Do you remember a time when absolutely nothing went to waste? What happened to those days? In the age of convenience, rubbish is becoming a serious issue for our planet and our people – after all, who wants to live next to landfill?
If you’re already a keen recycler, you’ll be excited to know you can take it a step further and get back to the mentality of “waste not want not”. While you’re at it, teaching your grandkids to “reduce, reuse, recycle” will help create a much better world for them to live in.
Here are 10 things you might not know you can recycle – start collecting today!
1. Soft plastic packaging
If you don’t already know about this, it could well blow your mind. If you do nothing else on this list, recycling your soft plastic packaging will dramatically reduce the volume of rubbish you send to landfill each week.
Any “scrunchable” plastic, including clingwrap, can be recycled via the RedCycle program. That means chip packets, frozen pea bags, pasta packets, the secret plastic bag in your cereal box. Even that silvery foil-like plastic used for biscuits can be deposited in the green bins and most Coles and selected Woolworths supermarkets across Australia.
Find your nearest participating supermarket here and look for this green bin:
2. Printer cartridges
The ink cartridges in your printer can either be refilled and reused at CartridgeWorld or the materials recycled and made into plastic wood that is used for all kinds of things like outdoor furnishing and marine products. Find out the closest drop-off point here.
3. Coffee pods
Do you own a Nespresso coffee machine? Those pesky plastic pods can be recycled into other plastic products thanks to a fantastic company called TerraCycle. Sign up for the Nespresso brigade, collect your pods and then post them in for free; they will be turned into plastic products like plant pots. More information here.
4. Mobile phones
The materials in mobile phones are almost 100 per cent recyclable, so make sure you send them in to MobileMuster. Find out where you can drop them off or pick up a postage-paid envelope to send it your old phone here.
Every single Aldi store now has a battery-recycling bin, so collect your old batteries in a box and drop them off next time you go to the store.
6. Cigarette butts
For anyone who still smokes, TerraCycle will take all your butts, plus tobacco pouches and the plastic lining on the outside of cigarette packets. All you have to do is dump the entire contents of your ashtray into the bag provided, then post it away when it’s full. Details here.
If you have bras that don’t fit or you find uncomfortable, don’t throw them in the bin. There are women in developing nations who would give their right breast for a quality brassiere. The Uplift Project will deliver your unwanted bras to women in the Pacific, all you have to do is send them in. Find out more here.
8. Toothpaste tubes & toothbrushes
TerraCycle also collects toothpaste tubes and turns them into useful products. You can either collect them yourself and post them to TerraCycle using a postage-paid envelope, or find your nearest drop off location here.
9. Triggers and pumps on beauty and cleaning products
Many products like moisturisers, body wash and cleaning solutions come in containers that can be recycled through your kerbside collection. But what about the pumps, triggers and lids? TerraCycle has a recycling program for them too: collect every hand wash pump, body wash pump, beauty product pump, cleaning product trigger, laundry liquid tap, dish tabs plastic bag, beauty product tube and face wipes packaging, then send them in to be recycled! Details here.
10. Old blankets, towels
Holey towels and blankies that aren’t any use to humans will be welcomed by animal-rescue shelters who can use them to clean or to make a cosy corner for lost cats and dogs. Phone first, then drop them off!
Did you know you could recycle these items? Do you know of any others that people may not be aware of?