When it comes to eco-friendly living, most people imagine solar panels and eating nothing but organic food. However, there is a lot more to sustainable living than just energy and food.
Indeed, recycling, that is, converting waste into usable material, is a great way to be a bit more eco-friendly in your day-to-day life. Here are ten ways to do so in your own home:
1. Recycle smart
Every year, millions of plastic bags are caught in equipment used for recycling because people still dump plastic bags into their recycling bins at home. Read up on what can and cannot be placed in your recycling bin. Aluminum cans? Yes. Aluminum foil? No.
2. Recycle efficiently
No one likes to sort through even their own rubbish to separate the recyclable items from the real trash. Why not have a separate bin just for recycling next to your usual rubbish bin to make it easier and more efficient to recycle?
3. Recycle old cards
Simply cut off the top half of the cards you receive and provided that there is no writing on the blank side, use it as a postcard! A simple, nifty way to save the environment and your bank account while bringing a smile to someone else. Old cards can also be turned into gift tags or placemats.
4. Recycle old newspaper
Sure, old newspapers can go in the recycling bin, but they have plenty of uses around the home too. For example, you can line them on the floors of your car for muddy days, stuff them in leather shoes to protect their shape, or stuff under doors to prevent cold wind from coming in – the list is endless!
5. Recycle paper grocery bags
You can use paper grocery bags to wrap boxes and presents, saving on the need to buy separate, expensive wrapping paper. In fact, you (or maybe your kids) can even decorate this recycled wrapping paper!
6. Recycle your old clothes
Kids outgrown their old clothes or you yourself tired of those T-shirts from ten years ago? Why not use your old clothes, particularly T-shirts and sweaters, to make some throw pillows for your home? More ways to recycle old clothes.
7. Recycle your old shoes
Worn out your old pair of shoes? With a little bit of work, an old shoe, especially a boot, can be turned into a creative planter for your flowers or plants. You don’t have to throw away those shoes just yet.
8. Recycle your electronics
Electronic waste such as cell phones, computers, and inkjet cartridges contain mercury and other toxins that are increasingly becoming a hazard. So, try to use your electronics until they can be absolutely used no more. Then, donate or recycle them to hazardous waste collections in your local council.
9. Start a compost bin
When you compost, you turn your old food scraps into fertilizer for your garden soil. Simply mix your food waste with dry leaves, sticks and twigs, dead plants, and shredded newspaper (another use!) in a bin, cover with a layer of wood chips or mature compost, and you’re ready to begin!
10. Buy recycled products
So this may not be strictly in your home, but if you are sending out your waste to be recycled, you will want to complete the cycle by also buying recycled products. So even if you live in an already-environmental community keep a keen eye out next time you are at the supermarket for everything from recycled pens to recycled toilet paper!
Sarah Chan is a university student and freelance writer who is interested in being more environmental and taking care of the planet we live in. She has lately been eying a new patch of land with Stockland in Mt Aitken.