Recycle Week is organised annually by Recycle Now and takes place this year on 20th - 26th September. This one week of the year aims to unite individuals and companies with one common goal - to get us recycling more of the right stuff, more often. We know that most of us make an effort to recycle, but sometimes it can be confusing what goes in what bin and whether you can even recycle some items at all! We have put together this handy guide with some of the most commonly asked about items, so if you're wondering "can I recycle that?", we're here to help!
Animal Bedding & Waste
Some local authorities will accept used hay, straw and sawdust bedding from vegetarian animals (such as hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs etc.) to be put in the Garden Waste collections, or accept it with garden waste at Household Recycling Centres. You can check with your local authority if this is possible in your area. Pet waste such as used cat litter should be bagged and put into the general waste as this cannot be recycled. Old pet blankets or beds made from fabric can be recycled with textiles at a recycling centre, plastic beds may be able to be recycled alongside plastic waste - be sure to ask an operative at your local recycling centre if this is possible.
Clothing & Bras
Did you know that in the UK around 336,000 tonnes of our unwanted clothing gets thrown away every year? There are lots of different ways to be rid of your unwanted clothes that prevents them from going to landfill. Clothes and textiles that are in good condition can be donated and sold for re-use. This is an important way to minimise the overall impact that clothing has on our environment. Bras in 'good but worn' condition can be donated to an organisation such as Against Breast Cancer either directly or by one of their bra banks, or to a charity shop that accepts items of underwear. Items that aren’t suitable to be passed onto someone else can be recycled and made into new items. You can recycle through your local authority, or via charity collection bags, clothing drop-off points, or even inside some of your favourite high-street shops like H&M or M&S.
Some local authorities collect small electrical items as part of their kerbside collection, otherwise you can recycle these and larger items at selected retailers and at Household Waste Recycling Centres. Lots of items fall into this category including alarm clocks, CD/DVD players, game consoles, small kitchen appliances such as kettles, toasters and blenders, hairdryers, straighteners, electric toothbrushes, cameras, lawnmowers, lamps, phones & more!
Soft Plastics & Carrier Bags
Some plastic is recyclable, a good general rule is that if you can stretch the plastic then it can be recycled. All plastic items you recycle must be clean of food and have any sticky labels removed. You can recycle your soft plastics at most major supermarkets. The following different types of plastic films are accepted at carrier bag collection points: bread bags, breakfast cereal liners, shrink wrap, multipack can rings, frozen food bags, bags for loose fruit & veg, clothing bags from online retailers & bubble wrap.
You cannot put old spectacles / glasses into your recycling bin, however there are some options that prevent them going straight to landfill. If you like your frames and simply need a new prescription, consider reglazing as an option. Your optician will simply remove the old lenses and put in new ones, giving your old frames a new lease of life. Alternatively, you can donate your glasses to charity. OneSight accept used and broken glasses and process them for responsible recycling and uses the profits to provide free and affordable eye healthcare to people all around the world. Similarly, Lions Clubs around the UK collect spectacles for reuse via Chichester Lions. Take your old pairs to a Lions Club eyeglass donation bin in your town, or mail them to the Lions Clubs International headquarters. Visit here for more details on how and where to send them.
If there's anything you're still unsure of, visit Recycle Now's website for their comprehensive guide on recycling.