Recycling: Top Ten Tips

Recycling means a lot more than throwing bottles into green boxes. The eco-friendly outlooks is also about reducing the amount of brand new products we buy, purchasing items made from recycled material and reusing as much as humanly possible.


In 2003/4, UK households produced 30.5 million tonnes of waste and only 17% was collected for recycling, so there's plenty of room for improvement.

  1. Let your council help
    Local authorities are constantly improving door-to-door collections, so make use of their facilities. They'll take care of glass, plastic, paper, cans and garden cuttings. This is a no-brainer!

  2. Part and parcel
    Buy products with less packaging - why spend money on something you throw away? For items you use regularly, buying in bulk reduces excess card and plastic.

  3. Pass it on
    Charity shops and Freecycle are a great way to pass on unwanted items - and if you want some cash back, try a car boot sale or eBay!

  4. Toxic
    Many cleaning products contain harmful chemicals. Make sure you use all of the product so nothing remains in the container when you get rid of it or, even better, choose eco-friendly alternatives.

  5. Electric alternatives
    Some retailers are happy to take back old electrical items and most can be used for parts. Your local council may also accept them at their waste recycling centre.

  6. Interior designs
    Furniture and accessories made from reclaimed or recycled material such as glass, wood or plastic are becoming increasingly stylish and innovative. Think solid craftsmanship instead of flimsy, disposable flatpacks.

  7. Postal services
    Put up a sign to ward off junk mail and re-use envelopes by sticking labels over the address or recycle them. For things like bank statements, why not view them online rather than having them posted?

  8. Put IT to good use
    To schools and charities, your old PC or those belonging to your workplace may be a godsend. Visit [Computers For, Recycle IT or look at Waste Online for a list of computer recyclers.

  9. Battery powered
    Only a few local authorities operate battery collection schemes, but it's likely that battery recycling will be obligatory from 2008 and then shops and special collection points will take them off our hands - or how about the rechargeable option?

  10. Fantastic, it's not plastic!
    150,000,000 plastic bags are used in the UK every week and each takes around a 100 years to rot away. Reuse them or take canvas bags to the supermarket - they're easier to carry and won't split.