Dear Recycling Bins: Our Weekly Recycling Advice Column
Welcome to our weekly advice column where we look at all things recycling and give you the answers you’re desperately seeking.
Dear Recycling Bins,
I’m an older gentleman, and I’m proud to say I was born in a ‘make do and mend’ generation. I hate throwing things away, and I like to reuse them whenever possible. I also love my garden, so I wanted to ask; is there anything I can do to combine the two?
I have lots of things at home that I’d love to give a new lease of life, and I’m quite a creative chap!
A Make Do and Mender
Dear Make Do and Mender,
You’re a man after our own hearts; we love reusing and recycling too!
You might think when it comes to gardening, you can only be creative when it comes to plants and garden design, but there are so many things you can do in your garden, including finding new uses for unwanted items to save them from landfill. Here’s some inspiration for things you can reuse in your garden.
Old pallets: Make a compost bin
Use four pallets to make the sides (slats facing inwards) and secure them with some garden wire. The fact that the pallet has gaps is ideal because that means that air and water can get in to encourage bacteria to breakdown the organic waste, as well as keeping everything moist. Take the pallets away in spring and you’ll have some lovely nutrient-rich compost to spread over your garden.
Bathtubs and sinks: Make a pond
Have you just had your bathroom fittings replaced? Well forget about taking your old tub and sink to the tip and save it for your garden! If you sink them into the ground, they make a great pond which can attract wildlife like toads and frogs who will happily eat pesky insects and grubs that attack your plants! Put some pond weed in and some wood so animals can climb in and out, and don’t forget; safety first if there are going to be small children around. Put a fence around the pond or cover it.
Old wood: Makes a great structure for pretty much anything
The best wood to use in your garden would be wood that hasn’t been pressure treated or that’s got paint or any other contamination on it. Wood can be used to make compost bins, frames to hold up netting, and supports for raised beds.
Plastic bottles: Great for protecting seedlings
If you cut the bottom off large plastic bottles, you can make a little cloche to protect seedlings from the wind, frost, and hungry pests! Leave the top off so air can get in and mould doesn’t form. Remove the cloche when the plants grow big enough to touch the sides of the bottle.
Yoghurt pots: A great weapon in the war against slugs
Sink these into the ground and fill them with beer and you’ll be able to trap and drown garden pests like slugs. Another way to attract and get rid of slugs is to leave some grapefruit skins on the soil. The skins attract them so leave them out overnight and you’ll have a little collection of slugs to dispose of in the morning.
Unwanted CDS and DVDs: Scare birds away without having to rely on your cat!
Thread the discs onto strings and attach them to a washing line or similar hung across your vegetable patch or any other areas where you’ve planted seeds.
So there it is, recycling is not limited to putting your plastic, glass, and cardboard boxes in your recycling bin, you can recycle and reuse your old and unwanted items in your garden too.
Saving valuable materials from landfill is essential for the future survival of the planet. We don’t have infinite resources or energy, or endless landfill space, and what’s more, just dumping things on landfill is not a sustainable solution. While things are sat rotting away, they’re leaching toxins into groundwater and giving off emissions which contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer.
Even recycling itself uses energy and resources, so reusing things wherever you can is the far better option.
By being a little creative in the garden with your unwanted items, you’re saving the planet and saving yourself some money in the process-you should be proud!