It's Not Just About Recycling


reduce


Obviously we’re HUGE fans of recycling, as the name of our company suggests. However, it’s never been solely about recycling, as that’s only a third of the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle”. Recycling is actually the final act in what should be a three-stage approach, and it’s imperative that we all do what we can to put the first two into action as much as possible.

Reducing is straightforward enough. You can achieve it by only buying as much food as you require, especially perishable items such as milk, bread, fresh meat, fruits and vegetables. The same goes for how much water you put in the kettle, how often you use the washing machine (it’s better to wait until you have a full drum’s worth), and turning off lights when you leave a room. All of these will go a long way toward reducing how much food, electricity and water we waste.

kettle


Reusing, onthe other hand, is what often evades us. Surely once the milk is finished we should rinse out the plastic bottle and pop it in the recycling bin, shouldn’t we? And what else are you going to do with a magazine after you’ve read it other than send it off for pulping? Well, the bottle could be used for storing used cooking oil rather than pouring it down the drain, or even cut up and turned into a watering can. Meanwhile, the magazine could be given to a community centre or dentist’s waiting room, or scrunched up and used as packing material. The beauty of the system is that once the materials have reached the end of their new functional life, they can usually be put in the recycling bin. By doing so, you’ve made the most out of every item before giving it to your local authority for reprocessing.

Applying entirely new uses to items, often by changing them a little, is called upcycling. If you’re still stuck for ideas, here are some good ones:

--Paint empty food tins and use them as desk tidies
--Cut large fizzy drinks bottles in half and turn them into plant pots by inserting them into the ground or attaching to an outdoor wall
--Glass candle jars can be used for keeping buttons and other craft accessories together
--A Pringles tube is the perfect place to keep string so that it doesn’t come unravelled
--Margarine and butter tubs make excellent storage pots in the shed for screws, nails etc.

Do you have some upcycling ideas you’d like to share with us? Post them to our Facebook page or tag us on Twitter.

desk tidy