How to Up-cycle, Recycle and Re-home Anything!

From 17 to 23 June, National Recycling Week aims to raise awareness of the benefits of recycling and why it’s important for the future of our planet.

Up-cycling

Before you bin it, think! I never need to buy containers to keep things like stationary, tools or make-up in as I just up-cycle used containers. Just today I got 4 new food packaging sealers (a clip which came off a new pair of shoes and wire twist ties from electrical packaging) and made no snag hair bobbles from cutting old black tights into rings. When I wanted a pair of chunky black ankle boots that would actually last more than a year, I bought some pre-owned (and well looked after) from the Army & Navy store and customised them with studs.

I use fancy packaging from presents on birthdays & christmas to store stuff in and salvage ribbons/bows/shiny card and big scraps of wrapping paper and store them in a big gift bag to re-use. Me and The Bloke have got into the habit of making our own simple christmas & birthday cards for each other (out of scrap card etc.) which is really funny and sweet!

I get take-away food way too often and I end up with lots of big clean white sheets of paper in my recycling, so layer them up cut them into smaller squares, place them in a silver upcycled tray and use for scrap paper instead of going through jotter pads way too quickly.

I have a cute little pot (used to be a pot of face cream) full of old jewellery parts which really come in really handy when my costume jewellery breaks, or when I want to customise it a bit.

There’s just so much inspiration on Pinterest as well!

Recycling General Household Waste

Most governments provide people with recycling bins but here are some tips to get into the habit.

I suggest setting up two stacker boxes in your kitchen one for glass, can’s and plastic (MCC only recycle the kind of plastic used for bottles not food containers) and one on top for paper. It’s so important that you don’t chuck the plastic bags you may have kept your recycling in or bits of plastic still attached to any cardboard packaging into the big recycling bins and that the bin lid closes properly or they won’t be emptied by the bin men. Once you get into the hang of it, you don’t even think about it.

Some councils recycle food waste, some don’t. Some people don’t like the idea of keeping the big food waste bins in their kitchen. I have a little grey bin and use small bin linners that I put all of my non-cooked food waste in and empty (really) regularly into a big compost bin outside. I’m lucky I know three people with an allotment who are grateful for the rich compost every so often. I’m sure people or gardeners near you would feel the same way. I passed on an old pair of walking boots to one friend who I knew would wear them on her allotment and got some leaks in return!

Not everyone is so lucky to have their own patch but even if it’s just a balcony you can make wall planters or grow herbs on your window ledge.

Most big super markets(Co-op included) will have some where to recycle your batteries responsibly. Batteries should never be included in your normal house waste.

The Plastic Is Rubbish blog is a great resource with lots of everyday tips and advice.

Clothing & Make-up

Donating to your local charity shop is of course a good idea, however, charity shops do operate as a business and after wages, running costs and rent, often only a small portion is donated to the charity it’s self. Of course this is only one side of a charity shop – they are also a fantastic way of recycling your clothes and giving someone else a chance of enjoying an item you don’t want anymore.

About six months ago I discovered a worldwide charity called Dress For Success and I was delighted learn that a branch had been founded in Manchester in 2013 by Anna-Louise Gilhooley. They have a team of volunteers that are dedicated to helping clients with interview techniques and providing them with entire outfits, which results in them looking professional and feeling a lot more confidence! They rely totally on financial contributions, volunteers time and clothing donations from individuals, organisations and retailers to give disadvantaged women a chance.

Another great way to know that your unwanted clothes, unopened or hardly used makeup and beauty products will be appreciated is to donate them to your local women’s shelter. Many women there will have had to flea abusive partners with very little or no time to pack anything. Basic essentials like moisturiser, cleanser, toothpaste and deodorant are always welcome. Unopened make-up like mascara and eyeliner or hardly used make-up like foundation, blusher and nail varnish can bring a welcome fun distraction and make women feel more like themselves again. Note: Nail varnish can’t be sent through the post as it is considered to be a toxic substance.

Electrical Waste

E-waste is extremely toxic to humans and the environment contaminating soil, air and sea
Global e-waste is set to reach 65.4 million tons by 2017
That’s enough to fill a line of 40 ton Lorries all the way from the UK to Australia and back!

The UK produces over a million tons of electronic waste every year
That’s the equivalent weight of 2400 jumbo jets!
All our e-waste goes to landfill – often in poor developing countries.

Charity shops often welcome donations of working, modern electricals.

There’s also RecycleYourHeadphones.com, where you can post your headphones to a UK address to be responsibly recycled. Headphones will be recycled by trustworthy and accredited recycling partners and won’t be contributing to the contamination of our planet.

Music lovers can also opt to receive 45% off a new pair of ColourYourWorld by Urbanz headphones priced £15 or more. And 10% of all sales will be donated to http://www.greenpeace.org as they work towards decreasing the devastating e-waste problem which is harmful to our health and to our environment.

Pass it on!

Why chuck stuff in the skip when you can sell it in a free newspaper like The Loot, or on ebay. You could advertise it on an online notice board like Gumtree or swap it for something you do want on a website like Swapz or Swapcycle. Obviously you should always thoroughly check out the persons seller rating on ebay and always ask for pictures and read the description of the item carefully. For instance, you don’t want to end up paying a load of money for an Xbox box. Literally just the cardboard box! If the item is to be picked up or dropped off, make sure you arrange a time thats convenient for someone else to be with you.

I hope that’s given you some helpful tips and ideas!

5 thoughts on “How to Up-cycle, Recycle and Re-home Anything!

  1. Pingback: Favourite Posts of 2014 | Manchester Flick Chick

  2. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Very useful information particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot.

    I was looking for this particular info for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

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