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Published on October 18th, 2010 | by Guest Contributor


Top 5 things you should Recycle in your Home

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The awareness of recycling and its importance to the environment is increasing. It is integral to many people’s daily lives now when compared to 5 years ago. The UK Government has now implemented green policies that request waste is split into the 3 main recycling elements; glass and aluminum, plastics and paper and cardboard.

Recycling is important for many reasons. One of the most important causes for concern is the preservation of natural resources for future generations. As the world’s population continues to soar we are running out of space for our waste. Our landfill sites are filling up fast, by the end of 2010, almost all landfills in the UK will be full. The facts are worrying but there is something everyone can do. It doesn’t sound like it could have a potential impact but if everyone recycled everyday materials and products it would have a vast impact on our environment.

Here are the top 5 products and materials found in your home you should recycle:

  • Batteries and Bulbs

Many of us know that batteries can be recycled, but did you also know bulbs – as in LED, Fluorescent, and Incandescent – can be recycled too? All light bulbs collected are sent to UK reprocessors who crush the bulbs, extract the chemicals for reuse and recycle the glass, plastic and metal. 98 per cent of the material collected can be recycled.

Batteries are more commonly recycled but in the UK over 600 million batteries are thrown away every year. While we recycle over 90 per cent of our lead-acid batteries – those used in vehicles – we only recycle 4 per cent of the non-lead-acid batteries that we waste in the UK.]

Fortunately, a new environmental policy has been passed that states that any shop that sells more than 32kg of batteries a year now has to provide battery recycling collection facilities in-store.  Visit www.recyclenow.com to find the nearest recycling facility.

  • Glass

Glass is commonly recycled and this is one of the reasons more and more products are products made from recycled glass are continuing to turn up in people’s homes. However, there are still more opportunities to recycle glass found in your home. Using present technology the UK glass industry has the capacity to recycle over one million tonnes of glass each year. Despite this, glass makes up around 7% of the average household dustbin and in 2001 over 2.5 million tonnes of this material was land-filled.

Did you know that the energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can power a computer for 25 minutes. Pretty amazing don’t you think? Find out where to recycle your bottles and glass products at www.recycle-more.co.uk.

  • Polystyrene

Polystyrene around the house can be found in a wide range of products, some which you may not even think contained it. Polystyrene products include disposable cutlery, plastic models, CD and DVD cases, and smoke detector housings and can all be re-used. Polystyrene exists in all of them, and can most of the time be reused.

Recycling polystyrene is harder than most other materials and due to this there are only a small number of consumer recycling points for polystyrene. It may be best to think how you could recycle polystyrene by re-using it in your home, for example within the garden for drainage.

Find out more from the expanded polystyrene packaging group, www.eps.co.uk site.

  • Plastics

On an annual basis, the combined total of the world’s consumption of plastic materials has risen drastically from circa 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to almost 100 million tonnes today. One of the main reasons for this is that not everybody is aware that all plastics can be recycled.  People often recycle the basic plastic products such as big bottles, yogurt cups or containers but there is so much more plastic around the home that can be recycled and re-used. Currently around one third of post-use plastics recovered from UK waste streams are those used in plastics packaging applications so make sure you recycle as much as possible, including the products that you would often throw away.

The vast majority of homes now have recycling bins so you can place your plastic products in there, alternatively you can deposit them at your local recycling bank.

  • Aerosol Cans

Did you know that 75% of local authorities will now accept aerosol cans via recycling banks or the new kerbside collection schemes. The main section of an aerosol is the can which is 60% tin-plated steel and the remaining 40% is made from aluminum – both of these metals are recyclable.

The negative consequences of aerosol ruining the ozone layer have been widely documented but they are also at the root of recycling issues too. This can perhaps be attributed to people not knowing how to recycle them. The main warnings are not to pierce, crush or flatten the aerosol before recycling and to remove any additional parts.

There are over 2000 recycling banks in the UK where you can recycle your used aerosols.  Visit the Recycle Now website to find the closest one to you.

There are of course other products that are commonly found in the home that can be recycled, even if it is not the normal recycling route. For example, many people look to recycle rugs and carpets but very few local councils accept them at their depots. Instead you should always look at other ways to recycle such as selling it, donating it to charity shops, or even giving it to local gardening groups as rugs make good mulch.  The Rug House give advice in cleaning up your rugs to re-use or to sell. They also have a range of rugs made from companies that adhere to child free labour laws and are committed to sustainable living.

Sam Murray


Sam Murray is working to generate awareness of recycling. He is committed to increasing the purchase of ethically produced products and sustaining a greener environment.


About the Author

Modern Hippie Mag is your online resource for hip, healthy, conscious living. All content submitted by our Guest Contributors must adhere to our Code of Coolness. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

One Response to Top 5 things you should Recycle in your Home

  1. Carla says:

    Would love to see a comparable write-up for the USA. Thanks for all your great info, Modern Hippie!!

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