Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — Rethink?

We all try to do our part when it comes to cleaning up. We work to reduce our daily waste, we re-use where we can — and, of course, we recycle. We separate paper, plastics, and aluminium into their own bins, and we know every little bit helps.

However, we often forget a crucial step in the process: Keeping up with the times. We stay up-to-date on the latest medical advances and we know all about the latest home entertainment options, but how often do we think about what advances are being made in recycling? Waste disposal experts Map Waste tell us about some of the waste which can easily be recycled at your local waste disposal centre.

Coffee Cups

The paper coffee cup is one of the most disposable products ever created. Not only is it a lightweight, cheap vessel, but the combination of plastic with paper and the dregs of your morning cuppa make it a nightmare for recycling. It’s no wonder that the UK recycles only 0.25 per cent of its 30,000 tonnes of coffee cups every year.

Switching to a reusable coffee cup is the best long-term option. While that change slowly takes place, corporations and environmental charities are working to make it easier to recycle your spent paper cups. Costa Coffee funds a national recycling scheme, while Starbucks has helped to found The Cup Fund to increase access to coffee cup recycling.

Contact Lenses

Disposable contact lenses generate more trash than just lenses themselves. The packaging to keep them sterile until they are ready to use often winds up in the landfill, as well. Don’t even think of reusing the lenses. The light and fragile material dries out quickly, making them good for only one use.

Bravo, then, to optometrists like Davina Dosanjh who are setting up collection points to recycle used lenses and their packaging. These recycled plastics can find their way into outdoor furniture and other durable goods.

Disposable Nappies

Who would even think of recycling a soiled, disposable nappy? 187 billion are discarded worldwide every year. Even well-meaning parents who try to switch to reusable nappies often find themselves reaching for the convenience of a disposable.

But even disposable nappies can have a second life. Procter & Gamble has backed an Italian plant that can shred, sterilize, and reclaim all of the material in the nappy. That material can then find its way into plastic, paper, or even return to its old work in the form of cat litter. 

 Banana peel fertilizer

This fertilizer is easy to make and is also a great way to use banana peels fast. Most plants need amounts of these top macronutrients:

  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen
  • Potassium

Many plants need nitrogen, while others need more phosphorus and still, others need a high level of potassium. You can make banana peel fertilizer for use on almost any plant. Potassium helps your plants to move water and nutrients between cells. It strengthens the stems of plants and protects them from disease. It is used to help the flowering process and is able to improve the quality of the fruit of your plants. 

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About the Author: Paul Petersen

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