Get a list of all Bay County area recyclers.
Six things you can do:
Only buy things you really need. Most of what we throw away could be used again. Think twice before you put something in the bin. Try and cut down on the amount you buy new and then throw away.
Use containers again. Ask your school or workplace to provide reusable cups, plates, cutlery etc.
Give away or sell
Charity and nearly new shops as well as community and organization rummage sales are good places to donate or sell second hand clothes, toys and furniture. It is also well worth shopping at second hand outlets.
Repair or adapt
The best environmental choice is to repair, restore or adapt a product you already have. You may need professional help but it could still be cheaper than something new – half of electrical goods left at dumps work or require only very basic repairs.
Cut down packaging
The amount of plastic packaging waste is astronomical. Buying fruit and vegetables loose could cut your waste drastically. Take a shopping bag with you and try not to buy drinks in plastic bottles. Write to the companies concerned asking them to change their policies.
Recycle things yourself, and buy recycled products. For information on household waste disposal get in touch with your local authority for recycling schemes in your area – and ask them to improve their recycling services. Why not start your own recycling program at work or school?
There are lots of innovative things you can do to help reduce your trash – check out some of the tips below to get started. Making use of your mountain of plastic bags:
- Use them as wastebasket liners.
- Place them in the bottom of plant pots and hanging baskets – they act as great drainage systems.
- Children can use them for carrying PE gear to school.
- Scrunch them up to surround items when you’re packaging as an alternative to bubble wrap.
- Use them in the garden to hold your grass cuttings and hedge trimmings before transfer to a compost bin.
- Use them when packing for a trip to keep dirty/wet clothes and shoes away from dry clothing.
- Use them as ‘doggy doo bags’ when out walking your dog!
- Some supermarkets recycle plastic bags, so you can return plastic bags to them.
- Re-use washed zip lock bags for sandwiches and snacks rather than using plastic wrap.
Ideas for recycling paper:
After children’s drawings and paintings have been displayed for a while they can be used to wrap presents — this also makes the present special.
Discarded paper can be cut and stapled together to make notepads. Alternatively, if you save five reams, it will cost you a small amount to get a print company to convert this paper into ‘proper’ notepads.
‘Use the envelopes you receive in the mail a second time by placing a new address label over the last address. I call this the OMT System (“One more time system”). Old envelopes can also be used for scribbling down shopping lists, to-do lists, and notes.’
Resealable envelopes can be reused many times: ‘My daughter takes one to school when she orders her lunch. The envelope has all details written in felt on the front and the money sealed inside. She brings the envelope home and we use it again until it gets too shabby.’ Old calendars, colorful pictures, etc. can be used to make your own envelopes. You can unstick a used envelope and use it as a template for making envelopes.
Old rolls of wallpaper can be used for childrens’ drawings.
Junk mail can be used as scrap paper, or as bedding for pets.
Cardboard cartons can be used to collect paper for recycling, instead of plastic bags (even breakfast cereal cartons are good).
SPCA and pet shops appreciate old newspapers.
Toilet paper rolls can be recycled — they’re made of cardboard.
To fill in a rainy day get a paper recycling kit and get the kids to rip up old used paper to make recycled paper, it can be great fun.
Old magazines are appreciated by:
- Doctors and dentists’ offices
- Offices that have waiting rooms
Ideas for recycling household waste in the garden:
Aluminum trays from pies and cakes make ideal ‘drip saucers’ to put under pot plants.
Old tires can be used outside for plant pots – especially good for plants that like warm soils as they trap the heat.
The following waste items can be modified and used for planting seedlings:
- Egg cartons
- Plastic bottles
- Plastic containers for cherry tomatoes
- Old boots and shoes
- The cardboard rolls from toilet paper.
- Plastic ice cream containers.
- Lawn clippings can be used to cover weeds and keep from growing in the garden through winter.
- Broken crockery can be used as drainage at the bottom of pot plants.
Cans can be used as:
Water reservoirs for new plants and trees. Tape a piece of hose pipe in a can and fill the can with scoria or pumice. Then, when you plant a new tree or plant, bury the can below the root level and leave enough hose poking out of the ground. You can water the plant in summer by pouring the water into hose pipe. If the hose is short enough it can be mowed over on a lawn and does not look obtrusive.
Pot plant holders. Decorate the outside of the can to your liking, put some soil in it and plant away. (Make sure you put some drainage holes in the bottom of the tin before you start potting the plants.)
Old newspapers (including those gathered from your friends) can be used to mulch and weed control the garden. Wet newspaper and place thickly on the garden. Cover with bark or stones.
Plastic milk bottles can be used to hold snail bait and are pet proof.
Old stockings can be used to tie up plants in the garden.
Plastic ice cream containers can be cut into strips for seed labels.
Ideas for recycling organic/garden waste:
If you’ve done any trimming of trees and hedges, contact the local Zoo to see if they can use these for their animals, either as food or environment improvement.
Avoid using kitchen waste disposers and compost food scraps instead. This reduces the load on sewage treatment plants and local government can concentrate on the treatment of real sewage.
If you need leaf mulch for your garden approach a local school and ask what they do with the leaf litter. Some schools throw theirs away.
Ideas for recycling other items: Old or broken household goods such as toasters, transistor radios can be used by others for parts. Sell them cheaply at a garage sale.
Carry a supermarket bag with you when you go walking so that you can pick up glass, litter or other plastic bags.
Schools and kindergartens often need boxes, plastic bags, old buttons, used wrapping paper, greeting cards, ribbons, tiles, crockery and other materials for art resources. They may also want old phones, keyboards, etc as learning toys.
Wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, and boxes can be used to wrap someone else’s presents.
Recycle jars by using them for home preserves.
Ice cream containers can be reused around the home in a number of ways:
- Storing food in the freezer
- As a container for toys, crayons, clothes pegs
- Cookie container
Meat trays, yogurt containers, egg cartons, and film canisters can be kept and used by the kids to ‘create stuff’. This is a great way to keep the kids amused and even make gifts for family and friends.
An upside down bottle with small holes in the top can be used to provide water for your pets while you are on holiday.
Materials left over from home sewing can be used by schools for collages. Larger pieces can also be used for patchwork and crafts by people in convalescent and nursing homes.
Use ice cream and other plastic containers to put kids toys in. Also good for nuts and bolts, sewing supplies, or clothes pin containers.
The black meat trays from the grocery store make great paint trays for both adults and kids.
Stronger plastic bottles can be used to hold tools and nails etc in the shed. Simply cut three sides and leave one side longer and nail to the wall in the shed.
Old furniture, clothes, kitchen items, and are always wanted by organizations like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, the Human Shelter Thrift Store, and so on.
General tips for recycling and avoiding rubbish:
Buy a smaller trash container for the kitchen. This makes you to remember to recycle.
Make sure bottles and cans are clean before putting in the recycling bin. This prevents flies both at home and the recycling station.
Reorganize the kitchen so it has an efficient recycling area with good sized bins to help with sorting and holding. This will encourage other members of the household to contribute and help share the work instead of it being reliant on one person.
Cutting both the tops and the bottoms off tin cans (and placing them inside) and squashing them makes them smaller to fit into the recycling bin.
Spread the word. By telling other people and helping them to get started, we increase the savings that can be made. Also get your children involved – if we can educate them early, they will grow up and appreciate waste reduction and will be able to apply these skills in later life.