Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

At GreenHome, we advocate Zero Waste.  However when Zero Waste is not possible we need to turn to other options rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle.

Recycling is incorrectly dubbed as one of the easiest ways to help save the planet.  Furthermore recycling is the one that people are most familiar with, however, Zero Waste is Not Recycling More, But Less.

People seem to think that recycling requires separation of recyclables in the home – this is not always the case as many recycling service providers will accept mixed recyclable materials which they sort.  So you can place them all into one bin or bag either for delivery to a local recycling service provider or curbside collection available in some areas.

The primary materials suitable for recycling are paper, glass and metals.  Not all plastics are recyclable and many are in fact downcycyled and made into items of lesser value than the original item, accordingly GreenHome promotes saying NO to plastics.

If you aren’t already recycling or recycling as much as you possibly can, we challenge you to start and / or up the ante on your recycling efforts.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how few things you actually have to throw out on rubbish day.

Below are some guidelines to recyclables:

Paper

  • Newspapers
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Toilet roll and kitchen roll inners
  • Egg boxes
  • Gift wrap
  • Magazines
  • Waste paper

Glass

  • Wine bottles
  • Beer bottles
  • Sauce bottles e.g. chutney, tomato sauce, mustard
  • Jam jars

Metal

  • Cool drink cans
  • Food cans
  • Lids and tops

An important note on recycling Tetra Pak commonly used for milk cartons and juice boxes:  Tetra Pak is made up of a number of components which are layered:

  • Paperboard (made from wood)
  • Polyethylene (a type of plastic) and
  • Aluminum

These different components give Tetra Pak its unique properties: keeping the liquids in and the microbes out, and provides a strong yet lightweight container.  When a Tetra Pak is recycled, all these component parts need to be separated out – which comes at a cost.  So here are some alternatives to Tetra Pak:

  • Choose glass over Tetra Pak containers. Glass can be recycled back into new glass products. You can find wine, milk, juice and oil in glass so there’s no need to buy these items in a Tetra Pak.
  • For items like chopped tomatoes, use steel cans, which can be recycled.
  • Consider refillables, or making your own.  Juicing your own fruit is far tastier than drinking sweetened, preservative-laden juice in cartons, and it’s healthier too!