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 technology at Veolia, says there are a number of recycling routes available to the public for all sorts of items – from hedge trimmers to laptops.
“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.
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, there are so many opportunities to make a sustainable choice and recover the precious resources of our consumer goods”, Duret explains.
Plastic: 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 recycling center, where all the kettles will be grouped together and sent to a reprocessor to extract the materials.”
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 circuit indefinitely. It says to keep the lids on unless there is a pump system.
Toilet paper rolls: “We have a great track record when it comes to recycling paper and cardboard, 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.”
“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 capable of recycling them.
Drop your old TV off at a recycling center and the gold, plastic and glass can all be salvaged
Batteries: Duret says they contain valuable resources, but need to be recycled in the right way to avoid any fire hazard that can arise when they are put in household trash.
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.”
Old 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 have 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.
Clothing: Clothing 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.”