So, you recycle, but could you do more? Recently, we talked about the waste hierarchy and why it’s crucial to not just jump on at recycling and stop there. However, human nature tells us we are creatures of habit. Which means for those of us recycling newspapers every morning, it’s going to be challenging to change. But that’s why we’re here! It’s our job to give you the solutions, in the most manageable way possible, so that together we can make a more significant difference. Check out these practical and inexpensive solutions to taking the next step up from recycling habits.
Recycling habits you can bump up to repair
As it is commonly known, electrical waste, or e-waste, has become one of the UK’s biggest challenges in the waste industry. Around 40 million electrical items are sitting in our homes, doing nothing: the biggest culprit – mobile phones. Now, recycling your e-waste is an excellent action to take, but remember, we’re reaching for higher and greener actions. So, we’re going to see how we can repair instead.
Those old mobile phones, tablets and laptops that you just ‘replaced’ because they were slow or no longer on-trend can still be used. Often, they just need to be repaired. They might need a new battery, screen, or a bigger memory to cope with newer software. While you may have upgraded – there are plenty of shops you can sell your device to where they can repair and then sell on. You help prevent someone else buying a new phone. Plus, you make a little bit of money from your old gadgets!
How many times have you thrown an item of clothing away because the zip is broken or there’s a hole? Well, now is the time to stop. Whatever issue you’re having with your garment, there’s a way to resolve it, and their name is a seamstress. You will be amazed at the skills of a seamstress; it’s almost magic. They’ve always got a way to resolve your issues, whether it involves patches in the elbows or a new fastening mechanism – they’re the perfect solution to repairing your clothes.
Recycling habits you can bump up to reuse
This is one of our favourite reuse hacks—Nutella jars. The lack of screw thread top makes them the perfect drinking glass! So, when you’ve finished a pot, wash it out then fill it with boiling water. Leave it for a couple of minutes before emptying the water. At this point, you’ll easily be able to remove the Nutella sticker from the front, leaving no residue and revealing the perfect drinking glass.
Of course, you can do this with any jar – mason jars with screw thread tops are a quirky look for a stylish cocktail or two! Or you can use your glass jar for something entirely different. Use them to make candles, store your homemade jam, create a terrarium, plant a bulb, or dedicate a jar to house your bits and bobs for sewing. There are so many ways to reuse glass jars, and if you’ve exhausted all your reuse options, donate them to other households that could use them instead of recycling them. We often spot people giving them away for free on the Facebook Marketplace – there’s always someone looking for a few craft supplies!
Many of us will recycle our egg cartons, but even those who grab their eggs straight from farmers can reuse them instead. If you collect your eggs from a local farmer, take your old egg carton and use it over and over again to transport your eggs – it reduces the need for a new one. A quick bump up from your recycling habits.
However, egg cartons aren’t the most durable items, so there will come a time where you need to do something different. At this point, we say get green-fingered and start growing your own! Egg cartons are great starter homes for seedlings. You can grow your own herbs to use in your cooking or grow some fresh cress for the egg and cress sandwich! If you’re feeling super adventurous, you can even do this in old eggshells as seen below.
Recycling habits you can bump up to reduce
This is where we really come into our own. You’ll be amazed how much ‘stuff’ as a society, we have bought into that we simply don’t need. Here’s a list of popular items that we buy and try to incorporate into our recycling habits, but in reality, we can refuse them and quickly reduce our waste consumption:
- Straws we use in and out of the home
- Bananas that come in plastic packaging, buy loose (they have their own protection!)
- Bottled water – use your tap, it’s healthier!
- Wet wipes. There’s never a need for a wet wipe – use cloths or cut up an old shirt.
- Paper plates and disposable cutlery
It can be difficult to refuse some items. When you’re handed a leaflet with your purchase or given a straw in your drink at a restaurant (although that seems like a distant past time), it might be easy to think ‘I’ll just recycle this’. The key to reducing your waste is to be vocal. If you’re ordering food or drinks, request no straws, no cutlery, no napkins – you’ve got it covered. It’s okay to refuse an item, and it’s easy to be polite in doing it.
All these small changes are precisely that. Small. But we’re creatures of habits, and it takes time to adopt these new ideas, which is why it’s better to start small. After all, it’s easier to run a marathon with some shorter training runs involved instead of just heading out for the 26 miles on the first day! Small, easy, and simple changes that over time add up to a big difference – that’s what we’re about here at Greenredeem.
Do you have any recycling habits? Could they be bumped up the waste hierarchy? Post them in the comments below, and we’ll give you some solutions on how to transform them into greener actions.