Go on, give yourself a pat on the back — you, along with the majority of Australians, have embraced recycling and reusing in the last decade or so to the point where recycling is part of your every day routine. But here’s the thing: there is still so much more you can do! In this article, I’m going to look at some of the lesser-known ways of recycling, from recycling E-waste to utilising reusable green bags for your grocery shopping. Hopefully, when you’re done, you can start thinking about other ways to add to your great recycling and reusing habits.
We all know we’re supposed to recycle our paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminium cans and so forth. What many of us haven’t seem to wrap our head around yet, however, is that it’s also important to recycle electronic equipment. This is known as E-waste and, since technology is progressing at an increasingly rapid rate, we’re bound to see more and more of it in the future. E-waste should not be thrown out with regular garbage; if it finds its way into landfill it can be toxic to both soil and water. Most councils arrange E-waste drop-off days several times a year, where you can drop off computers, TVs, printers, fax machines, gaming consoles, phones, batteries and other electronic goods.
Recycling hair clippings
Every time we have our hair trimmed, cut or shaved, we think of the hair clippings as the most obvious of things to discard, right? But did you know you can actually recycle your hair clippings? And I’m not just talking about donating it to create hairpieces, either (though this is a perfectly valid use). For example, human hair used as compost is actually a very effective fertiliser for plants. Perhaps even more ingenious is the invention of oil spill hair mats, which take advantage of hair’s adsorbent (that’s right, ‘adsorbent’, not ‘absorbant’. It basically means ‘sticking to’) qualities to, as the name suggests, clean up oil spills!
Recycling wine bottle corks
If you’re a connoisseur of wine, you’ve probably popped a few corks in your time. Some of these might have flew across the room, getting stuck in corners and crevasses and ultimately being discarded until moving day. Others may have simply ended up in the bin. Remember, corks are actually made from the bark of cork trees and, as a result, these are highly recyclable. Wine corks can be recycled and turned into home insulation, shoes, car gaskets, sporting equipment and a whole lot more. Once again, find out about your local council’s wine cork recycling program.
Utilising reusable bags
For the good of the environment, please — stop using plastic bags! These items are terrible for the environment; plastic has extremely low biodegradability properties and, as a result, it remains in the environment for hundreds of years after being disposed of, where it can be ingested by wildlife, leading to sickness and even death for these creatures. It’s especially important to stop using plastic bags when you consider there are so many alternatives these days, such as non-woven polypropylene bags. These can be reused again and again and, when you’re finished with them, they can be recycled. If you run a business, reusable promotional bags are a great way to promote your brand while showing the world that you care about the environment.