We all want to teach our children good habits from an early age, whether it’s good health and nutrition, stranger danger, hygiene, respect to their elders, and even respect for the planet. The importance of recycling is something that should be reinforced with children from as soon as they’re old enough to understand the concept, although there can be a small hurdle when you try to explain that recycled toilet paper is in fact made from other types of recycled paper, and isn’t actually recycled from used toilet paper. This is something we all need to be mindful of, since a whopping 270,000 trees are cut down each day- solely to make toilet paper. We all know that we can recycle paper, plastic and glass, but what about some of the lesser known things that can and should be recycled?
Outside the Home
While you shouldn’t include garden waste with your traditional recycling, many recycling centers will actually take the waste off your hands and turn it into mulch. This is a far better option than allowing it to sit in a pile and rot, but before you load it into the car, you might want to consider making your own compost pile. If you’re undertaking renovations on your home, remember that bricks and building timbers generally can’t be recycled, but you should try to contact a used building supplies wholesaler who can take it off your hands- they might even pay you if the materials are of sufficient quality. If you’re a smoker, keep some of your cigarette ash to scatter in the garden- the ash aerates the soil, and the nicotine acts as a natural pesticide; although cigarettes with less additives are more effective for this purpose, since they contain less chemicals.
Kitchen and Bathroom
The vast majority of containers for food, cleaning and hygiene products can be recycled, although it’s extremely helpful if you were able to rinse these containers before sending them to be recycled. When recycling pressurized cans such as deodorant and hairspray, ensure that the can is totally empty. You’ll also need to snap off the plastic caps and nozzles and discard them, since they can’t be recycled with the rest of the product. There’s one exception to the recycling rule, which is relevant if you buy yoghurt in small individual pots. Yoghurt pots are made from polystyrene, and many recycling centers are not equipped to handle this material, so sadly, your yoghurt pots need to be thrown away.
It used to be the case that when a TV or washing machine would fail, and the technician would sadly shake his head when you asked if there was anything that could be done- you would load it into the car and head to the landfill center to say goodbye. This was a rather environmentally unfriendly method of disposal, and now the emphasis is on the recycling of electrical devices; where a specialist recycling centre will dismantle the device and recycle or safely dispose of the individual components- this is particularly important in the case of TV’s, phones and computers, which can contain potentially hazardous materials.
It’s amazing the things that can be recycled. There’s a company that will happily take your old wine corks and turn them into shoe soles, and there’s another group that recycles old bras for disadvantaged women both at home and in other countries. Once you learn about how the vast majority of things in your home can be given a second life, you might feel guilty about how much you’ve thrown away… But don’t worry- you don’t really have to recycle your toilet paper.
This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and an occasional guest-blogger. When she is not working she likes to travel and do yoga. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment.
Image provided by Shutterstock Photographer GTS. Used with permission from the author.