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Tag: unrecyclable

How to recycle in Portsmouth Part 3: Recycling the unrecyclable again

Here at Shades of Green, we receive messages on an almost daily basis about how to recycle certain items and we really love it. You’re keeping us on our toes and getting our green brains to work that much faster, so thank you for that.

So far, Tamara has shown you how to recycle all that you can through kerbside recycling or at the various recycling banks across Portsmouth and she’s even improved on that in a blog about items that take a little more effort to recycle.

This month I (Emma) am jumping on her recycling bandwagon and showing you how to recycle some of the most unrecyclable items that I’ve found in my home.

 

Elastic Bands

Pile of rubber bands

Dear Posties of Portsmouth, why you gotta keep dropping elastic bands on the pavement? Uncool.

If you want to get rid of a surplus of elastic bands, you could donate them to your local library (as my dad does), schools, or any other underfunded community group that needs to do admin work. It’s not recycling, but it is reusing and that’s much better.

Bonus points awarded for picking up elastic bands you find on the street or asking your postie not to drop them on the floor.

 

Pringles Cans (other brands are available)

Four pringles tubes

Picture by Like_The_Grand_Canyon on Flickr

I definitely eat waaaaaay more Pringles than the average person. This used to make me feel bad because the cans can’t be recycled… Or can they?!

Shocker! The majority of the Pringles can is recyclable if you’re prepared to do a little work. Want to learn how? Check out this video!

The only thing that I would add is that you need to just use your fingernails to pull the non-recyclable inner lining of the Pringles tube away from the cardboard. It’s a bit like finding the end on a roll of tape.

The metal bottom and the cardboard goes in your kerbside recycling, the plastic top goes in the plastic recycling skip at Sainsbury’s,  and the only thing to go into the bin in the silvery plastic-paper-foil covering inside the can.

 

Pens

Picture of pens that can be recycled

Milton Cross School has recently launched a pen recycling scheme in conjunction with TerraCycle, a recycling company that we’ve spoken about a few times on this blog.
Milton Cross will be collecting all kinds of writing implements for recycling, except for pencils and crayons. This includes:

  • Any brand of pen
  • Felt tips
  • Highlighters
  • Tippex Pots
  • Mechanical Pencils
  • Eraser Pens

Deborah Mason at Milton Cross said that it’s part of the school’s drive to be more environmentally friendly. She said the school sees a lot of waste and they wanted to reduce this while also teaching the students how to be greener. The money raised will be donated to the Lord Mayor’s Charity.
If you want to recycle your pens with Milton Cross, you can drop the recycling off in their secure lobby and they are looking into getting collection points in other parts of the city.

 

Now, I’d like to hear from you. How do you feel about being able to recycle these items? Are there any other items that you would like to see Shade of Green attempt to recycle? Let us know in the comments and we may feature it in our next blog.

How to eco-hack your Christmas

Christmas is my favourite time of year- it’s one long party for me (Emma) from December 21st until January 5th- but I think everyone can agree that it’s not the most eco-friendly of holidays. Food waste, excess packaging and single-use items all add up to a pretty bad time for the environment.

So what should we do to tackle this?

Decorations

Adorable cat under playing under the Christmas Tree

In almost every shop, you’ll find cheap Christmas decorations (in too much hard-to-recycle packaging) that are made to be put up in December and binned in January. This is not good enough.

  • Buy a real tree: As Tamara told you at the beginning of the month, she has an actual tree from a sustainable source and that’s much better than plastic trees.
  • Invest in long-lasting decorations: If you don’t think you have the money to invest in decorations that will stand the test of time, take a look around charity shops and fetes for second-hand decorations that are a lot cheaper.
  • Take care of your decorations: Keep decorations out of reach of little hands and curious animals, wrap delicate items in tissue paper and pack them in hard boxes when storing.
  • Create a theme: Resist the urge to buy trendy decorations (like an ornament featuring a Dabbin’ Santa) and create a theme that won’t go out of style.

Presents

Gift decorated with a pinecone and conifer needles

There’s nothing wrong with presents at Christmas but there are some inherent problems with how we give presents.

  • Second-hand items: While many people would only ever dream of buying presents from a store or online retailer, you can get some really rare goods by shopping second-hand. (Side note: If any of my friends are reading – click here)
  • Make your own: If you’re a crafty person, you’ll find it’s a lot more ethical to make your own presents because you can control the whole process, i.e. eliminate all animal byproducts from your baked goods or use eco-safe dyes on your scarves.
  • Charity Gifts: Everyone has one person that refuses presents during the holiday period (and on their birthdays) because they have all they need- they don’t want another keying with their initials or another mug with their favourite animal on it and they especially don’t want a book that they’ll never have time to read. Make a donation in their name to their favourite cause.
  • Don’t use wrapping paper: I know it’s cute and Beyoncé’s even got her own range now but wrapping paper is expensive and a blight on the environment (because many contain plastic or foil and are not recyclable). Try newspapers, outdated maps or plain brown paper instead.

Food

A food feast fit for a queen

My favourite thing about this time of year is eating all the food but there’s a lot of waste involved with the Christmas dinner.

  • Cut out excess packaging: Look for sweets and cookies that aren’t individually wrapped to seriously cut down on your packaging waste or better yet make your own.
  • Cook for yourself: Channel your inner Nigella by making your own nut roast (non-veggie options are available), sauce, and even Yorkshire Puddings from scratch rather than buying ready-made items which come with a ton of packaging.
  • Don’t buy food you don’t like: There are some foods that are traditionally associated with Christmas (Sprouts, Clementines, Quality Street) but some are bought, cooked, and abandoned without going anywhere near your mouth. Please don’t buy food that will just go to waste.
  • Use leftovers: What meat-eating person (so, not me) doesn’t love using up turkey in the days after Christmas? Sandwiches, curries, pasta, and more. Make sure to use up the veg too- even sprouts taste nice when hidden in a curry!

So that’s my top tips for making Christmas more eco-friendly, but I want to hear about yours. Let me know in the comments below.

If you celebrate a different holiday and would like to write a guest post for Shades of Green about making it more eco, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at blog@portsmouth.greenparty.org.uk or comment below.

War on Straws

Earlier this year, for the month of May, my hubby and I  (Tamara) tracked and tried to reduce our non-recyclable waste  I did my best to avoid single-use plastic and to be more mindful of this when I shopped and ate out.

Plastic cutlery and straws have always been a sore spot in our house because I will always bring them home with me and reuse them till they fall apart or my hubby chucks them. My hoarding tendencies drive him mad and soon there was more plastic cutlery in our house than real cutlery!

Straws are such a small thing – but they can’t be recycled easily and straws find their way into our seas and oceans, causing havoc to the sea life. Many moons ago, I bought a metal straw from a Green Fair at Victoria Park for the grand total of £1! I love it and it has pride of place in my kitchen and it even came with a teeny little brush cleaner thingy to stop it going manky. So, refusing straws for one month would be easy…right? Uh…not quite!

 

 

First, most of the time it didn’t even occur to me that I would be given a straw with my drink. So I would be surprised when I received one and then would sheepishly use it anyway. Then, I would remember about the straw after I ordered a drink. And finally, towards the end, I would remember while ordering to state ‘No Straw thanks’ and then would be enraged when 75% of the time, my drink would arrive with a straw in it anyway!

 

Once, I was out for lunch with a friend at Koh Thai Tapas on Elm Grove and was super chuffed with myself for remembering to say no straw at the point of ordering. My delicious ice-filled cocktail arrived without a straw. Yess! I am saving the world one straw at a time! I looked at my drink. It was a very tall glass. My friend looked at it. She took her straw out of her drink and gave it to me. I shook my head defiantly. Never! I shall not yield! I will not be defeated in my mission. I tried to sip my cocktail. My nose bumped into the ice. I sighed and took her straw! I then took her straw home with me and added it to the ‘Bag of Shame’ – what we called the bag that contained all of May’s non-recyclable waste (apart from food waste…cause, Ewww!).

 

 

Though I lost that small battle, my straw vendetta continues. While I love my metal straw, I find it bangs and clanks in my glass at night whenever I sip my water. I was determined to solve this niche first world problem. I turned to my mate Google and bought myself some bamboo straws. Four for £5. Not as cheap as my original metal straw but not too expensive. My friend christened them with a number of gin and tonics – she said they made her feel like she was on holiday! I used one the next day with water and I hated the texture of the bamboo straw in my mouth and it made my water taste weird. Sigh! Maybe I will have to only drink gin and then I’ll be fine with them! So my war on straws continues…

How to Recycle in Portsmouth

Greetings all.

 

If you found your way here, you’re probably looking for some tips on going green in our port city. Don’t worry; I (Tamara) have got all the info you need.

 

I am so pleased to live in a city that has a kerbside recycling collection for most items. Portsmouth City Council’s fortnightly kerbside collection helps me to save the planet while staying in bed! Win win! So, for those of you who may be new to the recycling malarkey – dudes, it couldn’t be easier!

 

Warning – useful information below! 🙂

 

Kerbside Collection
All items must be clean, dry and loose:

Metal:
Drink Cans
Food tins
Aerosols (No lids- Take these to mixed plastic banks)

Plastic: Bottles:
Plastic bottles (No lids- Take these to mixed plastic banks)
Cleaner and detergent bottles
Milk bottles (No lids- Take these to Lush)
Drinks bottles
Toiletries and shampoo bottles

Paper
Newspapers
Envelopes
Junk mail
Magazines
Telephone directories
Window envelopes
Yellow Pages
Greeting cards
Other paper (No shredded paper- Take this to Asda Bridge Centre and Tesco City Centre Crasswell)

EDIT: OCTOBER 2018 – Unfortunately, Asda Bridge Centre no longer accepts shredded paper. Tamara is investigating if Tesco Crasswell Street still accepts it. In the meantime, chuck shredded paper into your compost!

Cardboard:
Cardboard egg boxes
Cardboard fruit and veg punnets (please break down larger boxes)
Cardboard sleeves
Cereal boxes
Corrugated cardboard
Toilet roll tubes

Small electrical items
Small electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in standard sized supermarket carrier bag which must be placed beside or on top of your recycling bin.

 

 

Recycling Banks

 

But wait! There’s more! There are council, charity, and even supermarket recycling banks dotted across our lovely city.  Here, you can recycle other things like glass (of any colour), mixed plastics, batteries, printer ink cartridges and textiles etc.

 

This example is from Tesco North Harbour:

 

 

Mixed Plastics: Recycling Bank at Sainsbury’s

 

I was so chuffed when I realised that the two big Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the city (Commercial Road and Farlington) have banks for mixed plastics because I haven’t seen any other recycling points for mixed plastics in the city. If you have, please do let me know!

 

So once a week, I take my mixed plastics (as well as my housemates’, my next-door neighbour’s and also some lovely Portsmouth Green Party members’ who are car-free) to one of the big Sainsbury’s stores.

 

They accept:

  •         Margarine and ice cream tubs
  •         Confectionary tubs
  •         Rigid plastic food packets
  •         Yogurt pots
  •         Plastic lids from aerosols, bottles, cartons

They do not accept:

  •         Polystyrene
  •         Plastic food wrapping
  •         Plastic bags (but these can be recycled at most big supermarkets)
  •         Cling film
  •         Meat trays
  •         Toys

 

But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t wait till my plastics bin is overflowing before I take a trip to the recycling bank! And I also treat myself to a veggie sausage sandwich at the Sainsbury’s cafe while I’m there. Delish!

 

Useful Websites

Here are the websites that I use most frequently to check recycling locations:

Recycle Now: https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling

Recycle More: https://www.recycle-more.co.uk/bank-locator

Portsmouth City Council: https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/bins-rubbish-and-recycling/recycling.aspx

Hampshire County Council: https://www.hants.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling

 

Final thoughts

 

When I go to throw things away, I try to remember that there is no place called ‘away’. Everything I put in my waste rubbish bin goes somewhere. Usually to an incinerator or a landfill. The less I send to landfill the better.

 

That’s why my household recycling centre looks like this:

Portsmouth has one of the lowest recycling rates in the country, coming in at 338 out of 352 authorities in 2015/16 with the percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting at 23.4%.

 

To give you an idea, the top ranking authority, South Oxfordshire District Council, has a percentage of 66.6%. So, as a city, Portsmouth has a way to go. I hope my efforts will have a ripple effect – one neighbour at a time!

 

Do you have any other recycling hacks for Portsmouth? Let me know in the comments section below.

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