Some time ago, we invited readers to write in with their own ideas for recycling things that might otherwise be thrown away. We have had a splendid response, including things to do with tins, bottles, bottle- tops, paper, and even one with a scaffolding pole.

This week and next, we shall be explaining some of those that struck us as particularly imaginative or useful - and perhaps, if you are lucky, both. We start with some gardening ideas.

Barbara Pilch's handy storage idea for anyone without a garden shed (or too lazy to walk down the garden to one) is seen in the illustration on the left.

She asks: "are you the kind of gardener who walks out on a sunny day to admire the flower border, spots one or two weeds and thinks, `I would dig those up if I had a trowel handy'?" Well, if you take a two-litre, clear plastic drinks bottle and cut off the top four inches or so, the remainder of the bottle makes a perfect cover for your trowel and hand fork if you stick them into the soil on the edge of the border. Add old scissors and string and everything is kept dry, handy for any minor surgery the garden may need. And, Ms Pilch adds, you can use the severed top of the bottle as a funnel to pour your lightly stewed fruit into old Pringles tubes ready for freezing.

Still in the garden, Christine Warner offers an easy way to make a biodegradable plant pot to raise seedlings. Start with a single sheet of paper. (One page of tabloid is about the right size for an average seedling.) Fold in half along the long side. Then fold over one side to make an approximate square. (Or do anything else necessary to end up with a double-thickness, squarish sheet.) Now fold one corner up to meet the opposite corner. You should now have a right-angled isosceles triangle, with the point at the top. Fold one of the lower corners up to near the middle of the opposite side. Repeat with the opposite corner. Now separate the two flaps at the top, turn them down, and you have an origami paper cup which makes a perfect plant pot for your seed tray. "Even when wet," Christine Warner says, "the pots are strong enough to be individually lifted out of the seed tray without disturbing the compost or seedlings, and planted directly into the growing site."

More readers' ideas next week.