Tuesday 15 February 2011

Turning Recycling into a Craft!

And I don't mean making things...

Where we live the rubbish collections are fortnightly, alternating with the recycling collections.  It's great beacuse it forces you to make sure everything that can be recycled goes in the right bin ensuring the rubbish bin doesn't overflow.

So into the recycling bin goes paper, cardboard, newspapers, magazines, plastic household cleaners/detergent bottles, plastic shampoo, shower gel etc. bottles and aluminium cans.  We also have a seperate collection for glass once a month.  But we could still only just get the lid closed on the rubbish bin every fortnight which horrified me somewhat!

I started to collect up the items that could be taken to a neighbouring towns recycling point, these included tetrapak cartons (used for juices and soups), aluminium foil trays (small cakes, shop brought pies, takeaway foods) and tin foil.  I didn't amass many of these but when I did finally get to take them I saw a new plastics collection bin - is it wrong of me to admit I was a little excited at the thought of what it might take?!

The lovely people at Recresco had provided a bin for mixed plastics! Yay! I was either sending them to landfill or to the school for crafting activities but recycling made me much happier.

PET1 and PP5 items seem to feature alot in my bin.  They are the plastic trays that fruit and veg are pre-packed in at the supermarket, and the plastic tubs that yoghurts, cream and coleslaw come in.

Pre-packaged fruit and veg I hear you cry! I know, it's sinful! Our supermarket doesn't offer much in the way of loose vegetables and as a busy mum I was doing all my shopping in one place to save time and effort - but not the planet!  So off I trotted to the local green grocers shop across town with the ONYA weigh-it bags I was given for my birthday, they are small bags made of a stretchy netting to be used in place of the polythene ones offered in supermarkets.

Of course the selection of fruit and vegetables was lovely, loose, local and therefore seasonal.  I gorged myself of different types of onions, having only had the option of white or red at the supermarket, and tomatoes which have been transformed into a delicious ketchup.

They also stock local free range eggs at a cheaper price that the supermarket and local honey too! What a treat!  Of the 15 or so brands of Honey on the supermarket shelf, not one was from the UK, let alone from Hampshire!

And then I saw on Facebook a family in Gloucestershire who were undertaking to reduce their waste to zero, see http://www.myzerowaste.com/, so I headed off to their webpage for a good snoop around.  The site is packed full of helpful hints, tips and information on how to reduce, reuse and recycle all manner of items.

They have a link to a charity who collect crisp packets and empty toothpaste tubes, http://www.p-c-f.org/  You post your items to a Southampton address and they forward them to the Philippines where they are upcycled into handbags, shopping bags, lunch bags etc. Fabulous!

I also found links to UK based companies who recycle polythene bags, see here for one of them http://www.polyprint.co.uk/pages/recycling.php.  So now if I do buy fruits or vegetables in a bag, like potatoes and grapes, these bags are kept in the garage until I have enough to post. 

Polyprint can recycle:
    •    Bags used to cover electrical appliances or furniture
    •    Bread bags (shaken out)
    •    Bin bags (clean)
    •    Bubblewrap
    •    Can & drink pack outers & joining rings
    •    Carrier bags
    •    Cling film (clean)
    •    Compost sacks (clean)
    •    Courier bags (without paper labels)
    •    Drycleaning garment covers
    •    Mailing wrappers (without paper labels)
    •    Polythene recycling categories 2 and 4 (as marked on the film)
    •    Thin bags used in supermarkets for fruit & veg etc (shaken out)
    •    Toilet roll and nappy pack outers

I'm also saving used postage stamps for charity; http://myzerowaste.com/2010/06/recycle-stamps-for-charity/

And as a result, this week, my rubbish bin was only half full! I'm quietly very pleased with myself :o)

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