If you have reduced where you can, reused what you can and recycled whatever’s left over then the only logical course when purchasing something new is to buy a product made from recycled material.
Buying recycled products is an individual action that can make a real difference. Retailers respond to consumer pressure, so if there is a demand for recycled products, then the demand for waste materials will be boosted.
Buying recycled products:
- saves raw materials
- reduces transportation costs and the cost of imports to the UK economy
- is crucial in supporting and helping to develop recycling as a part of our lives
A huge variety of materials such as glass, metal, plastics, and paper can be separated out processed and made into new, greener every day items. However so much that could be made out of recycled materials is not and this is where EcoForce come in.
EcoForce is committed to delivering greener everyday products that work.
Although the UK lags behind some of its European and American couterparts when it comes to recycling we are heading in the right direction. Most things can be recycled even though it may not be obvious at frst where to look.
Here some ideas and links to companies and organisations that can help with the following and more:
The world's annual consumption of plastic materials, according to Waste Online, has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today, which means that we use 20 times as much plastic today than we did 50 years ago.
Plastic recycling in the UK lags a long way behind recycling of paper, glass and metal. The main reason for this is because comparatively few local councils include plastics in their kerbside collections; many provide plastic recycling collection facilities in their recycling collection centres, but inevitably this requires a greater commitment from the recycler, as they have to take it there themselves and in many instances they may only accept one type of plastic, such as bottles.
The problem is of course money and resource. Plastics need to be sorted into their different types before they can be recycled, and this needs to be done by hand. It is estimated that only 7% of plastic waste is recycled at present. So what can we do to reduce the 93% of plastic that currently goes to landfill?
Things are changing slowly, they might change a good deal faster if every one of us lobbied our local council. However this is not how most of us work.
So reuse what plastic you can, take bottles to the dump and bags to Sainsbury or Tesco, try to buy goods with easily recyclable packaging and if you can talk to your council do so.
Most of us have a number of books hanging around that we aren’t going to look at again. The obvious place to donate your books is your local charity shop. However there are some other options.
Books that are in very good condition may be accepted by your local library, either to be included in the lending collection or added to the ex-stock items for sale - they will then raise money for the library to buy new items. Also some libraries are also interested in old magazines too.
Bookcrossing is a very positive practice defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. Register with the Bookcrossing website and you are given a unique ID number. Then just label the book and release it for someone else to read
Another place that you can advertise your books in the UK is Green Metropolis. Again you can advertise for free, books cost a flat rate of £3.75 and you get £3.00 for each book that you sell. Plus 5p for every book sold to the 'Tree For All' campaign run by the Woodland Trust.
If you have bras that you don't wear any more, you can donate them to Breasttalk who are running a Bra Appeal, donating bras to charities in the UK and overseas.
They will distribute them to various charities, and any useable bras that are donated will go to help homeless and under privileged women in the UK and overseas.
They can also make use of any damaged bras that you have. These are recycled into quilts which are donated to homeless charities and are also used by the emergency services to keep victims or people suffering shock warm.
Send your donated bras to:
BreastTalk.co.uk — Bra Appeal
P.O. Box 71
For more information and to find out which charities are being helped visit www.breasttalk.co.uk
With the increased frequency that we receive free CD’s and DVD’s with our magazines and newspapers the volume of these going straight to the dump is growing all the time.
In practice your own good quality CD’s and DVD’s can probably be sold on ebay or Amazon or given to charity shops For the freebies try:
The Laundry is a london based recycler who will recycle CDs if you send or deliver them.
London Recycling again you have to get the CDs to them at your own expense.
Polymer Recycling based in Wirrel, they will accept CDs & DVDs for recycling if you send them.
Alternatively use old CD’s and DVD’s for something else: If you have a vegetable patch hang them up in as the light reflections frighten off birds. Or make a point of using them for coasters around the house.
If you have any other novel suggestions then let us know and we’ll add them to the list.
Most organisations and recycling companies will only accept donations of a large number of PCs, so here are places that members of the public can donate single items.
PC Recycler is based in Blackpool, Lancashire and will collect 20 items or more free of charge from anywhere in mainland UK (subject to terms and conditions). Single items can be donated but must be delivered to them. The computors are donated to community projects in Blackpool and the North West.
Donate A PC. This is a free 'matchmaking' service for individuals and organisations to donate un-needed hardware (computers, printers etc) to UK charities, not-for-profit organisations and educational establishments. Post your item on the website and wait for a worthy cause to get in touch.
Computer Aid International accept computers from both businesses and individuals and refurbish them to send to schools and other organisations in developing countries. Computers can be donated from anywhere in the country howver you will need to pay the delivery cost or deliver in person to their offices in London.
Dell operate a recycling or donation programme for the benefit of disabled and economically-disadvantaged children and adults across the UK if you have a Dell system to donate or have just bought a Dell system.
UK IT Recycling Ltd will accept home PCs if you can deliver it yourself. They have collection centres all over the UK.
According to WRAP, 6.7 million tonnes of wasted food goes to landfill in the UK every year, at a cost of over £8 billion.
The most important way to reduce this figure is by reducing the amount of waste food each of us produces.
Furthermore much of the food waste that currently goes to landfill can be composted.
A few councils are beginning to collect food scraps as part of their household recycling collections. If your council does this they will provide you with a kitchen caddy to save your scraps in. Some councils may also accept food waste in their recycling sites.
If your local council do not collect food scraps you can compost all your own food waste using a Bokashi Bin. - fish, meat, bones and dairy. You simply put your food in the bin and add Bokashi bran, which contains Effective Microrganisms to break down the food. Once it is broken down (in about two weeks) it can be used as a soil improver or added to a compost heap to accelerate composting.
If your furniture is in good condition there are lots of things you can do with it:
- Ask around your family, friends, workmates and neighbours and see if there is anyone who can make good use of it.
- Sell it. You can advertise it on eBay, advertise in the local newspaper, which is often free if the item is below a certain value and can be done via the internet.
- Donate it to a local charity shop.
- Give it away via a recycling community such as Freecycle.
- Donate it to the Furniture Reuse Network. FRN is national co-ordinating body for 400 furniture and appliance re-use and recycling organisations in the UK, who give furniture to families on low incomes. You can find your nearest furniture reuse organisation on their website.
If your item of furniture is truly beyond repair, if it is made of wood it can be recycled. Most local councils accept wood for recycling at some of their recycling sites, usually the larger ones. Items made of leather or synthetic materials cannot be recycled.
Also if possible make your future furniture purchases as environmentally friendly as possible:
- Buy secondhand items.
- Buy items made from sustainable sources
- Make sure that any new items of wooden furniture bear the Forest Stewardship Council.
- Look for items made from reclaimed wood.
- Buy good quality items that will last a long time.
- Choose chairs and sofas with covers that can be easily replaced, so that when you want to change your decor you can just buy new covers rather than having to buy a whole new sofa.
- Paint furniture that you are bored with rather than replacing it.
- Dining chairs can be re-covered easily with fabric and a staple gun.
There are many companies which will help you to recycle your mobile phone – here are just a few:
Fonebak co-ordinates the collection of mobile phones on behalf of many charities and the mobile phone retailers that run collections for mobile phones. The website gives lists of participating retailers and charities where you can donate your phone as well as lots more information about mobile phone recycling.
envirofone.com allow individuals to trade in their old mobile phones. You can receive either cash or a credit with Argos.
Recycle Your Mobile work with a number of Charities and Organisations and all donated recyclable phones are thoroughly tested / refurbished and sold onto developing countries.
The Mobile Phone Recycling Company is aimed at the business sector, as this company requires you to have at least 15 phones to recycle.
Fonesforsafety is a mobile phone recycling scheme which turns used mobile phones into reconfigured “999 only” phone alarms for victims of domestic violence.
Interchange focus on corporate mobile phone recycling
Earth Mobile specialize in the collection of unwanted mobile phones for corporate clients, either collecting staff personal handsets in support of charity funding or corporate programme paying market prices.
In the loft or garage, many of us find we have half a pot of paint that we no longer need.
If you want to donate your paint to a good cause, Community RePaint collects reusable domestic paint in reasonable condition for redistribution to community and voluntary groups, charities and individuals in social need. Visit their website to find the nearest collection point to you.
Paint, especially older paints, can contain lots of nasty chemicals. Never pour any type of paint away down a drain. Many local council recycling centres will accept small quantities of paint for disposal.
Clean empty paint containers can be recycled too, included with metal recycling, although many other uses are possible, Contact usand let us know if you have ay tips on getting more use out of old paint pots.
There is a very healthy market for cartridges and toners so you should never need to send these to the dump. Here are a few organisations that will take your spent ones:
Recycling Appeal collect empty printer cartridges which are then reconditioned and refilled for resale. You can collect them for your favourite charity or community group and they also work in conjuction with over 20 charities including Oxfam, Scope, Breast Cancer Care, Scottish SPCA, Edinburgh Sick Kids and RNIB.
ActionAid Recycling collect both ink and toner cartridges to raise money for the charity Action Aid. They will supply collection boxes for organisations to collect they or freepost envelopes for individual doantions.
Cartridges4Charity.co.uk collect cartridges and split the money raised between three charities, SeeAbility, CRUSE Scotland and Cardiac Risk In The Young.
Help The Aged will accept inkjet and toner cartridges for recycling. Toner cartridges can be donated at your local Help The Aged shop and inkjet cartridges can be posted in a Freepost envelope.
Green Agenda handle used printer ink and toner cartridges for business, charities or educational establishments.
If your prescription has changed or you have a pair of specs which you no longer use, here are some places where you can donate your unwanted spectacles for charity.
Vision Aid Overseas. Your glasses can be left at opticians throughout the country and they will be sent to the developing world.
The Second Sight Project will accept glasses at your nearest KODAK Lens Vision Centre or by post, and they ask you to include a £1 coin with your donation.
The Lions Club International have a national glasses collection programme in the US and Australia. There is no national programme in the UK, but many groups do collect spectacles. Contact your local Lions organisation to find out if they are taking part in this.
Eyestyle, an optician based in Merseyside, are collecting specs in conjuction with their local Lions Organisation.