If every household and workplace recycled everything it could, Britain would achieve a zero waste economy. Perhaps you already recycle plastic, glass and paper; you may have a compost caddy for unwanted food scraps, and there’s even a chance that you take old and broken electrical goods to a local waste management centre. Still, no matter how good you are at saving the planet, there’s usually something more that each of us can do.
We all use them, but do we all recycle them? Due to batteries not widely being accepted by council collections, we need to take them to a place that will send them on for reprocessing, where the metals and chemicals are stripped and reused. Luckily, most supermarkets and electrical outlets have used battery drop-offs.
Construction and demolition
This industry results in a lot of unwanted materials, such as bricks, rubble, mortar, soil and even asbestos. Some of these can be reused, whereas others need to be properly processed and disposed of. By taking all excess and waste materials to a recycling facility, you can rest assured that they will be dealt with officially and effectively.
Liquids and chemicals
Car oil, domestic oils, gas bottles, household cleaning materials, paints, varnishes and white spirit can cause all manner of problems when simply thrown away. It’s easy to put these materials in a regular waste bin or skip, but this means that they’ll go to landfill and gradually poison the earth and air, also posing a threat to local flora and fauna. Make sure to take all unwanted liquids and chemicals to a recycling bank.
Some metals, such as food and drinks cans, aluminium foil and empty aerosols, are accepted as part of your regular council collection. However, mixed scrap metal and items such as old baking trays and pans can be reused but need to be taken directly to a recycling facility. Metal is always useful and costs a lot to manufacture, so do your bit wherever possible.
Cardboard and paper
There are various types of cardboard and paper. Check with your local council to see which types they accept as part of your regular home collection. Most are accepted these days, from magazines to toilet roll tubes and telephone directories to window envelopes. Anything that can’t be picked up can be dropped off.
Clothes and shoes
Just because you don’t like that old dress or can’t fit into your jeans anymore, it doesn’t mean that they’re worthless. All clothing and shoes that are clean and in good condition can go to a charity shop, a homeless shelter, or be deposited in a clothing bank. Some local councils can even take them as part of their regular collections, but check with them beforehand.
Thanks to new technology, increased governmental focus and an ever-growing understanding that everyone can make a huge difference on a daily basis, practically everything can be reused. To find local recycling facilities, simply pop your postcode into this nifty bank locator.