty passe.
Okay, so here’s the real admission: there are some disposable items where I understand the appeal. Don’t hate me! And don’t demerit my good “green” standing. Because listen, life happens and sometimes it really makes sense to pick up something quick/cheap/convenient/whatever.
So yes, I’ve been known to buy aluminum pie pans. These are what I consider “semi-disposable” goods, because although some people use them once and then throw them away, I don’t. I wash them and reuse them again and again, just like I do when I somehow end up with a ziplock baggie or a plastic water bottle (which does happen, from time to time). So I diligently reuse my pie pans for things like yummy vegetarian Thanksgiving treats. But, inevitably there comes a point when they’re no longer serviceable in their original, intended purpose. When I can no longer use them for pies because they’ve become too bent or warped. And at that point, I guess they’d be thrown away.
Which I’m not cool with! I gotta protect my eco-cred! So I came up with a list of awesome alternative uses for those very old, very reused pie pans that you might be hanging onto. Don’t throw them away! Not before you consider some other uses.
1. Make a dust pan
That’s right, an aluminum pie pan makes an excellent makeshift dust pan in a cleaning emergency. Simply cut it in half, then use one half to catch all your sweepings. It’s simple and incredibly effective -- a perfect little trick when you’re in a pinch!
2. Make a veggie “basket”
I love cooking veggies on the barbecue grill. It gives them such a delicious, summery flavor. But it can be tricky keeping veggies on the grill, as opposed to falling through the grill. Enter: veggie basket. To give your vegetables that amazing grilled flavor without sacrificing them to the coals, simply poke a bunch of holes in the bottom of a pie pan, fill the pan with your veggies, and then put the whole thing on the grill. Easy-peasy.
3. Make plates
Sounds silly, I know, but hear me out. Aluminum pie pans make great lightweight tableware for picnics and camping trips. Unlike paper plates, you can wash and reuse them (and not feel guilty using something so single-purpose-disposable). Plus they have that high edge to keep all your food contained, a big bonus when eating on uneven terrain!
This project uses a 2-liter bottle and an aluminum pie plate to construct an awesome little bird feeder. It would be a fun craft to do with kids, especially since it will draw beautiful birds to your yard. If you live in a bird-rich area like Miami, landscapers can also help you pick bird-friendly plants to encourage even more feathered friends to stop by.
This tutorial will show you how to use pie pans to simulate the look of punched tin, which can be used to make party decorations or lovely holiday ornaments. These are so sweet looking, and would make excellent gifts!
Alright, my fellow eco-friendly enthusiasts. Got any other ideas for repurposing old pie pans? Let me hear ‘em in the comments!
Sayward Rebhal writes for Networx.com.