When it comes time to unclutter your home, you may be surprised to find that the vast majority of your “junk” pile can actually be recycled. These days everything from scrap metal and bricks to electronics and ink cartridges can be disposed of responsibly. So before you throw away those old batteries or leave that worn out refrigerator at the tip, consider how you may be able to recycle or upcycle the following items:
Modern technology makes giant advances each year, leaving many of our favourite electronics outdated. Many electronic manufacturers and stores—including Samsung, Sony, and Nokia—offer trade-in, mail-in, and take-back programs to provide you with an eco-friendly way of getting rid of old phones, TVs, computers, digital music players, batteries, and ink cartridges. In addition, musicMagpie offers a service that allows you to sell cds, dvds, and games that you no longer enjoy.
Clothes and Toys
Every parent knows that keeping their kids in the right sized clothes can be a challenge. Most of us end up with closets and boxes full of tops, pants, and footwear that our kids have long since outgrown. As long as they’re still in good condition, consider giving those old outfits to a charitable organisation or church; they’re always looking for donations. Find a new home for kids’ toys at one of these not-for-profits or by hosting a toy swap with other families in your neighbourhood. Recycling services like Greengiving and Goodgreenfun can also help you find places where old clothes and toys will have new life.
Traditionally, kitchens have been the biggest culprit when it comes to producing waste inside the home. Even if you’ve steered away from plastic carrier bags in favour of reusable cloth bags to do your household shopping, you’re still left with a number of one-time use products to contend with at week’s end. The good news is that most products made from paper, cardboard, tetra pack, silver foil, tin, aluminium, glass, and certain kinds of plastic can be recycled. Check with your local authorities to see if they collect recyclable items kerbside or if you’ll have to take them to a local recycling centre. “White good” kitchen appliances—fridges, freezers, cookers, and dishwashers—can often be recycled at local centres or donated to a second-hand store.
You don’t have to send old household furniture to the landfill, especially if it’s in decent condition. For example, your local recycling centre will gladly take your old wooden furniture, and organisations like the Mattress Recycling Group will save your old mattresses and carpets from ending up in the junkyard. Unfortunately, furniture made from leather or synthetic materials does not meet recycling criteria, but you can sell these pieces online or donate them to a charitable organisation to give them a second life. When it comes time to buy new furniture, make sure you buy quality products that will endure the inevitable wear and tear that comes with having children; you’ll drastically reduce the amount of waste you produce, and save yourself a lot of money in the long run!