Thankfully people are much more aware these days of the need to recycle and to stop filling up landfill sites with unnecessary rubbish and toxic waste. Councils have also got better at providing doorstep facilities to make it as easy to throw a bottle in the recycling box as the black ‘rubbish’ bin. My local council, East Herts, will collect glass bottles and jars; plastic bottles; cans (including aerosols); paper; cardboard and compostable materials, including cooked food waste.
That covers quite a bit of household rubbish. But there are other things that you may not know can be recycled or don’t know where to take them. Here are a few ideas of some other things that you can avoid throwing in the bin. In some cases you can earn yourself loyalty points or money and usually help a charity along the way.
One of the most toxic things that can go into landfill. Spent batteries can still leak acid into the ground which can seep into waterways, not only harming wildlife but making the clean up job for the water companies more difficult. One company that organises the safe disposable of batteries is ERP UK. They provide schools, businesses and councils with collection boxes which they pick up. To find out where your nearest collection point is, and to read more about what they do, visit their website. If your child’s school doesn’t have a box, tell them about it!
However much we try to save on paper use, in this computer age Britain gets through a LOT of inkjet cartridges. There are so many places that will take your old cartridges, either directly by charities or through supermarket chains. Among them is Tesco who provide envelopes for you to put them in which can be posted for free. You can choose whether to get clubcard points or to donate to the CLIC Sargent charity.
Do you change your mobile phone as soon as a new one comes out or upgrade to get all the latest apps? Both Tesco and Sainsburys provide envelopes to recycle mobiles. Tesco let you choose whether to get clubcard points or donate to CLIC Sargent. As with Inkjet cartridges many charities will take mobile phones. The Cerebral Palsy charity SCOPE is one of those that will take both, either through their charity shops or by freepost envelopes. Alternatively they will provide collection boxes on request and pick up when 10 or more items are collected. Traidcraft will also recycle inkjet cartridges and mobile phones.
Small Electronic Devices
Sainsburys have a multi-purpose envelope in which you can put mobile phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and Sat Navs. Again it is a freepost envelope and you could receive up to £200, depending on the item. Sainsburys are currently donating £1 to Comic Relief for every listed item received.
Water filter cartridges
All Brita water filter cartridges can be recycled, as can some other brands. Shops that provide bins for them include Argos and Tescos.
Do you want to help save the albatross? The RSPB will take used stamps, both from Britain and overseas, and sell them to collectors to raise money to save this amazing, but beleaguered, majestic bird. Ideally they like them in lots of 2 kg or more so this is probably a project to get your local school involved with. You can send them in but why not combine this with a good day out in the fresh air and visit one of the RSPB reserves and drop them off?
This is just the tip of the iceberg and only mentions things that you might find hard to re-use at home or at school. For some more offbeat ideas visit www.recyclethis.co.uk. You may well know of other items, schemes and places that help both the environment and worthy charitable causes. Write in and tell us!