Many of us are guilty of throwing things away with our general rubbish without checking first to see if there is a more eco-efficient process we can stick to. When people think of recycling, it is often we just think of plastic, paper and glass. However, there are unknowingly many more household and office items that can be reused or recycled. These can range from old video tapes to fluorescent bulbs, so here are some facts and tips to make sure you can help the environment whilst disposing your waste.
Battery waste is generated at the rate of 20,000 to 30,000 tons per annum while the amount recycled is only around 1,000 tons.
This means that a lot of battery waste is currently occupying landfill space somewhere on the planet or being burnt away and contributing to air pollution. So, if you must use batteries, be sure to recycle them after you are done with them.
Recycle Tip: Some councils collect batteries as part of your household collection service, but in most areas you will need to take them to a recycling centre or a collection point in a supermarket.
If your CD’s/Disks are in good condition, perhaps think about passing them down to someone you know, or even a charity shop, so they can re-use them.
Although, if your CD’s and Disks are not efficient for re-use, both the disks and the plastic cases from disks are 100% recyclable. There are lots of websites where you can turn your old and unwanted CDs, DVDs and Games into cash with a free and simple process.
Unfortunately, there isn’t anywhere for the general public to physically take their CDs and Disks for recycling. And I'm afraid the current advice is that domestic quantities of old disks will not be recycled by most local council household recycling centres, and should be put into your household waste for disposal.
Did you know, currently over 700,000 tonnes of recyclable textiles are landfilled in the UK each year, at least 50% of these could be recycled.
Most items of clothing that aren’t suitable to be passed down to someone else can be recycled and made into new items, so avoid throwing them away with your general waste! You can look out for charity bags for clothes that are often left outside your house where you simply fill the bag with your old clothes ready for them to collect.
Another option is to look out for clothing banks that are located in supermarkets and local car parks – all you need to do is check if they take items for recycling and then empty your clothes into the bank. It’s as easy as that!
Compact fluorescent bulbs:
Energy efficient light bulbs save you money and help the environment by using less electricity. At the same time you are also reducing the quantity of waste, because they don't need to be replaced as often as ordinary bulbs. Although if you do come across a time where you need to get rid of a bulb, make sure you dispose of it in the right way. Low energy light bulbs can be recycled at most larger recycling centres and collection points are also available in some stores.
Businesses or organisations that use fluorescent tubes should contact their local authority for advice on how to dispose of them safely. Under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations fluorescent lamps are covered by “producer responsibility” and you can ask your supplier to arrange for recycling of old lamps.
Important: Please don't be tempted to recycle your old incandescent light bulbs with your glass bottles and jars. They are made from a different type of glass and also contain metal parts.
Computers and electronics:
It has recently been reported that the soaring international demand for electric and electronic products is fuelling a global rise in e-waste, which is set to reach 65.4 million tons annually by 2017.
Little do people know, that many of the materials used in making these products can be recovered and reused, including plastics, glass and metal.
So, when your electronic devices do sadly come to the end of their lives, what do you do with them? Quite simply, you can dispose of computer waste by returning the product to the manufacturer, taking the item to a professional waste disposal facility or donating the goods to a non-profit organisation.
With the great volume of printing we undertake, a huge number of ink and toner cartridges are consumed. It’s estimated that 65 million are sold in the UK every year and that 85% of them are simply discarded or sent to landfill, meaning ink & toner cartridge recycling clearly still has some way to go.
If your office has a mounting pile of ink cartridges and you don’t know what to do with them, don’t worry! There are a wide number of companies that will collect empty inkjet and toner cartridges for you – simply search for them online. Alternatively, most council recycling centres have facilities for collecting empty cartridges.