We all want to do our best for the planet and recycling is on the agenda.
But what can you do besides fill your usual recycling bags or bins and take them out on collection days?
Tim Duret, director of sustainable technologies for Veolia UK, the country’s leading resource management company, says there are a number of recycling routes available to the public for all sorts of items – from hedge trimmers to laptop.
“It’s just about knowing where and how best to dispose of your recycling, so that we can keep as many materials as possible in a use loop, through reuse and recycling,” he says.
As Duret points out, there are no national household rules yet, so be sure to check your local council’s website for any specific guidelines in your area.
Let’s take a look at the things that can and can’t be recycled in your home, room by room…
“The kitchen is where we find most of our recycling. Whether it’s vegetable peelings, coffee pods or a washing machine at the end of its life, so many opportunities to make a sustainable choice and recover the precious resources of our consumer goods”, Duret explains.
Plastic: “It can sometimes be a confusing topic, as many councils have specific rules for this material,” notes Duret. “Always check locally, but remember all local authorities accept plastic bottles, so they should go in your recycling bin.”
Empty your containers, rinse and save the lids as they can often be recycled too – as long as they are attached to the bottle.
Kettles: “A kettle that has boiled too many times and no longer makes a good cup of tea can be recycled to recover precious metals and electronics.” He keeps on. “The best recycling option is to take the item to a home recycling center, where all kettles will be consolidated and sent to a reprocessor to extract the materials.”
Washing machine: As with kettles, Duret says washing machines, stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers can all be taken to recycling centers if they can no longer be used.
“If you cannot go to the recycling center yourself with a bulky item, check whether your town hall offers a collection service for bulky items, or ask your new appliance installer if he offers a recycling service for your old one. “, he adds. Hardness.
Coffee pods: “Wherever you buy your coffee pods, the company should offer a Podback program so you can return your used pods for recycling.” He says these capsules are usually made of aluminum, but due to their size and composition, they are not suitable for your household recycling bins.
“There’s a lot of recyclables in the bathroom that don’t end up in the right bin,” suggests Duret. “Every item that we can recycle, rather than putting it in the trash, makes a huge difference to the environment – and prevents us from depleting our natural resources to make new items.”
Shampoo bottles: Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, liquid soap… as Duret points out, they usually all come in plastic bottles, which are perfect for recycling and can go through the recycling system over and over again. It says to keep the lids on unless there is a pump system.
Toilet paper rolls: “We have a great record of recycling paper and cards in the UK, but there are still items that we forget can be recycled,” suggests Duret. “The small cardboard toilet roll shouldn’t be overlooked, as it’s an easy win for being more sustainable at home.”
Toothpaste tubes: He says progress is being made with these tubes – but it’s not yet universal that manufacturers are making these packages recyclable. “It’s best to check your board’s label and website, or research a take-back program with the brand.”
“In this room, we tend to find that large items often go in the trash, rather than recycling. But the bigger the object, the more resources we can extract! enthuses Duret.
Televisions: “It is estimated that less than 40% of electronic and electrical devices thrown away each year are recycled, but we have facilities that can recycle them.
“For example, Veolia’s television recycling center in Bridgnorth recycles 350,000 screens each year. Drop off your old TV at a home recycling center and our robots and staff can recover the gold, plastic and glass,” says Duret.
Battery: Duret says these contain valuable resources, but they must be recycled in the right way to avoid any fire hazard that can arise when they are put in household trash.
“You can recycle batteries at supermarkets, some electronics stores, household recycling centers and some councils even offer this service on the street, so check online,” he recommends.
Irons: Like kettles, Duret says irons contain valuable electronics, as well as metals that can be recycled and used to create new products. “Take them to your local recycling center and we’ll turn them into consumer goods.”
Antique furniture: If you redo the living room and you have a closet that no longer fits, he says to sell it, give it away or recycle it, so it can get a second life. Furniture dropped off at recycling centers is either donated, repaired or recycled, so they can salvage as much of it as possible.
Clothes: Textile banks can be found on the street, as well as sometimes in supermarket parking lots and recycling centers. Duret says clothes that can’t be worn again or donated can be deposited in banks where the fibers will be recycled.
“Don’t put clothes in your household recycling bins, as they can get tangled in recycling equipment,” he recommends.
Mobile phones: “Up to 80% of your phone is recyclable, so avoid throwing it in the trash as it could be very valuable – plus it’s a fire hazard,” he warns.
“Instead, it could be a good opportunity to recycle your phone through the mobile provider or online.”
Aerosols: Empty hairspray and deodorant cans can be recycled in most local communities, says Duret. Check if they can go in your recycling bin on your council’s website.
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