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31 Recycling Tips and Ideas to Go Green

 by tom on 18 Jul 2016 |
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Here at Tiny Box Co, we believe in reducing waste in the first place, not just recycling the waste that we do create. Going green is important for preserving the earth’s energy, reducing the effects of global warming and reducing the waste in landfills. Additionally shopping and buying green will support fair trade and fair labour, so there are so many reasons you and your family should become more eco-conscious this year. From recycling the unrecyclable to encouraging kids to live the eco lifestyle, here are 31 tips for recycling and greener living!

1. Make Your Own ‘Bag for Life’
Refuse plastic bags at the supermarket and use your own ‘bags for life’ instead. These bags can be purchased at a very reasonable price from most supermarkets but if you want to be even more green, why not make your own? Old bedsheets, unwanted clothing or any redundant fabrics you have around the house can be used to make your own shopping bags – all you need is a sewing machine!
bags for life

2. Turn Waste into Compost
Compost bins range from £15 to £70 and upwards depending on size, style and design. It’s a small price to pay in the long run and will save you a great deal on buying compost from your local garden centre. Home composting is extremely easy, is totally convenient, and makes use of things that would otherwise just go in your rubbish bin. Materials you can compost include vegetable peelings, fruit waste, teabags, plant prunings and grass cuttings.

3. Donate Old Clothes
We all have a bunch of old clothes that we just don’t want anymore. But instead of throwing them away or letting them gather dust in your wardrobe, why not donate them to charity? Charity shops not only raise money for great causes but they also help to encourage the recycling of clothing, homeware and other items which reduces the need for consumers to buy new from retailers.

4. Get Crafty with the Kids
Encourage your kids to get crafty. There are many wasted materials that can’t be recycled but these can be put to good use if you create a dedicated craft corner in the home and inspire your young artists! Things such as plastic bottles and metal cans can be used to create pencil pots, animal figurines or sculptures, storage containers, hanging mobiles or maybe even some stylish wall art.


5. Use Plastic Bottles as Bird Feeders
A fantastic idea around the home is to reuse plastic bottles. Plastic is one of the biggest problems facing our planet today and if you can’t recycle it, try to reuse it! Simply fill the bottle with bird seed, stick a few pencils, wooden sticks or wooden spoons through the bottle to create a safe place to perch, ensure there’s a large enough hole to get to the seeds, and then hang your bird feeder up in the garden.
6. Use the Freecycle Network
Networks such as The Freecycle Network are fantastic for reducing waste in landfills and are brilliant for helping you either get rid of unwanted goods or find free things that are open to a good home. There are more than 9 million members in the Freecycle Network and more than 5,000 local groups and membership to join is completely free.

7. Make Your Own Face Scrub
Face scrubs and exfoliators are an important step in every woman’s beauty regime; whether you exfoliate daily, every other day or once a week, exfoliating cleansers are a necessity. But did you know that microbeads used in many shop bought products are made of plastic and they are so tiny that they can pass through almost any water filtration system – meaning that we can end up ingesting them and marine life in the oceans are ingesting them too! Start making your own scrubs at home using natural sea salt or sugar as the exfoliating base – it couldn’t be easier and will save you so much money!

make your own face scrub
https://flic.kr/p/jkPkYkHomemade Sugar Scrub’ by elizaraxi

8. Teach the Three “Rs”
To encourage recycling and greener living in the home, teach the three “Rs” to your kids; Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. It’s important to share the knowledge of recycling and let your little ones know that we can help to recycle in more ways than one. Have the three “Rs” printed out as a poster so that the whole family can get inspiration from it every day to reuse before we throw anything away, to reduce the waste in the first place, and to always recycle our rubbish.

9. Reuse Your Paper Coffee Cup
Don’t throw away that paper coffee cup just yet. If it’s in good condition, reuse it for your next drink or wash it out and turn it into a storage container, a pencil pot or a small planter for your herb garden.

10. Always Buy Recycled  
Buying recycled and recyclable goods or packaging is the best way to keep the sustainable cycle going. This goes for party ware and decorations, packaging on food items, all paper and cardboard, and gift wrapping and gift boxes. Most of our gift bags and boxes are recycled and can be recycled again – if you’re unsure, just ask our team.

buy recycled

11. Recycle Rain Water
Rainwater harvesting is something which more and more eco warriors and homeowners are trying in the home. It’s designed to save water and save money in the long run; however, there will be an initial outlay and continued maintenance will be required. But if you’re serious about going green, both RHS systems and greywater recycling systems are worth looking into.

12. Use Old CDs to Create Mosaic Art
Sadly, music CDs and DVDs are plastic #7, which is a category that cannot be recycled. Some generations will have stacks and stacks of old, unwanted CDs and instead of throwing them away or sending them off to a charity shop, these CDs can be used to create beautiful mosaics. CD mosaics can not only be used for items around the home such as decorative bowls, mirrors, vases and candle holders but they can also be used in refurbing your home – such as mosaic tiling for your kitchen or bathroom walls, redesigning table tops or for sculptures and art pieces in the garden. All you need is a bunch of old CDs and a strong pair of cutting scissors so you can create the mosaic pattern that you want.

13. Design Your Own Recycled Jewellery
If you really want to spread the word about recycling and you’ve got that creative flair and nifty craft fingers, why not take up a hobby creating your own recycled jewellery? You can be as imaginative as you like with various materials and if you feel inclined, you can even start selling your pieces on eBay, Etsy, Folksy and other reseller websites.

recycle jewellery

14. Reduce Paper in the Home
Stamp down on paper wastage in the home by using old letters and unwanted mail as scrap paper. Use a paper tray to store any single-sided scrap paper (if letters are only printed on one side for instance) and place all paper upside down so you have a constant supply of paper to jot down important notes.  

15. Share the Stats and Numbers of Recycling 
The best way to spread awareness about the importance of recycling is to educate the people around you with facts and figures. Teach your kids and the rest of the family the importance of recycling by sharing meaningful stats. This measured information will help to put it all into perspective. For example: 60% of rubbish that goes in our bins could be recycled; the unreleased energy inside the average dustbin each year could power a TV for 5,000 hours; the largest lake in Britain could be filled with rubbish from the UK in just 8 months; or 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials.

16. Reuse Old Gift Wrap
Gift wrap is expensive and it always seems such a waste to throw it in the bin after opening your presents. If you can resist tearing into your birthday and Christmas presents with fervour, you can hang on to the paper to reuse for next time. And don’t forget to keep the bows and ribbons – they’ll come in handy too!

make your own gift wrap

17. Don’t Leave things on Standby
We’ve all been guilty of leaving household appliances on standby but quitting this habit now can probably save you money on your bills and will help us conserve energy too. It’s hard to measure an exact amount as every home is different but The Energy Savings Trust state that an average of £80 is wasted per household due to leaving TVs, microwaves and dishwashers on standby mode instead of turning them off completely.

18. Upcycle Milk Cartons
Milk cartons make ideal storage boxes for anything that’s small enough to fit through the head, such as grains like rice, cous cous and quinoa or nuts and seeds, instant / ground coffee, sugar, salt and spices. The fluidity of the carton design means that they are ideal for pouring so they are perfect for sprinkling sugar onto your cereal, or pouring salt into your saucepan, or pouring rice into a steamer. A lick of paint and some simple DIY labelling will ensure that your kitchen is super organised. 

19. Use Cotton Cloths instead of Kitchen Roll
Kitchen towel is an essential in any kitchen but instead of using disposable paper towels, use reusable cotton cloths instead. Not only are cotton clothes very easy to clean (just throw them in the washing machine with your next lot of laundry) but no trees were killed in the making either!  

homemade tea towels

20. Go to a ‘Swishing’ Event
Swishing is the new way to shop for ethical fashion fans, and anyone and everyone can get involved. To swish is essentially to swap – so you can pick up some new fashion items whilst getting rid of your old ones. Swishing events take place all over the UK and the rules are that everyone must bring at least one item of good quality clothing and there will be a 30 minute period of browsing before the swishing begins.

21. Have a Car Boot Sale
Another idea other than swishing is to have a car boot sale. If you have unwanted clothes, shoes, accessories, homeware, crockery or other bits and bobs, a car boot sale is a fantastic (and very affordable) way of selling.

22. Make Packed Lunches
By making your own packed lunch every day, you can limit the packaging that is being sent to landfills each year. Daily lunch options such as sandwiches, salads, pastas and wraps come heavily packaged in plastic and paper – so opt for a reusable lunch box and use a flask or reusable bottle to bring your own drinks and lunchtime refreshments.

packed lunches

23. Shop Vintage
If you’re into ethical fashion, shop vintage instead of high street. Not only does this help to reuse and recycle unwanted items but vintage fashion is a huge trend at the moment and will add an edge to your wardrobe. Know where to go for your vintage goods and you might even stumble across some one-of-a-kind designer gems!

24. Go Unvented with Your Dryer
Want to know how you can recycle heat in the home? Opt for an unvented tumble dryer and you can use that heat to warm up the house. No need for central heating or log fires the next time you have some laundry to do!

25. Get Solar Panels for Your Home
Government solar schemes could help to save your household a large amount of money on your bills each year. Not only that, but you could also earn up to an extra £8,080 annually for the surplus energy created from your solar panels.

solar panels

26. Always Choose Recycled Gift Boxes
When it comes to gifting, it’s important to stick to recycled and recyclable wrap and gift boxes. But don’t let that stunt your creativity – there are so many ways that recycled wrap can look amazing. For recycled gift wrapping ideas and chic ways of decorating recycled gift boxes, take a look at our fantastic gallery.

27. Reuse Coffee Grounds at Home
If you’re a coffee addict, make sure you don’t waste use coffee grounds. It may seem like it’s the end of the road but coffee grounds can be reused for making compost, making homemade plant fertiliser, for making bug repellent, for making a dustbin deodoriser (coffee absorbs unwanted smells), or using as a sink and drain cleaner. 

28. Recycle Your Batteries
Use the ERP Batteries website to find out which batteries can be recycled, where you can find battery recycling points in your local area, or how you can request a battery recycling box for collection from your premises.

recycle batteries

29. Take the Green Gift Challenge
For Christmas and birthday gifting, challenge each other to gift only recycled, preloved or homemade presents. Not only can you all save a lot of money but it also inspires the whole family to think outside of the box, get creative with their pressie ideas, whilst doing something good for the planet. Don’t forget to choose recycled eco-friendly gift boxes and recycled gift wrap as the final flourish!

30. Cut Down on Plastic
When it comes to recycling the unrecyclable, the best way is to reduce consumption and waste in the first place. Avoid using plastic bags and bottles, avoid food that comes heavily packaged (shop at local grocers if possible), or buy in bulk and buy larger bottles instead of smaller ones to minimise the plastic wastage from your household.

31. Reuse Jars as Drinking Glasses
We use jars for so many things that we buy in the supermarket – jams, chutneys, pickles, sauces. Glass jars are luckily 100% recyclable but we can still do better. By going one step further and reusing instead of recycling, we can relieve pressures and workload on recycling plants and you’ll find that a simple glass jar can go a long way. They can be used for all sorts of food storage in the kitchen and best of all, they can be used as drinking glasses and cocktail jars! Not only does this give them an upcycled purpose, but they’ll look cool and quirky at your next party too.

reuse glass jars


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