Each year, as brands and organisations start to become more environmentally conscious, more and more impressive methods of recycling household products appear. Each home has a local council recycling bin for plastic bottles, aluminium cans, newspapers and such. However, there are many other things you could be recycling as well, even if it does require a little more effort.
Plastic bag packaging
In recent years, regular single-use shopping bags have been phased out by most of the big retailers in Australia in favour of sturdier reusable ones. However, there are still a lot of similar plastic bags that continue to fill up our landfill that can easily be recycled by taking them to the right places (and not in your recycling bins).
What you might not know is that you can actually recycle soft plastics, such as plastic bread bags, confectionary wrappers, pasta packaging, ice cream wrappers, newspaper wrapping, bubble wrap and Australia Post satchels through a company known as REDcycle.
A lot of people are not aware of the fact that both Coles and Woolworths offer REDcycle as a free service. This makes sense, given that most rubbish that can be recycled this way actually comes from supermarkets. A great incentive to use this service is that it can help free up space in your weekly rubbish bin. If you are bringing your own reusable bags along to the supermarket each trip, you can also quite easily bring along your other soft plastic waste to recycle.
Many of the bigger printer brands have partnered with all the big recycling companies to ensure that their genuine ink and toner products can be recycled for making new products. Unfortunately, this does not apply to cheaper knock-off brands, which still regularly end up in landfill, as might your printer if they damage it. One of Australia’s biggest printer cartridge websites is working closely with big brands like HP to ensure people recycle their printer cartridges properly.
If you use coffee pods in your office or home, you don’t have to dispose of them as waste. Most brands of coffee pods can be recycled at many florists around Australia. This saves a lot of metal from ending up in a landfill. If you are considering purchasing a coffee pod machine consider purchasing one that uses recyclable pods such as Nespresso. Nespresso is known for its coffee pod recycling scheme.
Another service you can use is Recycling Near You. They offer a coffee pod recycling service. You can purchase a paid-postage envelope that holds up to 130 pods for $1.90 that can be deposited at any Australia Post office box.
Brands that are accepted by Recycling Near You include:
- NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Capsules and a paid program for other pods
- L’OR & Moccona coffee capsules
- EXPRESSI® capsules
Blankets and towels
Whilst it’s always great to donate anything that’s still in good condition to your local op shop, sometimes you’ll do some spring cleaning and dig up some old towels or blankets that are too damaged for an op shop to sell. Luckily, these are still warm enough to keep dogs and cats warm at a shelter. Most shelters will accept donations of towels and blankets, but it’s best to check their website or call them up to be sure.
Toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes
After you’ve retired your toothbrush from three months of use in your mouth, and then maybe another three months cleaning the grout in your shower, you can actually recycle it. Think about how much plastic is being thrown out around the world if everyone is actually replacing their toothbrushes as often as they’re meant to. Search “oral care” and your postcode here to see if there’s anywhere nearby you can donate to. You might be able to bring your beauty products, contact lenses, coffee pods, mailing satchels and some other things there whilst you’re at it.
And much more
There are many more ways to recycle household items that can’t go in the regular council recycling bins. It isn’t going to be practical to drop off some of these products off to their designated recycling points on the regular, but you can always put things away to recycle later do it in bulk once you get enough of it to justify the journey. Do it for our planet.