7 Tips to Take Your Recycling to the Next Level [LIST]

Got your paper, plastic and aluminum sorting down pat? Time to take it up a notch!

Jan 13, 2015
Special Collections: REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE
Recycled tires in a garden

Upcycling: the next step up from recycling (Shutterstock)

Over the past decade or so, recycling has become the norm in most of the Western world - that is, when it comes to paper, plastics, aluminium and glass. Chances are, you already know which bin is for what, where to leave it and when they get collected. You might have even taken Goodnet’s fun quiz on the topic.
With a fantastic start on taking responsibility for your personal impact on the environment, are you ready to take your recycling to the next level? Read on.

1. DONATE, SWAP OR GIVE AWAY

Finding a new home for preloved clothes, books and knick-knacks is another way to recycle - and it can be fun, too. A clothes swap with friends is a great excuse to come together and exchange garments - and any leftover items can be donated afterwards. Social media can also come in handy to get rid of stuff - you’d be surprised at how many of your friends are looking for just the thing you want to clear out of the house!

Clothes for donation

Clear out your wardrobe and help the environment at the same time (Shutterstock)

2. RECYCLE YOUR COFFEE PODS

If you enjoy your morning coffee from a machine that uses pods, find out if the manufacturer has a recycling program that you can use to dispose of used capsules. The Nespresso program, for example, provides customers with free ziploc recycling bags for home pickup or store collection, and then separates the aluminum and coffee grounds for respective recycling. Loose coffee grounds can also be recycled - just get in touch with your local council for more details.
Drink your cup of joe at the office? Do your part at the workplace to be eco-friendly, too.

Coffee pod

Make your coffee eco-friendly (Shutterstock)

3. THINK ZERO WASTE

Anytime you buy a packaged item, be mindful of about how easy it’s going to be to recycle. Think of it this way - if you don’t bring it home, you won’t need to work out how to recycle it. These ideas for ways to live a zero waste lifestyle and creative packaging initiatives can help you get on the right track.

Canvas tote at supermarket

Canvas tote equals less plastic bags (Shutterstock)

4. RECYCLE YOUR ELECTRONICS

Digital devices and machines can be recycled, too! Assuming they can’t be repaired, or donated, there are many easy, responsible ways to dispose of your unwanted electronic items. Again, you can get in touch with your local council to find out about initiatives operating in your area - and check out Alex’s journey to the world’s largest electronic dump site in Ghana for inspiration.

Computer drives ready for recycling

Computer harddrives ready for recycling (Shutterstock)

5. GET INTO UPCYCLING

Whether you get creative yourself or support artists’ efforts, upcycling is an out-of-the-box way to minimize garbage. Buy upcycled jewelry or repurposed items, or put your thinking cap on and come up with your own ways to reuse objects instead of throwing them out.  

Earrings made from upcycled circuit boards

Earrings made from upcycled circuit boards (Techcycled)

6. GET AN EXTRA PAPER RECYCLING BIN

Most people have a trashcan somewhere in the house other than the kitchen - in the bathroom or office, for example - that ends up receiving a lot of paper. A small recycling bin or even a cardboard box can funnel out that extra paper and make you a recycling master.

Paper recycling

Advanced paper recycling (Shutterstock)

7. BUY RECYCLED PRODUCTS

While it may be a reality of modern living that we need to buy things - exactly what you buy is totally up to you. Buying products made from recycled materials whenever possible - especially paper and plastic - can help minimize your carbon footprint even more. A big bonus is that such goods are generally of a high quality, ethically sourced, and thoughtfully designed.

recycled paper products

Lucky for us, recycled paper is pretty as can be (Shutterstock)

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