Guest blog contribution by Cloe Matheson.
Recycling: after reducing and reusing, it’s the best way we can handle our plastic bottles and other single-use items. The point of recycling is to reduce the amount of waste such as plastic packaging, and scrap paper heading straight to landfill, where the waste can take thousands of years to disintegrate. Some businesses help by collecting food by-products that would have been discarded, before transforming them into animal feed and other such useful products – a great way to ensure that the food by-products don’t go to waste. If you’re interested in taking part in recycling, but aren’t sure where to begin, try the following creative ideas:
Repurpose your recyclables and other disused items as storage
Perhaps you love keeping small trinkets in your house, always want small arts and crafts tools handy, or your desks and table tops are always looking a little bit messy. Did you know that you can create new storage solutions from recycled items? Try cutting old milk bottles into pencil holders that can be hung from a rail in the kitchen, or use an old ladder to build a rustic-looking bookshelf. Plastic bottles are commonly reused as containers for other drinks or dry foods, so next time you need a place to store your salt or grains, consider using something that you already possess.
Use old clothes to make new ones
You can always drop off old clothes at a charity shop or into a charity bin, or pass them on to friends, but if you can’t bring yourself to part with an old shirt or a too-tight pair of pants, you could instead use the fabric to create something new. It’s easy to find step-by-step DIY projects online – you might, for example, try fashioning an old pair of jeans into a handbag or tote. You’ll have fun being creative and also save your old clothes from becoming single-use throwaways, which are terrible for the environment.
Recycle at home
Make recycling fun! Never toss something into the bin before checking if it can be recycled. Try colour coding your recycling bins to make them look nicer and more organized and to encourage your kids to sort their recyclables properly. If you have electronics to recycle, you may have to find a business that will accept them. Why not ask your friends if they’ve also got a pair of broken headphones or a faulty laptop to get rid of before you make the trip? Better yet, make an outing of it and go together.
Set up a miniature garden
Rather than sending your recyclables to a landfill, why not ensure that you’re having a positive environmental effect instead? Plastic bottles are great if you’ve got a bit of a green thumb: it’s easy to make your own indoor herb garden pots using the bottoms cut out of plastic 2L containers. Glass is even better: try a mini-terrarium in a glass jar to add a touch of the outdoors to your home.
Try your hand at crafting
There are virtually thousands of ways you can craft using recyclables, whether you prefer to work alone or you want to complete fun projects with your kids. Arm yourself with some craft supplies and a few plastic bottles, and fashion yourself a new piggy bank or toy car. You might like to try painting them for a bright addition to your household.
To ensure the health of our earth, we should all attempt to first reduce our waste, reuse what we can, and recycle wherever possible. Recycling doesn’t need to be a chore; with a little effort and creativity you can create new objects and minimise your family’s impact on the earth at the same time!
Cloe Matheson is passionate about adopting eco-friendly and sustainable practices such as recycling, energy conservation and exploring alternative living solutions. She loves to support businesses that are committed to environmental protection and sustainability. You can find more of Cloe’s work on Tumblr.