Dear Recycling Bins: Recycling While Home Working

Dear Recycling Bins: Our 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,

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, I am now working from home. I’m a keen recycler and so this raises concerns for me about what impact the virus is going to have on my recycling collections, and the amount of waste I create in general.

Can you give me some advice on recycling in these very strange times?

 

These are certainly strange times, and a lot of us have to deal with considerable changes to our daily routines, but believe it or not, there are some ways that we can turn this to our advantage when it comes to recycling.

You’ll have more time at home so you can use this to:

  • Get yourself clued up on recycling if you’re not already. Look at your local council’s website and look at what can and can’t be recycled in your area. Be sure to research whether you can recycle common items that leave you feeling stumped, like different types of plastic. When it comes to collections, they may be affected as the virus continues to spread so keep checking your council’s website for updates.
  • Sort your recycling properly. Lack of time is a common reason why people say they don’t recycle as much as they should, so take the time you have at home to rinse and sort different types of waste properly ready for collection.

Remember that taking extra care with hygiene doesn’t mean throwing everything away

Don’t be tempted to switch back to single use items for hygiene reasons, this creates unnecessary waste. Instead, use items like reusable bottles and cups, just be extra vigilant about washing them. Of course, it goes without saying that items like paper tissues and disposable cleaning cloths should not be put in the recycling, they should be double-bagged and kept in a plastic bag somewhere safe, then put into your general waste bin 72 hours later.

Watch your online buying habits

It stands to reason that many of us will be buying more online if we are spending more time at home, but if you can, try to stick to the essentials, and don’t shop online for the sake of it. This will only create more packaging waste. If you’re shopping for something new for the home or a gadget to replace something you already have, can you repair, repurpose, or upcycle your old item to reduce waste and save money?

Cook from scratch instead of ordering takeaways

This is not only healthier on your waistline and your pocket, it will reduce waste and protect the environment (we’re thinking about that virtually unrecyclable polystyrene takeaway food comes in).  

Don’t panic buy and stockpile-this creates a lot of waste

No doubt you’ve seen the social media posts showing empty shelves in the supermarkets, but stocking up on things you don’t need, especially perishable things will result in a lot of waste. To avoid this, make good use of your freezer and invest in frozen fruits and veg, and freeze what you can, especially items that are in short supply like bread.

We hope this helps. Stay safe, stay healthy, and recycle!

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