We often have heated debates at MIAMI Towers about how far we should take our efforts at sustainable living, as some of us only merit a "Could try harder" on our school report. On the other hand there's Anne, who is a black-belt Ninja recycler, so we decided to get her take on 'Recycling Nirvana' so the rest of us will be clear about where we are falling short!:-
Maybe it’s just me, but when you have a jolly good clear out – dispose of those old toys the kids don’t need any more, tear a hole in the garage clutter, find out what lurks at the back of the spare bedroom wordrobe... don’t you feel an enormous sense of release?
I find it feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Cleaning may be therapy but a good clear out is Viagra for the soul.
But, do we deserve to feel that good?
Well the answer is ‘yes’, as long as we don’t approach our recycling willy-nilly:
• We’ve taken the clothes and bric a brac to the charity shop (but kept back several items to be made over and given a new lease of life).
• We've de-nailed some of the best wood from the old garden shed and taken it down to the wood recycling centre (assuming we can't find another use for it at home).
• Our cardboard is flattened and our glass bottles colour-sorted and rinsed (in dirty dishwater).
• We look at everything we might recycle and ask the question – ‘Yes, but is there something better I can do with this?’
Take the picture at the top of the page which shows a fence made from old skis. I find that truly inspiring!
We'll all get a lot better at reducing our recycling if we try to do the following:
• Where we can, we buy loose (not pre-packaged) fruit and veg and use old paper bags we take to the supermarket ourselves, putting them of course into our own carrier bags and not the store's plastic ones.
• The garage still has one or two boxes full of ‘stuff’ but we know what’s there (it’s labelled) and we’ve kept it because we believe we will eventually find a really worthwhile use for it.
• And our recycling bins are ever so tidy. And there’s a lot less recycling in them.
Top tip: Get together with other families in your street and start buying in bulk and then decanting things like flour and oil into your own re-useable containers).
We’ve started a new recycling section in our Make it and Mend it store:
The aim is to group together things that help you get better at recycling, such as containers. Plus some inspiration – including a picture of that ski fence, because I couldn’t resist it.
And we’ve included a great book - Eco Books: Inventive Projects from the Recycling Bin.
>> Visit the new recycling centre in our store
Recycling tip of the week
Spend a little longer on the recycling process. Don’t sort it in a half hour frenzy. Take a little time to consider what you should hold on to and make sure you follow your recycling collectors advice on sortingand cleaning.
>> When giving to charity is not really giving
>> A new lexicon for recycling
>> 229,389 tonnes of recycling ends up in landfill
>> Taking inspiration from the 3rd World
>> Our website tips on sorting your recycling