|Recycling Image: Shutterstock|
I'm so glad that my children are growing up in an age when they don't know any different than recycling everything they can, nowadays it is about 70% of what we no longer want that can be recycled or reused. How different life was when I was small and it all just went into tons of black sacks and then the bin-men came and collected it from your back garden and left you more sacks too! We have to be a bit more proactive nowadays sorting and taking the recycling out but the long term benefits to our small island and ultimately the whole world will be worth it.
In case recycling doesn't float your boat and you are not bought into it as yet, let me share with you some tips to make it easier and more manageable -
1. Get all the family involved. For a while I bored myself silly telling the kids to wash their yogurt cartons or squash the tin cans but now it is just second nature for them to do it and put it in the recycling rather than leaving it on the side for me. It is also the children's job to take the recycling to our designated point and to sort it into the right areas; it is a nice easy way for them to earn some tech time.
2. Educate yourself. You'd think that recycling across the UK would be pretty universal wouldn't you? But sadly not, there doesn't appear to be any joined up thinking, So some councils will take tetra packs, others plastic carrier bags, some cooked food waste. So as soon as you move to a new area check out the councils website and ensure you know what to do and when to do it and if they don't have kerbside collections for all the things you want, don't throw in the towel, see if there is a collection point you pass on the way to work/ school etc and could easily fit that drop off into your life.
3. Use smart storage in small areas. We moved to East Sussex about three and a half years ago and moving into a private community we were shocked at how little was recycled on site and I insisted on driving all our recycling to a local collection point as I couldn't bear the thought of it going to landfill. The trouble came that we don't have any outdoor space and as we live five miles from the nearest recycling area it needed to be a worthwhile trip and thus I had to store up the recycling indoors meaning I had to be smart with my storage.
You need to make your recycling as small as possible. Use your muscles to squeeze out all the air in a milk bottle and screw the lid back on, crush all cans (you can buyer a crusher for around £8), pop open the ends of tetra packs and close them down, keep paper recycling tidy. All these small measures make a difference and just look at the kind of gorgeous space-saving drawers designs you can get.
Have you heard of fruiet before? This is what happens when a well-intentioned German makes the signs. Just one of the little idiosyncrasies of living in an international community. I'm sure in the future it will all get polished and professional as everything is going that way and when that time comes we could source our signs from somewhere established and professional like Stock Signs.
5. Set yourself a recycling challenge. Why not join in with a national initiative like Zero Waste Week or take the Rubbish Diet Challenge. You'll get lots of support and amazing ideas of how you can recycle practically everything you need to get rid of.
6. Clear out regularly. Recycling doesn't just mean your food disposables, it is so much more than that. Make sure that at least once a month you look over each room in the house (it can literally be just 5 or 10 minutes) and remove anything that you no longer use. Sell expensive items on ebay or Facebook groups and give unwanted clothes, books, CD's etc to the local charity shop. Old clothes can even go to the recycling bins to be sold as rags.
7. Recycle for Charity. There are so many small things you can do that will help some of your favourite charities. Did you have any idea that you can send old stamps to the RSPB for the Save the Albatross appeal? Of course old toner cartridges and mobile phones can be accepted by many charities too, just have a google, loads come up.
8. Pass on DIY materials. Once you complete your DIY project, give away any leftover materials. It is very tempting to leave things in the shed but realistically who ever goes back to that half -used tin of paint? Many local councils have community repaint schemes or wood reclamation yards
I hope you find these tips useful. Please do leave any additional tips in the comments.
Many thanks, Mich x