This week it’s Recycle Week and we’re feeling green here at Wilko HQ!
Now in its 11th year, Recycle Week is a celebration of the hows, whys and wheres of recycling, and this year’s theme: ‘Recycling at Home and Away’ is designed to help us all recycle more things, more often, no matter where we are!
We think Recycle Week is the perfect time to get in to greener habits! Like most of the things on the household to-do list, it can be easy to find an excuse not to recycle. You’re too busy, too tired, it’s too confusing… you just can’t be bothered. But saving the planet really doesn’t have to be so mundane, so difficult or so time-consuming. For this year’s Recycle Week, we’ve come up with some easy, eco-friendly ways to get the whole family involved and have some fun along the way!
The Green Team
One of the best ways to get into a new routine is to get the kids involved – after all, you’ll feel like you’re fighting a losing battle picking yoghurt pots and pop bottles out of the bin if you don’t. They’re not afraid to pick you up on your bad habits either – where does that newspaper go again, Mum?!
Recycling schemes differ around the UK so make sure you get to grips with yours first (you can find your local authority here).
Once you’re clued-up, let the kids help you choose a special new recycling box or bin (or more than one depending on how you need to sort your waste) for inside the house. Go for bright, funky colours or let the kids decorate the new bin(s) themselves. Put these next to your other bin to jog your memory.
Another idea is to get the kids to draw pictures of recyclable items such as newspapers, bottles, cans, cereal boxes and yoghurt pots that they (or you) can cut out and stick on the correct boxes. You could even make a game of it and ask ‘who knows which box _____ goes in?’ with a special prize for the winner! Include some more difficult examples such as ready meal packaging (anything with mixed materials) for bonus points.
Take this time to discuss what recycling is and why it’s so important. We’ve got a few fun facts here for you, too:
- It only takes seven days for an old newspaper to get back on the shelf as a new one
- Drinks cans are 100% recyclable forever and can come back again and again as a different product every time! Your pop can might come back as a paperclip, a car or even a bridge!
- Recycling just one plastic bottle saves us enough energy to power a 60W light bulb for six hours
- You can make an adult’s fleece jacket using just 25 recycled plastic bottles
You could also try saving some of your recyclables in a craft box to use on rainy weekends or during the school holidays. Why not have a go at our pirate ship how-to using as much recyclable material as you can?
All part of the routine
For those things you can’t recycle at home, Recycle Now have got a handy Bank Locator tool. There are lots of local recycle banks based at supermarkets and these are perfect for dropping off things like glass bottles or jars, cans and even clothing. It’s a great idea to tie in your recycling trip with your weekly shop! That way you’re not making extra work for yourself and you’re saving CO² on that second trip – very efficient!
You can also reduce waste during your shop by being considerate of packaging – if you think something’s got too much then let the retailer know! Keep an eye out for items with reduced or recycled packaging and make a habit of choosing these. Now all you’ve got to do is remember your bag for life!
From plate to plants and back again
Making your own compost is a great way to cut down on food waste and feed your garden something nutritious at the same time. It’s been estimated that almost a third of household waste can be composted, saving lots of unnecessary space on landfill sites and enough energy to power your kettle for a whole year!
Perfect compost should be made up of roughly 50% ‘Greens’ and 50% ‘Browns’. Greens rot quickly and provide lots of nitrogen and moisture, whereas Browns rot more slowly; providing carbon, fibre and allowing air pockets to develop. Together, these compostable materials work in perfect harmony to create a tasty treat your plants and flowers will love – it’s also a great idea for anybody growing their own veggies!
Some common examples of Greens and Browns are:
- Tea bags
- Vegetable and fruit peelings
- Flowers and weeds
- Grass cuttings
- Egg shells
- Autumn leaves
- Kitchen roll
You can find more composting info and a bigger list here at the Recycle Now website.
If you’re feeling particularly green-fingered and want to give it a go, we’ve got a range of different sized compost bins to get you started and all the tools you’ll need to keep your garden in tip-top condition. If you’re already a composter, why not visit our Facebook or Twitter and give us your top tips?
A bright future
In 2001 only 11% of UK households recycled at all! Thankfully, by last year that figure had risen to over 43% – contributing three billion pounds-worth of value to the UK economy. And it’s not just at home – workplaces and schools are getting involved too, with around 50% of business waste now being recycled. Think how much more we could add to that total if we all gave it a go?! (It makes our heads hurt…)
Let us know what you’re getting up to for recycle week – we’d love to see your hints, tips and pics!
Did you know? In the past ten years we’ve recycled 50 billion plastic drinks bottles! If we laid them end to end, we could make it to the moon and back more than ten times over!