We are all encouraged to recycle our rubbish these days with recycling provisions readily available in almost every district and clear information on most packaging as to how it can be safely and ethically disposed of. Also, with many areas now implementing reduced refuse collections, it is in our own interest to recycle and reuse as much of our perceived ‘rubbish’ as we can. It is now more important than ever to teach are children about recyclable products and how to spot them!
What Exactly Does Recycling Mean?
Their are several definitions of recycling:
- To alter or adapt for new use without changing the essential form or nature of.
- To use again in the original form or with minimal alteration
- To undergo reuse or renewal; be subject to or suitable for further use or activity.
Most packaging these days will sport the ‘recyclable’ label if it can! However, there are lots of everyday items that, at first glance, might not be contenders for the recycling depot and are consigned to the bin – because if it doesn’t have the recycling symbol on it, we can’t recycle it – can we? Oh yes we can!
Most Things Can Be Recycled!
In actual fact, most of the things we do throw away can be recycled. Recycling doesn’t just mean sorting our newspapers, glass, tins and plastic and taking them down to the appropriate disposal units, it means reusing, which, in return could mean repairing, refurbishing or just generally regenerating an old item to make it usable again! Get your family to draw up a list of all the things you throw away or replace most often. It might consist of old toys, outgrown clothes, mobile phones, computer equipment, printer cartridges, old technology or electrical items. What could you do with those products rather than bining them? Can they be repaired? Donated to charity? Made into something else?
But How Can I Recycle….
By refilling your printer cartridges you can save yourself money – and protect the environment! It is thought that over 30 million inkjet cartridges are dumped in the UK each year – that’s a whopping 1800 tonnes! And even more shockingly, only 15 % of the 65 million sold every year are recycled. There are also organisations that collect used cartridges for charity – you donate your empty cartridge and they sell them on to companies that reuse or recycle them with profits going to charity.
There are many charities that collect and recycle unwanted mobiles. Oxfam, for example, sell on unwanted handsets to their recycling partner – a working handset is worth at least £5 to Oxfam and since they have been collecting them, they’ve raised over £300,000 and stopped around 22,500 kilos of electronic waste going into landfill!
The obvious answer to getting rid of unwanted clothes is to donate them to charity, but if they’re past their best, you might think they’re fit for nothing more than the bin. But think on…could they be dyed or repaired? Can they be cut up for cleaning rags or dishcloths or craft or art projects? Could they be used as stuffing for cushions or bolsters? If knitwear, could it be un-picked and the wool reused? Old Clothes can be given to your children for ‘dress up’ or can be used to make a patch quilt that your children will enjoy making. Recycling old clothes can be a really fun activity for children if you are imaginative when recycling them.
At first glance, you might think that most of your rubbish is just that – little more than trash. But look again, it is actually a fun activity for you and your kids to get involved in, so encourage your children to spot products that can be recycled and say rubbish to rubbish!