Guest Blog: 15 Unexpected Items You Didn’t Know Could Be Recycled


GUEST BLOG: You might be surprised to discover some of the more unexpected items that can actually be recycled, if you know where and how…

When we consider recycling, we usually think of paper, glass and cans. However, recycling is continually evolving. In this SustMeme Guest Post, Rebecca Currier, Marketing Manager at CarTakeBack, the largest scrap car recycling network in the UK, reveals lots of other unexpected items we can actually recycle. It shows the huge progress made over the past few years with recycling and helping to sustain our planet. Plus, just because it can’t be recycled now, doesn’t mean we won’t be able to soon. 

RC: Every year in Britain, we throw away over 22M tons of rubbish – and the majority of our unwanted goods end up in landfill. We know we can recycle our plastic bottles, tin cans and old papers, but what unexpected items can we also recycle to reduce thisimpact?

In fact, there are so many other everyday objects that can be reused and recycled…

Furthermore, by optimising opportunities to recycle, we can also take steps to cut carbon emissions, save energy and reduce pollutants into our environment.

So, join the war against climate change today — ask yourself, have you got any of these lying around the house that you could recycle… ?

Wine corks

Wine disappears surprisingly easily! However the same can’t be said for the cork in the bottles. Corks won’t break down in landfill, but you can recycle them with Recorked UK.

When you do so, they can re-sell them – and for each donated cork, they give a percentage of profit to nominated charities and also provide free corks to schools for arts and crafts.

Donate your corks for recycling here

Cars

Even the best vehicles come to the end of their life. Did you know you can recycle your car… and get paid to do so? CarTakeBack gives you the best price for your scrap car, their licensed recycling centres safely remove all harmful materials from it and re-use or recycle up to a whopping 95% of the car.

I want to scrap my car

Trainers

Trainers can take a hammering, and once they can no longer hack another step, you can recycle them with Nike. Their Reuse-A-Shoe programme gives your running shoes plenty more miles.

Find a Nike store to drop off your athletic shoes

Bras

Do you have unwanted and unloved bras lying around? Don’t bin them, Against Breast Cancer recycle them and at the same time, raise vital funds for cancer research.

We can avoid bras going into landfill and give them a new lease of life in countries where bras are too expensive to produce locally.

Find a bra bank near you

Eyeglasses

‘Donate, Recycle, Transform’ – Vision Aid Overseas recycle donated eyeglasses so they can provide affordable eye care in isolated communities. Their incredible work reaches the poorest people in need of eye care.

Donate your glasses with Vision Aid Overseas

Bikes

One peddle turn at a time, Re-Cycle change lives by sending bikes to people in Africa who desperately need them. They recycle UK bikes and send them to rural communities – in some parts, it can take up to 4 hours to get to school or to a water source. Re-Cycle have helped to improve school attendance by 30%.

Find out where you can recycle your old bike

Inhalers

Surprisingly, you can recycle your old respiratory inhalers. ‘Breathe new life into your old inhalers’ with Complete the Cycle.

Some 73 million inhalers are prescribed every year in the UK, when they’re not disposed of correctly they end up in landfills and harm the environment.

Find your local participating pharmacy and recycle your inhaler

Clothes and tights

H&M runs a global Garment Collecting Programme. They guarantee ‘all clothes collected by H&M are either reused, reworn or recycled with 0% going to landfill’.

They’ll accept any unwanted clothes, in any condition. Plus, you can secure yourself a £5 voucher for each bag you donate.

I want to find out more about recycling my unwanted clothes and tights at H&M

Mobile phones

We’re always upgrading our phones to the latest gadget. But what happens to all your old phones? There’s usually a whole drawer full at home. If no-one wants them, most charities accept donated old phones.

There are a number of ways to recycle phones – find out more here

Writing tools

When writing tools dry up and can no longer form another letter, you can recycle them. The BIC programme accepts any brand of pen, highlighter, marker, felt tip, and mechanical pencil.

Find out more about recycling your pens here

Paint

Post-DIY, any leftover paint can be donated to your local scheme with Community RePaint. They redistribute the paint so communities in need can brighten their spaces and lives.

Find out more about the Community RePaint scheme

Toothbrushes

Terracycle and Colgate have partnered so we can recycle oral care products and packaging. This also directly helps those in need too, you can redeem points you collect into financial donations for your chosen charity or school.

I want to recycle my toothbrush and oral care

Mattresses

Dreams don’t just bring you a new comfy mattress, they also pick up your old bed and mattress and take them to a bed recycling facility.

Find out how to recycle your mattress with Dreams

Tennis balls

When tennis balls can take no more hits and they’ve lost their pressure, they end up in landfill. However, Recycaball is a not-for-profit and they recycle them. What’s more, you can even get paid 25p for each one you recycle.

Find out how to recycle your tennis balls here

Fairy lights

Your festive and fairy lights are WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), so can’t just go into your normal black bin. They can actually be recycled, though, at your local household waste recycling centre. Some authorities across the UK even collect them from you.

Find out where to recycle your fairy lights here.


If you know of any more surprising items that can be recycled, feel free to Tweet us at @SustMeme and let us know!


More information on CarTakeBack can be found on the company’s website here.



Would you like to Guest Blog for SustMeme? Click here for more info…


SUSTMEME: Get the Susty Story Straight!

Circularity: ‘Future of Construction’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Construction.

BAMB is on a mission: its goal is a systemic shift in sustainable building; its focus, construction waste and material consumption. As the name implies, Buildings as Material Banks (BAMB) reimagines a building as a dynamic repository of value, where tradable material assets can be deposited, data tracked, transferred and withdrawn. Three major changes support the BAMB vision for circular transition: change in design culture, value definition and collaboration. The question is, can a relatively traditional industry such as construction truly embrace the systemic change called for by a circular economy? What would such a shift mean in terms of technology, but more imporantly culture? Furthermore, how might it play out worldwide – across global development markets maturing at different speeds, with different histories of urbanisation? Getting down to project particulars, the article also includes a case study of an inner-city school in Swansea, Wales, which has just set new industry standards, achieving 99.87 per cent diversion from landfill. You can read more about both the scale of the material challenge and the exciting opportunities to close the circularity gap, here:

‘BAMB: Could this be the future for sustainable building?’.

The full 16-page Future of Construction & Development report is available to view/download here.

Changing the word on waste: ‘Future of Food’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on Future of Food.

Despite population growth and increasing famine, 1.6 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted worldwide, every year. With an estimated carbon footprint of 3.3 billion tonnes, this food waste eats up 28 per cent of the world’s agricultural area and drinks enough water to fill Lake Geneva three times. My piece explores some of the many innovations happening worldwide around food waste: from industrial-scale anaerobic digestion, via almond hulls and shells being put to good use in California, to beer made from surplus bread, plus simple sustainability hacks for bartenders that could save over 60,000 limes in London alone. For all the exciting opportunities engaging farmers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and start-ups, however, policymakers still need to come to the party in numbers and force, if the headline stats are really going to change. You can read more about both the ongoing problem and the emerging solutions, here:

‘Rethinking food waste as a resource’.

The full 12-page Future of Food & Beverage report is available to view/download here.

Plastics & Circularity: ‘Future of Packaging’ in The Times

New writing…. Pleased to say I have had another couple of articles published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Packaging.

Ocean plastic is not a new problem, however it took David Attenborough and Blue Planet II to turn the tide of public opinion. My opening article investigates how prime-time endorsement of the core sustainability message proved a public gamechanger, but there is still a long way to go before we reach peak plastic in our waste streams. From high-street retail and global brands, to entrepreneurial start-ups and consumer activism, I am sharing smart insights of key influencers and seeking out sustainable solutions to the problems of a packaging sector under intense pressure. Issues are complex and commercial realities a challenge, but the question remains:

‘What next after Blue Planet?’

The first step towards fixing something is often to admit it is actually broken. Well, the plastics system is broken. So, since the problem is big, the fix must be even bigger, right? My second piece for the report explores how society must move away from the ‘take, make, dispose’ mindset that has long-informed linear consumption patterns and business models, towards a win-win scenario that simultaneously keeps plastics in the economy, but out of the environment. This discussion of proposals and prospects for the New Plastics Economy and UK Plastics Pact includes interviews with project leads at both the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WRAP UK:

‘UK Plastics Pact is central to forming a circular economy’

The full 24-page Future of Packaging report is available to view/download here.

Sustainability & Waste: ‘Future of Packaging’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another couple of pieces published in The Times newspaper today, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Packaging.

The Overview article which opens the report discusses whether sustainable packaging is ready yet to make the leap from niche to mainstream:

‘Resolving the Riddle of Sustainability’.

My second piece on Page 7 argues that tackling the number one problem of packaging waste demands upcycling the way wethink about the industry and the resource it produces :

‘Thinking outside the Burger Box’.

The full 16-page Future of Packaging report is available to view/download here.

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