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Tips On Recycling
October 22, 2004
There are lots of innovative things you can do to help
reduce your rubbish – check out some of the tips below
to get started.

General tips for recycling and avoiding rubbish:

  • Buy a smaller rubbish container for the kitchen. This makes you to remember to recycle.
  • Make sure bottles and tins are clean before putting in the recycling bin. This prevents flies both at home and the recycling station.
  • Reorganise the kitchen so it has an efficient recycling area with good sized bins to help with sorting and holding. This will encourage other members of the household to contribute and help share the work instead of it being reliant on one person.
  • Cutting both the tops and the bottoms off tin cans (and placing them inside) and squashing them makes them smaller to fit into the recycling bin.
  • Put a 'no junk mail' sticker on your letter box. You'll be amazed at how much this reduces your rubbish.
  • Spread the word. By telling other people and helping them to get started, we increase the savings that can be made. Also get your children involved – if we can educate them early, they will grow up and appreciate waste reduction and will be able to apply these skills in later life.

Making use of your mountain of plastic bags:

  • Use them as bin liners.
  • Place them in the bottom of plant pots and hanging baskets - they act as great drainage systems.
  • Children can use them for carrying PE gear to school.
  • Scrunch them up to surround items when you're packaging as an alternative to bubble wrap.
  • Use them in the garden to hold your grass cuttings and hedge trimmings before transfer to a compost bin.
  • Use them when packing for a vacation to keep dirty/wet clothes and shoes away from dry clothing.
  • Use them as 'doggy doo bags' when out walking your dog!
  • Some supermarkets recycle plastic bags, so you can return plastic bags to them.
  • Re-use washed zip lock bags for sandwiches and snacks rather than using plastic wrap.

Ideas for recycling paper:

  • After children's drawings and paintings have been displayed for a while they can be used to wrap presents - this also makes the present special.
  • Discarded copy paper can be cut and stapled together to make notepads.
  • 'Use the envelopes you receive in the mail a second time by placing a new address label over the last address. I call this the OMT System ("One more time system"). Old envelopes can also be used for scribbling down shopping lists, to-do lists, and notes.'
  • Resealable envelopes can be reused many times: They can make a great lunch bag!
  • Old calendars, colourful pictures, etc. can be used to make your own envelopes. You can unstick a used envelope and use it as a template for making envelopes.
  • Old rolls of wallpaper can be used for childrens' drawings, or draw linings
  • Junk mail can be used as scrap paper, or as bedding for pets.
  • Cardboard cartons can be used to collect paper for recycling, instead of plastic bags (even breakfast cereal cartons are good).
  • Toilet roll centres can be recycled - they're made of cardboard.
  • To fill in a rainy day get a paper recycling kit and get the kids to rip up old used paper to make recycled paper, it can be great fun.
  • Old magazines are appreciated by:
    • Doctor and dentists' surgeries
    • Motels
    • Friends

Ideas for recycling household waste in the garden:

  • Aluminium trays from pies and cakes make ideal 'drip saucers' to put under pot plants.
  • Old tires can be used outside for plant pots - especially good for plants that like warm soils as they trap the heat.
  • Grow pototoes in a stacked tire planter.
  • The following waste items can be modified and used for planting seedlings:
    • Egg cartons
    • Tetra-pak cartons
    • Plastic bottles
    • Plastic containers for cherry tomatoes
    • Old boots and shoes
    • Plastic containers for takeaways
    • The cardboard centres from toilet rolls
    • Plastic icecream containers.
  • Lawn clippings can be used to cover weeds and keep from growing in the garden through winter.
  • Broken crockery can be used as drainage at the bottom of pot plants.
  • Tin cans can be used as:
    • Water reservoirs for new plants and trees. Tape a piece of hose pipe in a can and fill the can with scoria or pumice. Then, when you plant a new tree or plant, bury the can below the root level and leave enough hose poking out of the ground. You can water the plant in summer by pouring the water into hose pipe. If the hose is short enough it can be mowed over on a lawn and does not look obtrusive.
    • Pot plant holders. Decorate the outside of the can to your liking, put some soil in it and plant away. (Make sure you put some drainage holes in the bottom of the tin before you start potting the plants.)
  • Old newspapers (including those gathered from your friends) can be used to mulch and weed control the garden. Wet newspaper and place thickly on the garden. Cover with bark or stones.
  • Old stockings can be used to tie up plants in the garden.
  • Plastic icecream containers can be cut into strips for seed labels.

Ideas for recycling other items:

  • Old or broken household goods such as toasters, transistor radios can be used by others for parts. Bring them to the unshopping center..
  • Carry a supermarket bag with you when you go walking so that you can pick up glass, litter or other plastic bags.
  • Schools and kindergartens often need boxes, plastic bags, old buttons, used wrapping paper, greeting cards, ribbons, tiles, crockery and other materials for art resources. They may also want old phones, keyboards, etc as learning toys.
  • Wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, and boxes can be used to wrap someone else's presents.
  • Recycle jars by using them for home preserves.
  • Ice cream containers can be reused around the home in
    a number of ways:
    • Storing food in the freezer
    • As a container for toys, crayons, clothes pegs
    • Biscuit container
  • Meat trays, yogurt containers, egg cartons, and film canisters can be kept and used by the kids to 'create stuff'. This is a great way to keep the kids amused and even make gifts for family and friends.
  • Materials left over from home sewing can be used by schools for collages. Larger pieces can also be used for patchwork and crafts by people in rest homes.
  • Use ice cream and other plastic containers to put kids toys in. Also good for nuts and bolts and taking away camping, or clothes peg containers.
  • Stronger plastic bottles can be used to hold tools and nails etc in the shed. Simply cut three sides and leave one side longer and nail to the wall in the shed.
  • Old furniture, clothes, kitchen gear, and bedding are always wanted by organisations like Good Will, and the Salvation Army.