There are lots of innovative things you can do to help reduce your rubbish - check out some of the tips below to get started.
Making use of your mountain of plastic bags:
- Use them as bin liners.
- Place them in the bottom of plant pots and hanging baskets - they act as great drainage systems.
- Children can use them for carrying PE gear to school.
- Scrunch them up to surround items when you're packaging as an alternative to bubble wrap.
- Use them in the garden to hold your grass cuttings and hedge trimmings before transfer to a compost bin.
- Use them when packing for a vacation to keep dirty/wet clothes and shoes away from dry clothing.
- Use them as 'doggy doo bags' when out walking your dog!
- Some supermarkets recycle plastic bags, so you can return plastic bags to them.
Ideas for recycling paper:
- After children's drawings and paintings have been displayed for a while they can be used to wrap presents - this also makes the present special.
Discarded A4-sized paper can be cut and stapled together to make notepads.
- Used and old envelopes can also be used for scribbling down shopping lists, to-do lists, and notes. Resealable envelopes can be reused many times.
- Old rolls of wallpaper can be used for childrens' drawings.
- Junk mail can be used as scrap paper, or as bedding for pets.
- Cardboard cartons can be used to collect paper for recycling, instead of plastic bags (even breakfast cereal cartons are good).
- SPCA and pet shops appreciate old newspapers.
- Toilet roll and paper towel centers can be recycled - they're made of cardboard.
- To fill in a rainy day get a paper recycling kit and get the kids to rip up old used paper to make recycled paper, it can be great fun.
- Old magazines are appreciated by: Doctors, dentists, Motels, and Friends
Ideas for recycling household waste in the garden:
- Aluminium trays from pies and cakes make ideal 'drip saucers' to put under pot plants.
- Old tires can be used outside for plant pots - especially good for plants that like warm soils as they trap the heat.
The following waste items can be modified and used for planting seedlings:
- Egg cartons
- Tetra-pak cartons
- Plastic bottles
- Plastic containers for cherry tomatoes
- Old boots and shoes
- Plastic containers for takeaways
- The cardboard centres from toilet rolls
- Plastic icecream containers.
- Lawn clippings can be used to cover weeds and keep from growing in the garden through winter.
- Broken crockery can be used as drainage at the bottom of pot plants.
- Tin cans can be used as water reservoirs for new plants and trees. Tape a piece of hose pipe in a can and fill the can with scoria or pumice. Then, when you plant a new tree or plant, bury the can below the root level and leave enough hose poking out of the ground. You can water the plant in summer by pouring the water into hose pipe. If the hose is short enough it can be mowed over on a lawn and does not look obtrusive.
- Pot plant holders. Decorate the outside of the can to your liking, put some soil in it and plant away. (Make sure you put some drainage holes in the bottom of the tin before you start potting the plants.)
- Old newspapers (including those gathered from your friends) can be used to mulch and weed control the garden. Wet newspaper and place thickly on the garden. Cover with bark or stones.
- Plastic milk bottles can be used to hold snail bait and are pet proof.
- Old stockings can be used to tie up plants in the garden.
- Plastic icecream containers can be cut into strips for seed labels.
Ideas for recycling organic/garden waste:
- Local pig farmers often appreciate any kitchen scraps that you can offer them. If you know of any in your area, get in touch with them and find out if they are interested in your kitchen scraps.
- If you've done any trimming of trees and hedges, contact the local Zoo to see if they can use these for their animals, either as food or environment improvement.
- Avoid using kitchen waste disposers and compost food scraps instead. This reduces the load on sewage treatment plants and local government can concentrate on the treatment of real sewage.
- If you need leaf mulch for your garden approach a local school and ask what they do with the leaf litter. Some schools throw theirs away.
Ideas for recycling other items:
- Old or broken household goods such as toasters, transistor radios can be used by others for parts. Sell them cheaply at a garage sale.
- Carry a supermarket bag with you when you go walking so that you can pick up glass, litter or other plastic bags.
Ice cream containers can be reused around the home in a number of ways:
- Storing food in the freezer
- As a container for toys, crayons, clothes pegs
- Meat trays, yoghurt containers, egg cartons, and film canisters can be kept and used by the kids to 'create stuff'. This is a great way to keep the kids amused and even make gifts for family and friends. An upside down bottle with small holes in the top can be used to provide water for your pets while you are on holiday.
- Old furniture, clothes, kitchen gear, and bedding are always wanted by organisations like the Salvation Army.
General tips for recycling and avoiding rubbish: