Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Recycling Nirvana?

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.
Related Links
>> 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

1 comment:

  1. If you wash the netting that comes around fruit, you can use it to hold home made fat balls for the birds.
    Home made fat balls can contain besides the usual suet and seeds,any out of date dry fruit and nuts, bits of dried out cheese ( mold removed) and broken biscuits (not chocolate)leftover cake, bread, and peanut butter. The birds will love you! Save an ice cream tub and put it in the freezer . Then add things as they become available.When it's full, it's time to make seed balls .I melt the lard, put in the leftovers, then top up with bird seed. Once it's cooled down enough to handle, I roll balls and pop the fruit nets around them, Empty coconut shells are great for filling too, as are yogurt pots. We even do some in plastic jar lids or shallow containers and leave on tree stumps for ground feeders. A friend of mine saves the square meet trays she gets to use as a mould for the square seed cakes that go in the square mesh containers sold all over the place. She lines them with cling film,then when they have set she folds film around each one and stacks them up to use later!
    On to plastic punnets: save those for starting off plants for the garden. The ones with holes in the bottom get filled with soil, the flat ones go underneath to collect the run off water or for watering from the base of the plant. While you're at it, don't buy peat pots,recycle all those toilet and and kitchen paper rolls, cut 4 slits in the bottom to fold like a box lid, fill, plant and when they're ready, plonk the whole thing in the ground! Use a punnet to hold them upright and to water from the base. Hey, I should start a blog!