Menu Close

Month: February 2018

Emma vs Stuff

A hoarder attempts to declutter in an environmentally friendly way…

I have too much stuff.

A few weeks ago, as of writing this blog, I (Emma) was trying to find the will to tidy up. I had four baskets of laundry that needed doing, I had at least one basket of ironed clothes that needed putting away, I had Christmas decorations to pack away, I had letters from my bank that needed filing, and I had new gifts from Christmas and my birthday that I needed to find space for.

That’s when it hit me. The reason that it felt so overwhelming to begin tidying is that I have far too much stuff.

I didn’t want to put my clothes away because there was barely any space in my wardrobe or drawers, I didn’t want to put my DVDs on the shelf because I didn’t have room, and I didn’t want to put away my bank statements because the folder was full.

How did it get to this point?

Well simply, I have long been reluctant to throw anything away for environmental reasons. Charity shops, where I’d wager most people dispose of their old items, are overrun with the castoffs from fast fashion and are unable to shift it- so they sell perfectly usable clothes as rags (to make some money) or send them to developing countries (which hurts the local textile/garment industry and the economy as a whole)- and are outright refusing or binning some items because they can’t make money from them (VHS tapes/cheap kids toys).

Besides, what if someday I fit back into that dress/ discover how to dismantle that perfume bottle/ find the lock that fits the key that I’ve had in my desk drawer since 2007/ want to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on video?

I’ve known for a while that this hoarding is a tendency of mine and up until this year, I had decided just not to buy new stuff, but that doesn’t solve the problem.

In 2018, I’ve been attempting to get rid of my excess stuff in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment and I wanted to share with you what I’ve learnt.

Sell things

As discussed above, sometimes charity shops cannot sell donated items but that doesn’t mean you can’t. It began as an experiment with VHS tapes because I couldn’t find anywhere that would take them or how they could be recycled and I listed various videos that I didn’t want anymore on eBay because I had some free listings.

I had expected them not to sell at all, but a couple of them sold quickly. This might be because it’s rare to find that film/tv programme nowadays or because someone is still refusing to get a DVD player. Either way, they escaped the landfill.

I’ve done the same thing with several empty perfume bottles that I’ve been hiding at the bottom of my wardrobe because I wasn’t able to separate the glass bottle from the metal/plastic spray nozzle for recycling. Turns out some people really like to collect perfume bottles… why knew?

I even print the labels on scrap paper and use old cardboard boxes to send the items.

Remember, just because you’re being kind to the environment, that doesn’t mean you can’t make money.

Donating direct to people/organisations that can use the items

Again, if charity shops are overrun with goods that are made to suit fad fashion, then why not donate the goods direct to people who can use them. This might mean listing items on Freegle or Freecycle or googling “donate [item] Portsmouth”.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve donated a few bedding sets and some clothes to the local women’s refuge (someone collects them as they cannot give out the address for safety reasons), quilt covers and pillows to The Lifehouse, a homeless resource centre in Southsea, travel-size toiletries (collected from hotels over the years) to Two Saints, another homeless shelter, and donated cat treats and toys that my cat doesn’t like to The Stubbington Ark RSPCA Animal Shelter to feed/entertain their rescue cats.

You may even find that someone you know is looking for an item, so update your Facebook status or send out a tweet. I donated my grandma’s moving boxes to a friend who owns an online business and ships large items and got rid of my many empty Lush pots to friends who wanted a free face mask.

Even stuff that isn’t in good condition can still have a use. My cat routinely claws clothing, bedding, blankets etc. and in the past month, I’ve donated ripped bedding to The Stubbington Ark for use as bedding for their animals and ripped clothing to the PDSA as rags- the charity can get money from the rag merchant and recycling credits from the government.

I’m not going to lie. It hasn’t always been easy to find the most environmentally friendly way to declutter but it has been worth it. Hopefully, at the end of the year, I can tell you that I’ve been able to declutter without damaging the environment.

Do you have any tips on eco-friendly ways to declutter? Let me know in the comments below.

How to Recycle in Portsmouth 2: Recycling the Unrecyclable

In one of our very first posts back in August, we talked about what can be recycled in our lovely port city of Portsmouth, both at kerbside and at recycling banks scattered across the city.

 

To quickly recap, the council kerbside collection accepts metal cans, tins and aerosols, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard as well as small electrical equipment (WEEE). Easy peasy lemon squeezy as I (Tamara) don’t have to leave my house.

 

For those adventurous souls who like to venture into the great outdoors, there is a mix of council, charity, and supermarket recycling banks across the city that accept a variety of materials – mostly textiles, glass jars and bottles, and printer cartridges. But let’s not forget my piece de resistance – mixed plastics at Sainsbury’s.

 

Though I am pleased I can reduce my waste through recycling mixed plastics, it does require more effort than kerbside collection as I have to leave my house – you know how I feel about that!! I have rocked up to Sainsbury’s Farlington with a car full to the brim – and this is no exaggeration – with mixed plastics from my household, my next-door neighbour, and at least 5 other people from Portsmouth Green Party who don’t have cars. And then…prepare yourself for the horror….the recycling bank is overflowing and I have to take it all back home again. Bloody pain, I tell you! First world problems, I know – but incredibly frustrating nonetheless! So much so, I took it upon myself to contact Sainsbury’s to ask about their scheduled emptying of the banks and they notified me that they had ordered a second bin to the store to accommodate all the recyclable plastic. I’m rock ‘n roll like that!

 

 

Enough of my ranting. Let’s turn our green dial up and look at the other household bits and bobs that can also be recycled in Pompey at supermarket collection points and recycling banks. 

Household Batteries

batteries

Collection bins for domestic batteries can be found in most chain supermarkets – and not just the larger superstores but also, for example, your local Tesco Express. Check the supermarkets you frequent the most and I guarantee you will find a battery collection bin.  My nearest one is at my local Co-Op. You can also locate your nearest battery recycling online. A quick postcode search on Recycle More shows collection points at a variety of shops including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, One-Stop, Toys ‘R’ Us, Debenhams, Mothercare, and Maplin Electronics – but remember not all options are necessarily listed online or in one place.

 

Since 2010, a change in the law means that larger providers that sell batteries also need to provide in-store collection for used batteries. Tesco has battery-recycling points at all Express, Metro, Superstore, and Extra stores and also accepts batteries from mobile phones, laptops, hearing aids, watches, cameras, cordless power tools, electric toothbrushes, razors and hand-held vacuum cleaners. Sainsbury’s also offer a take back scheme for all portable waste batteries. Lots of other stores also have collection bins for batteries – just keep your eyes peeled.

 

It is so important to recycle batteries as if disposed of in landfill they can leach chemicals into the ground causing soil and water pollution. The majority of our waste in Pompey is incinerated and burning batteries can cause atmospheric pollution. A large proportion of batteries bought in the UK are not recycled and end up with household waste. Prevent these toxins from entering our environment and recycle your batteries!

 

You can also consider switching to rechargeable batteries which are a greener, more cost-effective option and can also be recycled at the end of their lifespan!

 

A final note, check the batteries of your smoke alarms and, unless it is a ten-year alarm, remember to change (and recycle!) the batteries once a year.

 

 

Plastic Carrier Bags

I have noticed collection points for recycling plastic carrier bags at some larger supermarkets such as the Commercial Road Sainsbury’s and the Palmerston Road Waitrose [and the Commercial Road and North Habour Tesco’s- Emma].

 

Some of these collection points also allow for other packaging films to be included such as plastic bread bags and the plastic wrappers from toilet roll and kitchen towel packs. I will write a follow-up post on this as I want to be sure of what exactly can be included before I send you off on a recycling pilgrimage!

 

Water Filters

 

Online search facilities have failed me on this one – however, luckily Emma, our Instagram Queen, spotted that the big Tescos at North Harbour has a recycling station for water filters cartridges. Other than Tescos, the only other option I am aware of is collection points for  BRITA branded water filters. These can be recycled locally at Boots, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Argos, where boxes are provided for the collection of used Brita cartridges.

 

Cartons

juice carton

Juice cartons, milk cartons, cartons for tomatoes and soup…I wish I could tell you these can be recycled locally. But sadly, they can’t. Don’t get me wrong, it is totally possible to recycle cartons and tetrapaks – Portsmouth City Council just doesn’t provide this facility.

Some of you have asked us if cartons can be recycled with kerbside recycling of paper and card or at Sainsbury’s mixed plastic banks. Good question but the answer is unfortunately no. This is because cartons are made of a mix of paper, plastic and aluminium foil and so would contaminate either the paper or plastics collection if included.

The nearest permanent carton recycling banks I have found through Recycle Now are in Bognor Regis and Chandlers Ford. Southampton City Council is currently trialling mixed plastics recycling banks which happily for our neighbouring city does include cartons (tetrapaks) as well as plastics like plastic meat and ready meal trays and plastic bottle tops. I am seriously jealous. This is my call to action – if Southampton can have cartons recycling, so can Pompey!!!

 

Energy Saving Light Bulbs

lightbulb

Let’s end on a bright note – haha, do you see what I did there? I am pleased to tell you that recycling light bulbs are pretty straightforward. Old style standard light bulbs cannot be recycled but energy saving light bulbs – which are a type of fluorescent lamp – can be recycled. Robert Dyas, Commercial Road Sainsbury’s and Curry’s PC World all have collection points/ recycling banks for energy saving light bulbs.

 

Have you spotted any recycling banks or collection points that I have missed? What other recycling facilities would you like to see in Portsmouth? Let us know in the comments below. And ’til next time, Happy Recycling!

 

© 2018 Shades of Green. All rights reserved.

Theme by Anders Norén.