In our consumer-driven, throwaway society, recycling is an easy way to do your bit towards the environment. Instead of something being used only once and then thrown into a landfill, where it could take decades to degrade, it can be converted into something new and useful again. This cuts down on the space required to bury waste and also reduces the need for mining and cutting down more trees.

It may seem like a lot of extra work to recycle, but in fact it only requires a bit of organisation and perhaps a few minutes a day. Here’s how to do it:


The first step is to separate out what can be recycled and what can’t. These are all recyclable:

  • Plastic bottles from soft drinks, detergents or toiletries
  • Plastic containers like ice-cream, margarine or feta tubs
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Cardboard from toilet rolls, boxes, and cereal cartons
  • Newspapers
  • Junk mail and ordinary paper
  • Metal tins and cans

Create a storage space

Set aside a shelf, box or bag so you can immediately put your recycling there. If you have space to separate out the above things into separate bags or boxes, do that up front. Otherwise you will need to do it when you drop it off.

Rinse if necessary

If the container held or stored food, like a tin or plastic tub, give it a quick wash after you’ve finished your normal washing up. Putting a smelly tuna tin in the recycling bag and then leaving it there for a couple of weeks is quickly going to put you off recycling for life!

Drop off

Find a recycling depot near you and regularly drop off what you’ve accumulated. These are often located near shopping centres or other public places with a lot of traffic. Ask around though as they are sometimes hidden behind a building. There will usually be a bin each for at least glass, paper, plastic and metal so if you haven’t separated out your recycling as you stored them, now’s the time to do it.

Another alternative, if you’re prepared to pay for it, is to get one of the many companies now providing the service to regularly pick up your recycling, rather than dropping it off yourself.

Either way, keep it up and you can savour that feel-good sense that you’ve done something small towards saving our planet!

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