Plastic is a hot environmental topic at the moment and while most people are trying to cut down on single-use plastics, or cut them out of their lives altogether, many of us will have a few old plastic bottles lying around. Instead of sending them straight to be recycled, why not give them a new lease of life by upcycling them into something useful? Upcycling is a great way to delay the recycling process, breathing new life into unwanted or seemingly useless objects.
Looking for some inspiration for your plastic bottle creations? Then look no further!
You may have recently completed the redecoration of a room in your home, or you may have some leftover paint lurking in your garage or shed. Whatever the situation, don’t be tempted to throw the paint away — you may feel like you have no further use for it, but once you have read through our ideas below you won’t believe you were ever going to chuck it out!
Due to its resilient nature, rubber is the perfect material for upcycling projects, and vehicle tyres can therefore be easily reused once they have become unroadworthy. Repurposing vehicle tyres is a nice alternative to sending them to landfill – an unfortunate ending for many tyres worldwide. When tyres are recycled, they are often shredded and used for producing playground surfaces, road embankments and synthetic turf. Why not reuse them before that stage and lengthen their life even more? Give some of these upcycling ideas a go.
Stop! Don’t throw those precious fruit and vegetable peelings in the bin. There’s always a further use for something, as you’ll see in our list of suggestions below. Let’s cut our food waste whilst enjoying new uses for our kitchen scraps. Peelings often contain more nutrients than the part we eat, so why not harness that goodness – whether that be on our skin, our hair, or elsewhere? And using the whole fruit or vegetable is much more environmentally friendly than binning it. Give these ideas a go:
1. Get rid of ants with cucumber peel
Ants don’t like cucumber peel, and will avoid it at all costs, so if you have an ant problem in your house, place generous strips of cucumber peel along their entry point. No toxic and expensive chemicals needed! The more bitter the cucumber, the better the result.
With so much talk of the negative impacts of plastic on the environment these days, it’s easy to forget about paper; another product the world produces and wastes far too much of. Of course, paper is readily and easily recycled in the UK these days, but recycling should be the last option in every household, as it uses energy which otherwise wouldn’t be required. In this article I hope to inspire you with ideas for paper reuse, and get you to think about every piece of paper or card that enters your house. If you’d like some ideas for reducing your paper waste, so you have less to reuse, this article should help.
So, how can I reuse paper or card?
There are so many options available to you before you fling your paper straight in to your recycling bin. Give one a go today!
Researchers based at Bradford Royal Infirmary are currently developing a wound dressing which utilises the thin, fibrous membrane found inside hen’s eggshells.
The researchers are from NIHR WoundTec HTC at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and are working in unison with a Norwegian company, Biovotecat, at the BRI site.
What are the benefits?
This groundbreaking research could be set to save the NHS millions of pounds, as wound management currently costs the NHS an eye-watering £5 billion per year. With 2.2 million wounds to tend per year, it is clear to see that the current cost of wound management is high. So, the eggshells cost less to buy than traditional wound dressings, but also the healing and anti-inflammatory properties of the eggshell membranes mean that wounds will heal faster and so treatment time will be significantly shorter too.
Eggs are a popular food worldwide, but we only eat the inside part. So, that leaves the outer shell for us to deal with. In the past – or maybe even now, still – you’ll have just thrown it into the trash without a second thought. However, there are much better things you could be doing with them, which are far friendlier for the Earth than adding to our landfill. Take a look at our ideas below for some ‘eggspiration’!
Use in compost & organic gardening
Eggshells can be composted, so there’s no excuse to ever throw your discarded shells into the rubbish bin! They can also be used alone, crushed, in organic gardening as a slug and snail repellent. Whilst keeping pests at bay, the broken shell will also be adding nutrients to your soil, unlike nasty, unnatural chemical slug pellets.
You’ve got to the bottom of a pot of jam, marmalade, mayonnaise, or olives. Now what do you do with the jar? In our house we often reuse our glass jars for other food storage: wholesale nuts and seeds, the remains of a tin of baked beans, or some leftovers from dinner. However, what if you don’t need another glass jar? What if your kitchen cupboards are full? We’ve listed 25 ideas below of ways to utilise your empty jar. Which will you try?
Fill your glass jar with some fresh water and fill it with fresh flowers from your garden to create a lovely, free vase.
Make a batch of jam, marmalade, lemon curd or chutney and gift it in your jar. Jazz the jar up with a label and some pretty ribbon. Your recipient will love it!
It’s a little known fact that us Brits wear just 70 per cent of the clothes that we have stored away in our wardrobes, which leaves us with a total of 1.7 billion unused items. On average, a consumer keeps their garments for three years, but even more shocking than this is the fact that something might be frequently worn in the first year, and then phased into the stockpile of unworn clothes later on. That is why the average British closet is so overstuffed: we don’t wear all of the clothes we own.
The spending habits of the average person in the West have changed dramatically over the last hundred or so years when it comes to buying clothing. Between 2002 and 2003, for example, people in the US spent, on average, four per cent of their income on clothes, whereas back between the years of 1934 and 1946, clothing used up 12 per cent of people’s incomes. The current average expenditure per item in the USA is $14.60. Don’t go thinking that we are all consuming less though. On average, just one person in the UK will produce 70 Kg of textiles waste per year – that is a lot of clothing. Cheap, fast fashion means we are spending less yet buying more.
Zero Waste Week is a week in September which focuses on protecting the environment through sending no waste to landfill. The 2015 theme is ‘reuse’, which is great as it will help people realise that by reusing items, we are benefiting the environment and our purse/wallet.
This video explains National Zero Waste Week really well:
Ideas for your Zero Waste Week pledge
What will you pledge to do for NZWW 2015 – at home, or at work with your colleagues?
If you’re an individual, you could try:
Preparing all your lunches at home for the week (not buying packaged lunches)
Commiting to using only reusable carrier bags – no plastic bags
Repurposing all glass items you use in that week
Repurposing all tin cans you use in that week
Using a refillable cup for coffee shop drinks
Using a washable alternative to facial wipes or cotton wool for make-up removal, such as a flannel or reusable eco cotton pads
Using reusable and washable cloths for cleaning rather than paper towels or other ‘disposables’
At work, you could try:
Preparing your lunches at home
Using a refillable cup each for coffee shop drinks
Reusing any paper that is printed out: utilise both sides instead of just one
After shredding confidential documents, reuse the shredded paper – it can be used for packing items up, or as cat litter or animal bedding
Reuse all jiffy bags and boxes you receive deliveries in
Setting up a compost bin for fruit peel, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc., which staff members can then take home for their garden
Switching to a fabric hand towel instead of paper towels
What do Forge Waste & Recycling already do to reduce waste to landfill?
We are committed to helping the environment, and as a company who collect around 200 tonnes of waste per week, we don’t send any to landfill. Anything that can be recycled, is, and any leftover waste is turned into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), which is then used to create electricity.
Even our plastic waste collection bins are recycled; when they are no longer fit for use, we remove the wheels and the plastic is shredded and granulated to produce other high quality items.
Of course, in an ideal world there would be nothing to recycle, but in 2015 there is still a lot of work to be done on this issue. This dedicated week is a great help though, so why not get involved?
What will Forge Waste & Recycling be pledging for Zero Waste Week 2015?
When we gave this some thought, we realised everyone in our office has been drinking bottled water to keep hydrated in the hot weather. Whilst we, of course, recycle these bottles, we know we need to eliminate them completely. So we pledge to reuse all of the plastic bottles we currently have for as long as possible, and not buy any more – ever!
Where can I find out more?
If you’d like to know more about Zero Waste Week, the official website is here. The couple who run it have their own brilliant website too, which can be found here – take a look for year-round hints and tips on living waste free. Small changes can make a big difference if we all work together. Let’s be Zero heroes! What will you pledge this September?