What To Do With The Rubbish When You're Not Sure If It Can Be Recycled

The past couple of weeks our blogs have highlighted the issues regarding the money system and consumerism. This week, I would like to ‘lighten’ the load a bit and talk about what to do with all our ‘stuff’, in other words, the three R’s, Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. 

Most of us are aware of recycling and using our ‘yellow’ bins once a fortnight. But what about the items that we aren’t too sure about?

The ‘stuff’ that ends up being thrown away or hidden deep in the garage to be forgotten until it reappears when you have to move or decide to de-clutter.

Items such as broken toys, stained clothes, alarm clocks, blenders, hair driers, cameras, CDs, TVs and so on. The list is endless. I thought I’d have a look at the alternatives to ditching these items in the bin to instead find a more eco friendly solution.

This is what I discovered:

Nearly all electronic waste can be recycled. Organizations like Ewaste (www.ewaste.com.au) collect and recycle for a fee all types of electronic goods.

These items include: computers, screens, printers, photocopiers, scanners, keyboards, mobile phones, televisions, dvds, vcrs, microwaves, stereos, cameras, electric toys and much more. Veolia Environmental Services (www.veoliaes.com.au ) is another service that collects and recycles e-waste plus other goods

Most people free-cycle their clothes or give them to op-shops, but what about the badly stained clothes?

The good news is that the charity drop boxes take all clothes and they are reused and recycled in some way such as rags or they give them to third-world countries. Some people even use rags for fillings to make dolls, cushions and for making quilt covers. There is no need to throw clothes away in rubbish, there is always someone willing to take them and turn them into something else.

I found an awesome blog www.squidoo.com/reuse-everything that has 50 ideas for reusing simple household items. They include the reuse of plastic bags, pens, carpet rugs, toothpaste tubes and mattresses. It is a must-read blog for anyone looking for alternatives to throwing items in the garbage bin.

Other environmental tips to consider when recycling products as well as purchasing them include:
  • If you're unsure on what can be recycled contact your local council for assistance. 
  • Throw recyclable items straight into your bin. 
  • There is no needs to hold them in plastic bags. 
  • Most electronics can all be recycled. 
  • Plastic bags can be recycled. 
  • Use reusable shopping bags. 
  • At parties use compostable tableware instead of the plastic versions. If some hard plastic is used take the time after the party to separate any recyclables. 
  • Buy products with minimal packaging. A
  • void toys and household products that use batteries. 
  • If batteries are a must choose the rechargeable type. 
  • Opt for versions of products such as toilet paper and paper which can be made from recycled paper. 
  • There is a type of nappy which is now commercially compostable. Eenee Compostables (www.eenee.com.au) is now recognized as compostable by councils in Australia. Call your council and let them know of your intention to put it in the green bin so that that their green bin sorters can identify them.

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