There usually comes a time when stuff breaks beyond repair. You did the green thing and managed to Stick With What You Got for ages and ages, you mended and made do countless times but now the Grim Reaper has come along and its time to throw your old thing out. But wait! You can recycle a lot more stuff than you realise and with this week being Recycle Week we’re going to share with you seven items that can be saved from your bin.
1. Bras. Maybe you’ve grown out of it or maybe it’s old and worn down and at risk of becoming indecent. Either way your old bras don’t need to end up in the landfill. Nice bras that just don’t hold you up anymore can be given to charity shops here in the UK or can be given to International charities such as Breast Talk and Knickers4Africa to help support women in third world countries. And those damaged bras? Breast Talk make them into quilts for the homeless and for use in the emergency services. You can even make them into a hanging bra-sket for your garden.
2. Cars. If your car has driven its last journey and has spluttered and rattled to a permanent halt then why not recycle it. Give A Car picks up your old banger and recycles the parts then gives the money to a charity of your choice. Perfect! And if your car still has some life in it, they can auction it off for you too.
3. Toothbrushes. Millions of these plastic brushes get chucked in the landfill every year. American company, Preserve, have thought of a fantastic solution. They recycle your number 5 plastics (think plastic food tubs – hummus tubs, yoghurt pots etc) into toothbrushes, razor handles and kitchen ware. Number 5 plastics are quite hard to recycle with many counties and boroughs not recycling them. Preserve collect these from various points (or you can post them your #5′s), shred them up, melt them down and remake them into new products saving a whole shed load of energy. Buy a Preserve toothbrush (sold at the Ethical Superstore if you don’t live in the US)and send your old one back to them in your new packaging. Unfortunately they only recycle their own as they cannot guarantee what products other companies use. So why not make your old, non-Preserve toothbrush into a bracelet?
4. Scruffy old shoes. Just because you’ve trashed your trainers doesn’t mean they have to be banished to a landfill. Charities don’t want old, battered shoes but Nike does. Their Reuse A Shoe project turns your old footwear into new running tracks, playgrounds, courts and even new Nike products by grinding up the whole of your shoe into trainer confetti. Take your old shoes (of any brand, not just Nike) to their various drop off points or post them off and you may end up playing tennis on them again one day.
5. Mattresses. Again, many charities won’t accept old, manky mattresses due to hygiene reasons. But that doesn’t mean your once-bouncy bed has to be dumped onto the pavement and bundled off to the tip. JBS Fibre Recovery recycle 100% of your old mattresses. From the wool to the plastic to the metal to the foam. Working with John Lewis, IKEA and local councils they currently recycle around 150,000 mattresses a year. Take your mattress to one of their nationwide stores or arrange a pick up.
6. Medicine. Leftover pills and potions from past illnesses or relations that have passed away need not be binned. Inter Care collects these medicines, disposes of the out-of-date ones and redistributes the remaining to health centers in Africa. Check with your doctors surgery to see if they work with Inter Care.
7. Lightbulbs. The clever people at IKEA have produced a lightbulb recycling service. Pop your old bulbs into their special machine and out pops a vouchers for a free cup of tea in their cafe. Ahh, tea and recycling, what could be better!
Don’t forget, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Use sites like Freecycle, Craigslist and Netcycler to give away and swap your unwanted things. How Can I Recycle This is a great website telling you how you can reuse and recycle 1o0′s of items. So enjoy Recycle Week and think twice before you chuck your stuff in the bin.