We have all become comfortable recycling our cans, glass and paper thanks to local authority bin collection schemes, but there are many surprising items that can be recycled which most of us may not be aware of. The more we recycle, means the less pressure applied to landfill sites and the better it is for the environment. Recycling, even for unusual items, doesn’t take more effort once you know what can be recycled and how to do it. Here are just some of the surprising items that can be recycled.
More than 3.5 million eyeglasses are chucked in the bin every year in the UK, but in many countries, people still don’t have access to even the most basic of healthcare, so problems like eyesight remain uncorrected. There are UK organisations that will collect unwanted eyeglasses and reuse them to donate to those less fortunate. By donating your outdated glasses, you give the gift of sight to someone in need.
Aluminium is one of the easiest products to recycle but some £36 million worth are not recycled properly. Bicycles contribute to this. Bicycles can be outgrown or just not used anymore and many end up at the local tip if they aren’t passed onto family or friends. Bikes in decent working order can be given to specific charities who collect them. They can be cleaned or refurbished and then sent onto youth charities in the UK, or to overseas organisations, who redistribute them.
3. Compact Discs
With the massive growth in online music and the switch to listening via smartphones, CDs are losing popularity. Unwanted compact discs can be sold online, donated to charity stores or given away. Compact discs are not permitted items which can be placed into recycling bins, but there are companies who will accept them by mail to recycle them for you. They can be melted down to make materials used in the automotive and construction industries.
One of the surprising items you can recycle are mattresses. Large and bulky, some 20 million mattresses end up in UK landfills every year. Recently, private companies have started recycling mattresses by breaking them down into their various components and sending these components on so they can be recycled or reused.
Shoes can also be recycled and offer greatly recycling benefits. It is not only beneficial for the environment, by reducing the amount that ends in landfill, but also help the less fortunate people in need around the world. High street charity shops will accept shoes, as will the charities who leave collection bags in your letterbox. There are also local authority shoe recycling bins (usually at supermarkets) and various other schemes such as the Clarks/UNICEF collaboration. Some organisations even collect old shoes to make the rubber mulch that is used for the floor of children’s playgrounds.
Batteries are one of the most troublesome household items in landfill sites because not only does the metal not decompose, they are filled with toxic chemicals that leak into the soil. According to a report, in Britain, we recycle less than 50% of the batteries we use. Numerous battery recycling sites exist around the UK and are listed on the European Recycling Platform website.
7. Computers & Electronics
In the UK, a staggering 50+ million tons of e-waste (computers, phones, laptops, mp3 players etc) contributes to landfill volumes. In comparison, only 13% is recycled. Places to recycle e-waste can be found online, such as Music Magpie, which can pay you for your old and unwanted items.
8. Used Makeup Containers
The bulk of makeup packaging is plastic and much of it can be recycled. Some major cosmetic companies operate their own recycling scheme and even reward you with free gifts if you donate a certain number of items. You can recycle makeup containers, caps off makeup tubes & pots, and even brushes & sponges. Details can be found on many cosmetic brands’ websites.
So next time you go to throw something away, check to see if it can be recycled or if someone else can make use of it. Feel free to get in touch with Dial A Bin to find out more.
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