Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Oily Rag column - Leftovers and recycling

Oily Rag column - Leftovers and recycling

By Frank and Muriel Newman

Oily raggers are not the sort of people to let anything go to waste. It is no surprise that they have lots of ideas to make the most of what others throw out. Here are some suggestions from readers.

Use leftover breakfast cereal in muffins. Delicious when mixed with stewed apple and rhubarb. – D.G.

If you have left over cake, biscuits, trifle sponge, etc turn it into a steamed pudding. Just mix all together, bind with a little milk, put a dollop of jam or golden syrup in the bottom of the steamed pudding bowl and drop in your mixture. Steam for about one hour. - D.M.

When sandwiches are left over use them by placing them in a roasting dish. Scramble some eggs and pour over the sandwiches. Bake until golden brown - turns out like a fluffy omelette. – A.M.

We don’t do leftovers in our home. What self respecting "Oily-Ragger" does? We have “the fixings for a Smorgasbord", which happens every Friday night. Any and all leftovers are nuked, baked or snavelled from the depths of the freezer and fridge and popped on the table. Smorgy Night. No takeaways for my clan. And surprisingly this is the night when my teenager tends to bring home her friends who love our Friday night Smorgys. - Waste Not Want Not Lauren, Whangarei.

Use inside "plastic" bags from cereal packets to wrap left-over food instead of grease-proof paper. I use it to wrap my lunch and it keeps fresh. Just wipe and dry it each night. - J.J.

How about saving those calendar pictures. They make wonderful wrapping paper. - G.A.

Don't throw your old sports balls away. Simply cut the tops off and poke a few holes in the base of the ball. Fill with sphagnum moss and soil, and fill with plants. Poke four holes evenly around the top and hang up with rope or whatever you have lying around. Makes a good hanging basket. Have fun. - Dianne MacDonald.

When dried, orange peel makes an excellent fire starter. - O.R.
Paper towel cardboard rolls are a convenient and tidy way of storing plastic bags in your drawer. I just stuff the plastic bags in, and pull them out when needed. – Anon.

Shirts with scuffed cuffs and collapsing collars can be transformed into pillow cases. - O.R.

When cooking, I use junk mail, old newspapers, box of cereal opened up, to line the kitchen counter while I prepare food. Afterwards, all the rubbish just gets folded in the paper and the counter-top is as clean as, or just needs a little wipe. - Joan, Wellington.

I have a friend who made a really attractive lamp shade from a newspaper. The old shade had worn out so he simply pasted the pages around the frame. What made it really interesting was that he used the newspaper that reported a share market crash. It is always an interesting read and it is nice to know that he has finally seen the light! - O.R.

When planting my strawberries I have given them a mulch of wet shredded paper from my shredding machine. It matts together nicely keeping light out to prevent weeds and I should have nice clean strawberries to eat. Makes use of your old bank statements too. Or your advertising junk is very colourful when shredded. Will break down eventually and feed the worms helping the soil. - Canny Scot, Christchurch.

If you have a favourite tip, share it with others by visiting the oily rag website or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei. The book Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available from all good bookstores or online at


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland