At Gateway, one way we embody our Pocket & Planet purpose is by trying to use resources as least wastefully as possible.
Reducing waste by recycling and reusing doesn’t have to be hard – a lot of it comes down to forethought and coordination, which leads to greater convenience and, in time, the development of good recycling habits.
Whilst it may not seem impactful at first, over time reducing waste, recycling, and reusing can help reduce your environmental impact. Read the information below to learn how to reduce waste in your home and make recycling a habit.
Do a Recycling Refresher
Recycling habits can sometimes fall to the wayside which can lead to recycling incorrectly. Refresh your memory from time to time by re-reading the labels on your recycling and general waste bins.
If incorrect items are placed in your recycling bin, they can spoil other items which could make them hard to recycle and they can end up being sent to landfill.
Labels on Packaging
Pay attention to the recycling labels on packaging as some packaging can have several components that have separate recycling instructions.
To learn more about labels on packaging, visit Planet Ark’s RecyclingNearYou.com.au.
Setting up a recycling system in your house can help create good recycling habits. If space permits, consider two bins with one for recycling and one for general waste.
For packaged items that need to be returned to store, organise a designated box or container.
Another simple tip is that items that are too small for recycling alone – such as beer bottle caps – can be recycled in larger quantities by putting them in a larger container which has a lid. They just need to be the same material, i.e., steel in a larger steel container or aluminium in a larger aluminium container. Once the larger container is full, put the lid on tightly and place in the recycling bin.
Utilise your Council Waste Disposal Services
Many local councils offer waste disposal services for items that cannot be placed in your household’s kerbside bin. If you pay council rates, you should receive a certain number of waste disposal services for free each year. Check your local council’s website or call them up to see what services they offer. You may need council disposal services for items such as:
- Electrical appliances
- Printers and scanners
- Gas bottles
Research Businesses that Accept Waste Items
There are many businesses and local places that provide coordination and convenience when it comes to recycling household items:
- Officeworks have bins for people to drop off their used stationery, such as pens and highlighters – simply having a container in the household to gather old pens and highlighters, means that you can grab them to drop off when heading there.
- Retailers such as Rebel Sport and The Athlete’s Foot will accept old, worn-out runners and other sports shoes. These are then collected, and the materials are separated and used in the manufacture of products such as gym mats and playground materials.
- Pet shops often want paper for shredding for the bottom of pet cages - they also want old bath towels, hand towels and even tea towels for their small animals to snuggle with at night.
Reuse and Repurpose
Reusing and repurposing items can extend their life and at times it could even save you money.
If you aren’t already in the habit of reusing, you may want to consider how you can do so. Whilst it might require effort at first it can eventually become an easy habit to maintain.
If you don’t feel you need to repurpose anything, ask your friends, neighbours, or work mates if they need any of the items you dispose of regularly. Online Marketplaces are a great way to give items away for others to reuse and repurpose. Look through a few of the marketplaces such as eBay, freecycle or Gumtree to get some ideas on what you can put on there. Some ideas for reusing and repurposing:
Old clothes can be turned into pyjamas, gym clothes or worn when gardening and cleaning. If they are in good condition donate them to charity or pass on to friends or family to give them a new life.
You can find almost any item of clothing second-hand – both online and in-store – and what you find is often just as good as new (and less than half the price!).
Digital platforms like Depop, Vestiaire Collective, and Facebook Marketplace are all great for buying or selling second hand clothing.
If you prefer shopping in-store, large op-shop chains you can find in most Australian states include:
If op-shops aren’t your thing, arrange a clothes swap, or make it a fun night-in with friends – and this way, you already know what’s in your friends’ wardrobes. Anything not swapped, goes to charity.
A clothes swap doesn’t have to stop at your own garments - have one for your kids’ clothes too. Children grow so quickly, and clothes often become too small before they’ve become properly worn. If you don’t have many parent-friends, arrange an event with your local playgroup or daycare.
If you do need to buy new, the goal is to buy fewer items of higher quality which will last you longer. Buy less, choose well, and make it last.
Consider selling or giving away furniture you no longer use for others to reuse. If you’d like something new you could try giving furniture an uplift by painting it or staining it a new colour.
Vinnies and Red Cross accept old furniture, which can then be passed onto others in need of affordable furnishings for their home.
Bits and Bobs
Glass jars, champagne or wine corks, plastic bags and wood are some examples of items that can be repurposed.
If you tend to collect a lot over time, you can give them away by advertising them on Online Marketplaces, donating them to local recycling services, or asking around to see if your friends and family need them.
Have a look online to see what local recycling services are available in your area. If you are Sydney based, you may be able to donate items to Reverse Garbage. Visit their website to learn about their purpose and their donation process.
Gateway’s Pocket & Planet
Making real and positive environmental changes can feel overwhelming – but starting out small and implementing any of the recycling and repurposing tips mentioned in this blog is a start.
To understand Gateway’s Pocket & Planet purpose, visit our Pocket & Planet page for further information on the types of ethical products and services we offer, as well as key blogs that explore eco initiatives.