Archive for the "business" category

How can I reuse or recycle mixed/MDF sawdust?

We’ve had an email from Paul:

We’ve got an extraction system at our joinery shop which produces big bags of sawdust but we use a lot of MDF and other particle boards so it can’t be used for animal bedding. Do you know how they could be recycled?

We’ve covered wood shavings recycling before but the obvious answer there was animal bedding – lots of people want rid of them and lots of people want it! The MDF dust is a bit of a stick in the wheels though – as Paul says, there are issues using MDF dust in animal bedding — the dust is so fine it can easily be kicked up and lead to respiratory problems.

So what else can be done with it? I did wonder whether it could be pressed into wooden pellets for biomass boilers but apparently the glues/chemicals used in particle board construction may be problematic – an undesirable contaminant. Any other ideas?

(Photo by Vaderluck)

How can I reuse or recycle hairdressers/beauty salon aprons & smocks?

Jeri left a question on the Suggest an Item page:

I work at a beauty salon and we just got new aprons so I collected all the old black ones and all the old polyester smocks that they were going to throw away. They were just putting them in the trash so I rescued them now what can I do with them?

Alison Bailey Smith has already suggested: “Donate to a local art project or gallery or museum that has ‘have a go days’.” which is a great idea. In the UK, you could also offer them to your local scrap store – they’ll probably be able to use them or pass them on.

The smocks they have at the hairdressers I go to always remind me of bat wings or witches’ cloaks so a couple of them could be also upcycled into a fancy dress costume. But Alison’s idea is much better if you’ve got a lot. ;)

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle hairdressers scissors?

We’ve had an email from Tasha:

We are a hairdressing scissors company trying to find a charity we can send old hairdressing scissors too?

If you know of any could you please let me know.

I don’t know of any – does anyone else?

What about charities that collect scrap metal in general? From what I’ve read, hairdressers scissors tend to be make from steel and that’s widely recyclable – does anyone know of any charities that collect steel to raise money from recycling?

How can I reuse or recycle restaurant menus?

Jessica left a message on the “suggest an item” page:

Hello, I work in a restaurant where we get new menus about every two weeks.

They are nice menus, but have worn edges, maybe, some wear and tear. But we throw these menus out by the hundreds every two weeks. It seems so wasteful to me.

We change them out to meet the company standards of how they should be presented. So what could be some ideas of how we can reuse the menus cause I’m pretty sure they can’t be recycled. Thanks!!

I’m presuming since they “can’t be recycled” that they’re laminated menus or similar – not just paper or card because they would be easier to recycle.

We’ve covered old laminated posters before so if they are laminated, there might be some overlap in potential reuses.

Any menu-specific suggestions though? Given the amount they’re going through, bulk reuses would be best.

From a reduction point of view, I wonder if it’s worth taking it up with the company further upstream – they’re insisting on the menus being changed without considering the green impact. Perhaps it should be up to them to change the menu design to make it longer lasting – or relax their standards. Has anyone had any experience of getting a company to change their policy for the greener – or any advice about what types of menus work best?

How can I reuse or recycle “disposable” hair nets?

We’ve had an email from Philip, asking about disposable hair nets:

I work in food production (ready meal factory) and have to wear a hair net whenever I’m on the floor. Some staff have proper hats but the rest of us have to have single use hair nets. Management say it’s cheaper but I think it’s very wasteful. Can they be recycled?

Whenever I get hold of one of them, I keep it to reuse at home – single use, schmingle use – when having a big baking or preserving session. (I’m less bothered about having a completely sterile environment and more about keeping my hair out of my face – and my food.) But if I was getting them every day, that wouldn’t really be an option – and they’re not the sort of thing you could pass on to others.

From what I’ve read, that type of hat is typically made out of polypropylene (older style nets are sometimes nylon) so the actually recycling options are very limited to non-existent. It seems like there many be a possibility of textile reclamation but all the information I can find out it is in the US so I’m not sure if there are any companies over here. As for reuses, they’re a bit like last week’s net curtains but not as strong so not suitable for all the ideas for them – and again, if you’re using them every day, they’re quickly going to mount up so no amount of crafts can solve the problem.

I think the key thing here really is to reduce: if it’s simply a matter of cost, you may want to consider buying your own hat so at least you’re not contributing to the problem – they’re not much and I suspect if you could get some other people involved you might be able to push the price down further by bulk buying (or at least sharing out delivery costs). However, from what I’ve read, there is sometimes an issue about not taking protective clothing outside of the sterile environment so it would be worth checking what arrangements (if any) are in place for handling the existing proper hats.

Anyone got any reuse ideas? Or any suggestions on how Philip can lobby his bosses into doing the right thing and getting reusable hats?