Thursday, 21 June 2012

10 recycly and reusey things!

This week is Recycle Week 2012 in the UK, although obviously EVERY week should be Recycle Week!  So, as today's been a 'chores' day here, I've taken a few pictures on my journey around the jobs, to show you some of the recycly and reusey things we do in our house.

This year's Recycle Week highlights the plastic bottle.  5 million are used every day but only 50% make it into our recycling bins. According to Recycle Now, if they were all recycled it would be the equivalent of taking 73,000 cars off the road.  

1.   We have some stainless steel drinks bottles but plastic bottles do sneak into the house (all recycled here though, thanks to our card and plastics wheelie bin): 

At the Behaviour Management course I went on last week, the problem with chemicals (pthalates and bisphenol A) leaking out of plastic bottles was discussed.  Not only are these chemicals hormone disrupters (affecting children and adults), but it is believed they may affect behaviour too.  After reading Frugal Girl's recent post on plastic bottles I had resolved to cut down, but this encouraged me even more.

2.   Having emptied the dishwasher, it was time to wash the kitchen floor:

With Son's old pyjamas!  (No mop required - the kitchen floor's not very big).  In this house, old textiles get reused as rags, or get recycled in our black box.  

3.   The good stuff goes to charity or gets handed down to nieces and nephews:

(This pile is currently sitting by the front door on its way to the charity shop.  It appears that Daughter is through with stripes this summer!)  In one year, discarded clothing in the UK would fill the Wembley Stadium, so it's important to reuse it.

4.   Of course glass is easy to recycle, but I like to give jars a new lease of life through jam and marmalade making:

or as storage:

They're also good for storing leftovers in the fridge, and bitty bit children's toys.  Sometimes the empty jar storage situation gets a bit out-of-hand; when they start taking over an entire kitchen cupboard Husband gets ruthless and they end up in the recycling box.

5.   Our rubber band stash lives in the kitchen drawers, as they often come in handy in the kitchen.  I always pick up Royal Mail rubber bands when I see them, then wash and reuse them.  Britain's postmen are well known for wastefulness when it comes to rubber bands (this recent article in the Financial Times on the subject makes an interesting read), but round here the posties are improving, and I find less rubber bands strewn around the streets these days (or is it just because the beige ones that they have started using are harder to see than the cheery red ones?)

6.   In the dining room, I'm always happy to see my 'reused' green cushions, bought from our local secondhand shop for a pound each:

(Yes, that is a school sock under the chair (it's that discarded clothing issue again!).  I hadn't got as far as tidying UNDER the table at that point!)

7.   Then it was upstairs to make the beds:

(Cotton double bedding, £4.95 from a Sue Ryder charity shop.  Also, note Everyday Life On A Shoestring's minimalist approach to ironing - eco-friendly and time-saving at the same time!)

8.   My small and not very valuable jewellery collection lives in the bedroom too; I always end up with odd earrings who've lost their partners, and was pleased to find a way of recycling them recently, via Traidcraft.  The unwanted jewellery will get reused in projects overseas:

9.   The bathroom's another good place to cut down on plastic bottle usage.  I discovered this way of using up soap ends recently, which reuses the bag from some tangerines as well.  Double whammy!

10.   This afternoon I was going to go shopping (with my reusable shopping bag of course), but as it's officially midsummer in the UK, it's pouring with rain, so maybe I'll go tomorrow...


  1. We have one can, once a month garbage collection. And now I'm trying to see if we can reduce even that, and without just filling the recylcing bin, as it uses extra energy to turn recyclables into something useful again. I miss the days when milk and soda came in refillable glass bottles/jugs.
    With excess glass jars, they also make nice containers for giftable cookie mixes and soup mixes, where the layers of ingredients can be seen through the glass. These gifts are quite pretty and always appreciated.

  2. We've recently changed to once every two weeks for rubbish collection, with more extensive recycling; if not for the excessive food packaging and non-recyclable plastics, our bin would be virtually empty...I like your upcycling glass jar idea! I'll have to check out your site again as I think you put some pics up of this didn't you?