9 Easy Ways to Recycle At Home

In the goal to become more eco-friendly, recycling can be confusing and intimidating but it doesn’t need to be. Recycling can be one of the easiest ways to do your bit for the planet and doesn’t have to just involve throwing out trash in a particular way. There are plenty of recycling ideas you can do at home.  

 Read on to find out some tips to recycle the best ways possible as well as learn about some waste recycling ideas you can do at home!


What materials can be recycled

There’s a whole range of household items that can be easily recycled. The following list is by no means exhaustive though and there are plenty of other items around your home that can be recycled either through a recycling centre or your local recycling scheme.

  • Glass bottles 
  •  Plastic bottles Paper rolls (from kitchen towel and toilet paper) 
  •  Stale bread 
  •  Clothes 
  •  Books 
  •  Vegetable peelings 
  •  Plastic Pots 
  •  Corks 
  •  Dryer sheets 
  •  Coffee grounds 
  •  Egg cartons 
  •  Shoe boxes 
  •  Old and damaged tiles 
  •  Bottle caps 
  •  Mailing tubes 
  •  CDs and DVDs 
  •  Light bulbs 
  •  Christmas trees 
  •  Carpets


Tips for recycling

1. Understand your local recycling system

The first step to recycling successfully is to make sure you’re doing it right. Every area and district is different for what they can and can’t recycle to make sure you check the guidelines for your local recycling scheme to make sure your waste is going to the correct place.

2. Don’t guess what materials can be recycled

If you’re unsure whether an item or material can be recycled, don’t just guess and throw it in anyway. Putting the wrong items in the recycling bin can spoil an entire batch which then ends up in landfills anyway making all of your efforts a waste, not to mention your tax dollars. Double-check and if you’re still not sure, throw it in with the regular trash.


3. Rinse your containers

Getting as much food off of any containers makes them much easier to recycle - it to helps to avoid contamination which can spoil a whole collection of recycling and send it all to landfill.

4. Keep lids attached to bottles and jars

You should keep lids attached to jars and bottles even if they’re made from different materials. Because the lids are small and light, they can end up falling into the contaminated materials while being sorted so if you leave them on, they can be manually removed by the facility to be recycled separately. Doing this can also prevent small items from getting stuck inside the jars.

5. Flatten your cartons

The term ‘flatten’ often appears on recycling labels on plastic bottles and drinks cartons. By squashing the packaging flat you’ll have more space in your recycling bin, and it makes transporting recycling much more efficient, which is another win for the environment!

6. Beware of black plastic

Even if your local authority says it collects plastic waste, it’s unlikely that includes black plastic. These trays, often used for microwavable meals, are usually coloured with carbon black, which makes them undetectable by recycling facility sorting machines so they’re just sent to landfills or incinerated. Don’t put them in your recycling - better yet, avoid purchasing them in the first place if possible.

7. Reuse where you can

If you’re trying to minimize the amount of waste you produce, reusing items is one of the best ways to make those items more eco-friendly. You can reuse glass jars for a number of different things so are well worth keeping for future cooking projects, art sessions, and storage needs.


Upcycling

Some great creative recycling ideas for home include upcycling. Upcycling is a way of creatively recycling items and turning items that would otherwise be unused into functional and useful things.  


There are a whole host of different upcycling projects you can do around your home. Turn old bottles and jars into pretty lanterns by filling them with inexpensive string lights, use old egg boxes as seed trays, or make hand puppets from old, clean socks, among many other things. The possibilities are endless so take a look around online for some inspiration.

Downcycling

On the opposite side of the coin, downcycling can be just as useful as upcycling. It involves stripping down items to component parts, usually with less of an inherent value than the original item.

Downcycling usually happens on an industrial scale - we see it with cars being stripped for parts all the time - but anyone looking to make creative things from waste material at home will find examples of downcycling that work on a smaller scale too. You can make personal projects out of all kinds of different materials such as using old clothes as dusters or linings for pet beds,  turning old CDs and DVDs into drinks coasters, or cutting up old plastic bottles to create mobiles with. 

We hope this has helped to inspire you to look into more ways to recycle your waste at home. As always, Greens Steel is here to help cheer you on. Replace those single-use plastic bottles with areusable stainless steel water bottle and learn more about the importance of using less plastic with our blog “How to reduce plastic pollution with stainless steel”.