At Halloween, as the sun goes down and night draws in, us humans transform into everything and anything, from ghosts to ghouls, witches to wizards, and the odd giant Tellytubby. As if by magic, we turn from one thing into another.
And this got us thinking about recycling, and how, in a way, the same process occurs. You hand over your waste and we work our own magic to turn it into something else. But have you ever thought what might become of that old bit of cardboard or that plastic bottle you threw away? Well, we’ve got some news for you – they may just be coming back to haunt you (in a good way!). Check out what we’re going on about below…
Those daily newspapers you read can be turned right back into new newspapers. Which is great, considering they are generally read and disposed of pretty quickly. But that’s not all newsprint fibre is good for – it can also be used to create cereal boxes, egg cartons and much more. So, next time you sit down for breakfast with the Sunday paper, you may look at both items a little differently.
The nightmare of plastic continues, but recycling any plastic bottles we use is one way of preventing them from entering our oceans. And guess what – just 10 of these bottles can be used to make a new t-shirt, and 14 to create enough insulation for a ski jacket. Don’t forget to recycle the bottle caps either, as these can be turned into garden rakes, car batteries, storage containers and so much more besides.
A lot of people aren’t aware printer cartridges can be recycled. But they can, and, once they’re broken down, they can be turned into all sorts of things. The plastic from the cartridges can be melted down and transformed into pens, pencil cases and mouse mats (just to name a few). Leftover toner can be used in an innovative paving product called TonerPave. The metal parts are processed and re-used. And any other remaining parts are turned into eWood, a synthetic timber used for furniture, sheds and fencing products. Wow, that’s a hardworking printer cartridge!
Another versatile material, glass can be recycled right back into new glass bottles and jars, as well as a wide range of other things. It can be turned into glass wool insulation for homes, which also helps with energy efficiency, borosilicate glass, which creates heat-resistant cooking equipment (like Pyrex), and lead glass, for all your fancy glassware. Eco-friendly dinner party sorted then.
From the PlayStation to the Xbox, games consoles are one of those things that constantly get upgraded – and, subsequently, old versions are quickly discarded. But these out-of-date consoles have life in them yet. Their Call of Duty days may be over, but they’re full of some pretty useful metals. These include steel, which can be used for computer casings, car parts and beams, platinum and palladium, which can be transformed into catalytic convertors and mobile phones, and gold and silver (and platinum again), which can make some pretty beautiful jewellery, including engagement rings!
And these five materials are just touching the surface of what we can recycle. If you’re interested in finding out more, or would like help with your own recycling, just get in touch!