Posts tagged "reducing"

How can I get into the habit of using reuseable bags?

Following in the vein of “how can I get into the habit of taking packed lunches?”, I thought it would be useful to gather together your thoughts and tips on getting into the habit of using reusable shopping bags. Because cutting down on plastic carriers is going save the world you know. ;)

So what do you do to make sure you always have cloth bags, reusable plastic ones or just old carriers on hand when you need them? We’re very good at taking reusable bags with us when we’re consciously heading to the supermarket on a shopping trip but don’t always have them on hand if we’re out doing something else and pop into a shop randomly. (I still say no to bags though if I can, even if it means the bus driver looks at me funny when I get on balancing a pie and bread roll on top of 18 better-than-half-price recycled toilet rolls – as happened on Tuesday night.)

I know some cloth/nylon bags are designed to fold up tightly – either with poppers or a bag to keep them neat – so they can easily be carried around in a handbag without much bother. (And basic plastic bags can be folded into triangles for neat storage and transportation).

Other people always keep a stash of carriers in their car for when they need them.

But what about ideas for those of us who neither carry handbags or drive cars? What do you do?

How can I reuse or recycle electric toothbrushes?

We’ve had an email from Georgina:

Where can i recycle electric toothbrushes? What about the replaced brushes?

Electric toothbrushes are covered under Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations so should be recycled in designated WEEE bins at tips etc. The replacement heads almost certainly won’t be covered by that though – perhaps some of the reuse suggestions for normal toothbrushes would work — the ideas where you don’t need the full length handle.

Any specific reuse or recycling ideas for them though?

(Like with everything, do think about the most important of the 3R’s before buying a new one – reduce. Do you really need an electric toothbrush instead of a manual one? If so, a mains powered one (assuming you have mains power in a suitable place) may be a better buy over a rechargeable one – the rechargeable ones tend to be sealed units for waterproofing and once the battery goes (which it invariably will), the whole thing has to be thrown out unless you’re very good at fixing things.)

How can I reuse or recycle whiteboard marker pens?

We’ve had an email from Julie asking:

Can I recycle whiteboard marker pens? What plastic are they?

I don’t know what plastic they are. I’ve spent about an hour this morning reading the “about our products” page of all the marker pen manufacturers I can think of but no one mentions that – and no one mentions that. (They do though tell you how many solar panels are on their factory, or how they print the name of the markers onto the marker barrel. You know, useful stuff like that). ANYWAY. I’ll shoot emails off to all those companies to see if anyone of them can help us out with some info.

Even if the barrel is a recyclable plastic, it probably won’t be a case of just throwing in them in a green bin – you’ll probably have to remove the writing core (the ink “tampon” – see the things I learn reading these pen websites!) as that’ll be different from the hard plastic of the barrel. You can apparently get refillable whiteboard markers – you either resoak the “tampon” inside with more ink or replace the whole ink bit with a new pre-soaked one. Needless to say, the time/mess/expense of doing that means that only the dedicated will do it – for the rest, it’s easier & cheaper to replace & throw away disposable ones, sigh.

Does anyone know any more about recycling them? Or has any “reducing” ideas – how to make them last longer, which brands to get/avoid, alternatives in the first place? And can they be reused for anything?

What one thing would you like to see everyone reduce, reuse or recycle in 2011?

Happy New Year everyone!

Last year, at the start of 2010, I asked everyone what they were going to reduce, reuse and recycle in 2010. I said I hoped to cut back on buying clothes & do more cooking/baking at home to cut down on pre-packed food packaging (which I’ve done), and set up dedicated recycling bins to make it easier for us to recycle at home (which I’ve not really done, our recycling tends to end up in piles on the counter until we take it out, so I still need to do something about that!). I hope you kept to your reducing, reusing and recycling goals better than I did!

This year, my main reducing, reusing, recycling goals are to do a better job of collecting rainwater for use in the garden, find a way to deal with dog (and cat) poo in our garden rather than bagging it up and throwing it away, and to continue reducing the amount of hard-to-recycle packaging coming into our home by cooking from scratch/baking even more & to do other related things like make our own soap. And I really should set up those dedicated recycling bins like I said I would last year. (I’ve listed my other simple living – rather than specifically green – goals on my frugal/growing/cooking/making blog The Really Good Life). What do you think your green goals will be for this year?

If you’ve not got any, how about another question instead – if, in 2011, all the world, absolutely everyone, agreed to reduce, reuse or recycle one thing – just one thing – of your choosing, what would you pick? They’d keep doing whatever other recycling they do anyway but would do your one thing every day, without fail, no questions, no grumbling. So what would you pick?

I know some people who will say “everyone should stop using ‘disposable’ plastic bottles” or “everyone should start using washable toilet wipes, hankies & cloths at home” but I think I’d pick reducing food waste – getting people to reduce upfront wastage from buying too much in the first place and encouraging everyone (including businesses) to compost their food waste/kitchen scraps. For some reason, that’s really pushing my buttons at the moment – the senselessness of so much energy being put into food’s production, transportation and preservation only for it to be sent to landfill, gah.

(So I guess that should also be another of my green goals for this year: do all I can to minimise our food wastage here. Be the change you want to see in the world and all that. I’ve added it to my goal list now.)

So what one thing would you pick?

Recycle This in 2010 – my favourite stories

So here we are at the end of another year – and it’s been a great one for Recycle This.

We’ve had more than 1,000,000 unique visitors over the year: about 300,000 from the UK, 350,000 from the US and the rest from around the world – including 12 people from Papua New Guinea, 5 people from the Congo, 3 people from Greenland, 1 person from Micronesia and another single person from Christmas Island. Hello and welcome to everyone!

We’ve posted 265 stories and had more than 3400 reusing & recycling ideas suggested by our commenters – thanks so much to everyone who left an idea or asked a question, you guys really make it a pleasure for me to run this site.

I really have had a lot of fun running it this year – we’ve had some great discussions, especially on ways for people to reducing their consumption in the first place. I loved hearing people tips and advice for getting into the habit of taking packed lunches – it almost made me wish I left the house for work so I could join in the packed lunch fun! Linked to that, we also had quite a lively discussion about how to move away from Graze boxes – a pet hate of mine and I loved Alice’s ideas for destroying their clever branding! More recently/less rantily, I’ve liked hearing about ways to freshen up winter coats – to stop the want-a-new-one craving from settling in.

I personally don’t celebrate Christmas so in previous years haven’t spent much time thinking about it for Recycle This – but this year I decided to showcase the best recycled decorations and upcycled present ideas from around the web — and you know what? there is some pretty awesome stuff out there and it was fun exploring it all. I’m going to use the ideas to make non-Christmas-sy stuff instead.

Finally, since we’ve covered nearly 1000 different things on Recycle This over the years, I decided that it’s worth revisiting old subjects to highlight the best reuses for them and linking to new ideas that have popped up in the (often four years+) since I posted them. I think my favourite of those has been “Five fantastic reuses for expanded polystyrene foam packaging” because it reminded me of some really great ideas for using up that accursed stuff.

Thanks again to everyone who has visited the site in 2010, and a double-triple-quadruple thanks to all those who’ve commented, emailed or Tweeted me throughout the year. See you all in 2011!