Recycling is one of those things that we know we should be doing more of, but our busy lives and need for convenience often gets in the way of our good intentions. We know we SHOULD be sorting those cardboard, paper and food scraps into separate containers, bringing along our ‘keep cup’ to purchase our morning brew and buying less ‘disposable’ plastic. But sometimes it’s just quicker and easier to throw the food scraps in the bin with the rest of the junk (yep we’ve all done it!).
With National Recycling week running from the 11th to the 17th of November, now is the perfect time to step up and do our bit for Mother Nature. The great news is that we can all find one simple small change to make that as a whole will positively impact the environment.
Be a part of the cycle of life
Food waste is a significant global contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. So starting a simple composting system in the home or backyard is a great way to recycle your household food waste. Composting contributes to the reduction of methane emissions, as well as, enriches the soil, helps the soil retain moisture and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria which suppress plant disease and pests. It is nature’s way of recycling!
A great way to make recycling cartons, plastic, glass and paper items that bit easier is to keep a special bucket inside the house (perhaps under the kitchen sink?) then empty once it’s full. At least this way, you don’t have to walk outside to empty EVERY single item into the red or yellow lidded recycling bins (although it might be a good way to up your daily step count).
If you’ve got kids, getting them involved in household recycling is a great way to delegate jobs i.e emptying the compost or recycling bin, as well as educating them on the importance of environmental conservation. For some great ideas to support National Recycling Week check out the link here.
Pre-loved but not rejected
Choosing to buy recycled products means you’re saving the resources and energy that go into making products from virgin materials, as well as reducing landfill waste. Just pick one small item that you would normally have to purchase or a large item you currently need to replace and consider purchasing a recycled option instead. ‘
You could try purchasing:
- Toilet and kitchen paper made from recycled materials (Who Gives A Crap toilet and kitchen paper is awesome)
- Fashion and accessories from op shops and second hand goods stores
- Furniture found on buy/swap/sell websites or local papers
- Stationary and paper products made from recycled materials
- Toys and children’s goods from second hand stores, buy/sell websites or local paper
A “one-off” item that you find in an op-shop or second hand furniture store will probably get more compliments from your friends than the same stuff we all see in the shops everyday.
Think before you throw
Being such a throw-away society, we are often quick to bin items that could be reused for something funky. Here are some novel ways to use those so called “throwaway” items:
- Create ice blocks for your esky. Fill up old milk cartons with water and freeze them.
- Make your own gift wrapping! Wrap your presents in the comic pages from your local Sunday newspaper, magazines or comics. Kids (and even adults) love it!
- Save old lip balm pots and small toiletry containers. Refill these from your large bottles to make travelling packs.
- Making storage containers from used glass jars or take-away containers for bulk items such as rice, flour and beans.
This one is easy! Donating old furniture, clothes and toys to a charity organisation or a local community group or helping a friend in need by giving them something you no longer use just feels good to do. And with the added benefit of reducing waste and looking after our environment, you should be feeling great!!