Recycling is one of those things that we always intend to do ‘when we have the time’, but it always seems to find itself in the too hard basket.
With busy kids and families, who has time to recycle right?
The answer is: you.
Recycling is not too difficult, it’s not too complicated, and it’s not a massive time commitment. There are some simple things you can do on a daily basis to have a ‘recycle’ attitude in your house, and benefits for everyone involved. For parents, recycling offers a chance for you to benefit the world your kids will ultimately inherit, and it offers kids an opportunity to be better educated in how to take care of their own environment.
So here are some simple ways that you can keep things green at home with the recycler’s motto: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
1. Make Recycling Easy
The first step in having a recycling attitude to your life is to make recycling really, really easy. The best way to do that is to have a defined area for your recycling to go, and to make it easy for everyone in your household to understand what it means to recycle. Having a proper recycling bin, with a label about what can and cannot go in the bin, and teaching your family about rinsing and washing recyclable goods might be a big step at first, but soon it will be second nature, and your family will be making a difference.
2. Reduce Plastic & Packaging
Reduction starts with you every single time you walk into a shopping centre. Try and opt for items that are minimally packaged, not pre-cut and not processed, particularly when it comes to fresh produce. Also, choose glass jars over plastic ones, as these can be repurposed and are easier to recycle. At the till, buy reusable shopping bags made of cloth instead of getting plastic all the time, and avoid packing your fruit and vegetables in small plastic bags then inevitably end up in the trash.
3. Reuse Where You Can
The modern world has almost entirely moved away from repairing items. Now it seems we prefer to just throw things away and buy more new things. This is definitely not a recycle-friendly attitude. So the next time something breaks at home, have a go at repairing it. This might be a chair, or some clothing, or even a household item, but you’ll be surprised how often a little TLC and ingenuity can increase the life of something. Of course nobody is expecting you to be a repair whiz, especially for technology, but do your best!
4. Embrace Repurposed Goods
If you’re someone who likes to create things, this is one recycle-friendly change you will definitely love. Crafters and DIY fanatics are lovers of repurposed goods, and now you and your family can be as well. Repurposing is all about taking something that might be useless in it’s original purpose, and giving it new life as something else. So broken plates become mosaic tiles, jars became vases and storage solutions, and that’s just the beginning. You’ll find lots of other inspiration and ideas on Pinterest.
5. Avoid Always Buying New
If you really can’t repair something that’s broken, you need to replace something, or you just really want something, there are always other options to buying new. One of our favourite things about a recycling attitude is how well it fits in with our love of second-hand items. The op-shop is a wonderful place to go for clothes and furnishings, but outside of those shops is a thriving second-hand market. Check out Facebook and Gumtree for what your heart desires, before you head to the supermarket.
6. Start A Garden
One amazing way to follow a recycling attitude is to take the middleman out of your shopping experience altogether by starting your own garden. Now this might be in your own backyard, or as a member of a community garden plot. Even if you only grow a few plants, you’ll be subsidising your grocery bill and your eco footprint. If the climate is right, try and grow the vegetables that your family loves to eat, which might be expensive. Things like eggplants, cherry tomatoes, basil and spinach are straightforward to grow, easy to harvest, and deliciously recycle-friendly!
7. Get A Compost Bin
There’s a lot of misinformation going around about compost bins, and it’s really a shame that so many people consider them to be too complicated, or too smelly, to have in their homes. On the contrary compost bins are very simple to set up, very cheap, and absolutely worthwhile if you have any kind of garden or lawn. A twice-yearly (depending on the size of your bin) spreading of compost will do wonders to any garden, and as long as you don’t put the wrong things in them, they won’t get on your nose.
These are just some ideas to get you started, but there are so many other things you can do. Remember, recycling is about more than just different bins, it’s an entire attitude that you can apply to your life and make a great difference for the future.