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How To Recycle Just About Everything

When you think about recycling most people think of the bins, the tin cans, and the cardboard and while that is a very important element of recycling, it is also only the tip of the iceberg.

There are loads of things you can recycle, and the benefits are endless. Recycling everything can help you to declutter your house, it means you’re doing something good, you are improving the environment, giving to other people, saving money, keeping yourself busy and helping the world to go around.

Starting with the small things – but still very important items, did you know that batteries of all types can be recycled?

There are a number of shops including Ikea which will accept your old, duff batteries which will limit the number of batteries being dumped with other trash as they contain a number of heavy metals and toxic chemicals.

It will also mean that the materials can be recycled to create more batteries or many can be used within the steel industry.

While it’s lovely to have shelves full of books, this can also add clutter to your house, and if you’re not reading them, then someone else could be.

While there’ll be some you can’t bear to part with, a lot of your books could be donated to charity, to second-hand bookstores, to the local library or local shelter. Or if you fancy making a bit of money, you could sell them on Amazon.

It might be a heap of junk to you that’s let you down more times than you can mention, but a car can be recycled at a junkyard.

It will be crushed and then sold as scrap metal, which sells for a rather high price these days meaning that you could get a tidy sum for an old car, depending on the metal.

Before it goes for the crush though, do remember to clean it out thoroughly.

Check all the cracks and crevices because you never know how much loose change, jewellry or other small valuables you may find. Get anything personal out of there and don’t forget to check the glove box.

Or if your car is in too good nick for the scrap heap, then there’s always selling it on as they apparently take any car!

As people get their yearly upgrades on their phones, or for some it’s even more often as they always have to have the latest model – there are tonnes of phones and other devices getting thrown away each year. Not only this but if you drop or smash your phone, plunge it into some water or merely lose it then that’s another load going into the trash…so don’t add to it.

If you’ve finished with your phone then have a look at companies who will buy used phones off you, some for parts and others to be wiped and sold on for someone else to use. Otherwise, if you’re feeling generous, you could donate your unwanted phone to Hope Line. Just make sure you wipe your phone of any personal data (numbers, notes, etc.).

The same goes for computers and other electronics. While most recycling centers have specific areas for your old televisions, computers, and fridges, there are different ways to get rid of your things and do-good while you’re at it.

There are places which will accept used computers and electronics such as Best Buy or Cex and they might even pay you for it. Then there’s donating to Computers For Schools or the National Center for Electronics Recycling. Just make sure

you wipe the hard drive to make sure there is no personal or identifying information left on the computer.

Both inkjet and laser printer cartridges also come with recycling instructions in the package. Just remember that before you recycle, to put the cartridge back into its original casing. If not, put it in a plastic bag.

Clothes recycling is a great way to declutter but also gives you the perfect excuse to go and treat yourself to some new things. It also gives you a great reason to hold a swishing party where people bring all their unwanted items, and you swap clothes. There must be something of your friend’s you’ve been eyeing up for years?

This might be just the way to get your hands on it. Ask family and friends if they need anything or alternatively you could sell your clothes on eBay, give them away on Freecycle or going to a car boot sale.

Then there are charity shops and if you’ve got a lot of work clothes that you no longer want then donating to somewhere like smartworks is fabulous for helping people dress and prepare for job interviews.

Next, have a look at your furniture. There are a few options here, you could DIY it to improve it, you can re-purpose it, so for example, use your old kitchen cabinets to hold tools and sporting equipment in your garage, you could donate your furniture to charity or sell it on Craigslist, or eBay, or go to a car boot sale.

Or you can take your furniture to the tip or if your car’s not big enough then you could find out about same-day rubbish removal or see if your council if they can come and collect it.

Before you get someone to collect it, you could try putting what you want outside your house in the first instance gives other people a chance to take it, should they want or need it. Just make sure what you wish to rid of is relatively clean.

Did you know that glasses and eyewear should always be donated unless they are smashed to pieces? In which case they should be as plastic or glass and recycled the way you would for anything else.

If yours are alright, then look into Vision Aid Overseas which has been helping some of the world’s poorest people to see clearly for over 30 years. Just clean your glasses before you send them.

Now for your kitchen appliances and other homeware items. Check with family and friends first who wants anything and if not then check out Fresh Start or similar charities who help people who have been homeless get established in their new home.

This means that they need all your homeware items to help people set up their new home, or there’s Re-Use who help people and families crisis, such as those who have lost everything through a house-fire or flood.

Before you recycle any items, make sure that you have all of the attachments, cords, and manuals together in one bag or box when you donate.

How about saving the trees and recycle paper! Every tonne of mixed paper recycled can save the energy equivalent of 625 liters of fuel. There should be a separate bin to collect paper products for recycling and hopefully a large one in your town.

If you have important documents, then it might be worth investing in a shredder and then recycling the shredded paper. Out of that, new paper can be made and fewer trees chopped down.

And finally, the devil of them all, the plastic bag! Plastic bags are among the most common sources of ocean debris, and they are often mistaken as food by birds and fish. Also, plastic bags don’t biodegrade, meaning it will take hundreds of years for them to decompose in a landfill.

Obviously, the answer to how you can help with this to this is to carry your reusable shopping bags with you or have them in the car, so you never need to use plastic bags. However, sometimes a plastic bag is the only option, and that’s ok, just make you recycle it.

Re-use plastic bags around the house, keep them on hand as lunch boxes small bin liners, use them to carry your cans and bottles for recycling.

If you can’t find enough uses for them and still have some knocking around the house, then remove anything that is still inside the bags, such as receipts, stickers or crumbs as all these items can contaminate your bag load.

Then keep a bag collection bin in your house, such as one big garbage bag for all bags. Since they compact easily, you should be able to fit 50 to 100 plastic bags in one garbage bag.

*This is a collaborative post*