Reduce Reuse Recycle this week with the Rubbish Diet
Did you know that around 70% of what you throw away can be recycled or composted? These include items like packaging, cartons, glass, food and plastics. Most of us have recycling collections from our front gardens or from bin stores at the flats we live in but many people don’t recycle everything they probably could. So this week as part of the Rubbish Diet let’s have a go at recycling everything we can.
See what you can do, recycle some more unusual things and find out everything you ever wanted to know about recycling.
Step 1: Check what you can recycle using the services on your doorstep
Have a quick check in to your recycling services on your local Council’s website. Whether you live in the London borough of Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow or Richmond Upon Thames you’ll be able to recycle something close by and you might find there’s something you can recycle that you didn’t realise. After familiarising yourself with what recycling services are available in your area, you can now plan how to increase your recycling!
Step 2: Request any containers you need
If you find you’re missing a bin, box or bag for your recycling service give your council a call or complete an online request. If you find there aren’t any services at your address, ask your local council why not and how you can help get some put in place.
Step 3: Make it really easy to recycle at home
Create some space in your home to put your items for recycling away from your rubbish. It can be difficult to find space and what you do will probably be different to what your friends, neighbours and family do. You could try using cardboard boxes, having plastic bags, buying special plastic boxes that stack or converting some of the rubbish bins in your home into recycling bins. Bin Doctor Debra from Harrow has made some changes at home to make sure it easy for everyone in her home. Like Debra – remember to label the containers you use.
Something that can also work really well is if you remove bins from other rooms like bedrooms so there is only one place where all rubbish can go. Who knows, it may even help to counter your teenager’s insistence that the corner of their bedroom is a working compost bin.
Step 4: Make recycling fun and involve everyone!
If you live on your own you can plan your timetable easily enough, however, if you have a family or house-share its worth announcing your intentions to everyone in the house. By getting everyone involved, you can make it fun. Instead of a swear jar, why not have a recycling tax jar – if a house member catches you not recycling, you could contribute 50p to a jar for a bottle of something or dinner out. Alternatively you could devise a scoring system or give out yellow cards or hold a monthly competition. Whatever rules you choose, the aim should be to get everyone in the house involved and get them thinking about whether the item they are planning to throw away can be reused or recycled instead.
- Loo roll tubes – how many have you thrown in the bin in the last month?
- Batteries – most supermarkets will accept these and recycle them for you
- Cooking oil – this can be reused multiple times before discarding and now there are companies that will collect your used home cooking oil
- Bottles that contain shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and household cleaners
You can recycle away from home too
While you may not be able to recycle everything in your home collection service, this doesn’t mean all is lost. This is where your local Household Reuse and Recycling Centre (HRRC) can come in handy! There’s at least one in each of the 6 west London boroughs. To find out where your local one is check out our webpages www.westlondonwaste.gov.uk/recycling-sites/ and link through to a list of what you can recycle there. For example, HRRC’s will accept items such as mattresses, electrical and electronic equipment, appliances, wood and furniture for recycling.
Recycling is not just for the home
Most people will start off recycling at home but there is nothing stopping you from implementing the same tactics at work as well. Many offices all over the country are like home environments – some complete with their own teenagers! Why not create a small recycling section, a monthly competition or just nominate someone or yourself to become the office’s point of contact for all things recycling. Better yet, get your manager to sign up for the Rubbish Diet
What else do you know about recycling?
Have you ever visited the Recycle Now http://www.recyclenow.com/ website? It’s a brilliant website where you can watch short films showing how items like cans http://www.recyclenow.com/how_is_it_recycled/cans.html, plastic bottles http://www.recyclenow.com/how_is_it_recycled/plastic_bottles.html and mixed recycling http://www.recyclenow.com/how_is_it_recycled/recycling_centre.html are turned in to something new.
You can find out about recycling items you probably thought were rubbish like inhalers http://www.recyclenow.com/what_can_i_do_today/can_it_be_recycled/miscellaneous/inhaler_recycling.html, mobile phones http://westlondonwaste.gov.uk/reuse-guide/mobile-phones/, paint http://westlondonwaste.gov.uk/reuse-guide/paint/ and printer cartridges http://www.recyclenow.com/what_can_i_do_today/can_it_be_recycled/miscellaneous/printer.html.
When is a recycling symbol not a recycling symbol? There are lots of little logos on packaging that suggest things can be recycled but that isn’t always the case, check out what symbols you should pay attention to and what can be ignored http://www.recyclenow.com/why_recycling_matters/recycling_symbols.html.
If you have questions and need a bit of advice you can ask the Recycle Now Agony Aunty http://www.recyclenow.com/recycle_week_2010/agony_aunt.html or join the Rubbish Diet.