We are all being told to sort and re-cycle plastic, because it damages the environment once disposed of. But what does that really mean? In many cases, due to the huge variety of plastics in use, it is almost impossible to recycle many of the plastic items we dispose of, especially black food trays, which are not recognised by scanning equipment.
However, we can re-use or up-cycle many of the plastic items we often throw away. This saves us money and time and helps protect the environment. By re-using them, we are helping to reduce the quantity of plastic in landfill and the sea, where they take many years to degrade and leach poisonous chemicals into the environment. Even if we separate our plastic waste, before putting it in the rubbish, we may well not be guaranteeing that it gets recycled, as much of it still ends up in landfill. So if we can re-use it, that makes more sense. Here are a few examples of how we can up-cycle plastic household items and how they benefit us.
Old plastic milk containers
Available in small, medium or large, these handy containers can be used in the following ways:
To keep or transport water in or to the car, for example to fill up the windscreen wash or top up the radiator. It can even be a useful way to keep water for the dog on longer journeys.
Either cut down or not, they are very useful for keeping a supply of water in an outbuilding or workshop, where running water is absent. For example, artist’s studios, home offices, therapy rooms very often have no mains water, but do have a kettle which needs filling.
Old Plastic Bags
With the shops charging 5p a bag, it makes perfect sense to re-use them. But plastic carrier bags can be used for many things, not just for shopping. Put some in the car for shopping of course, but also use them to transport wellies or old shoes in the car, protecting the interior of the car from wet, mud & dust. Bags for life are obviously great for re-use, and can be useful for storing or moving tools or decorating equipment and materials, and any gardening or outdoor stuff. They’re also useful for storing clothes, blankets, handbags or shoes under a bed or in the bottom of a cupboard keeping them free from dust and mildew.
Old Plastic Food Containers
Takeaways often come in plastic containers, usually with tightly fitting lids. These can be very useful to store leftover food in the fridge or freezer. As long as you know what’s in them and when they were filled (labelling helps!) they are a brilliant way to keep frozen fruit, stews, cheese, or stocks that you may otherwise have thrown away. They are also useful for keeping old screws, washers, hinges and brackets that come in really useful when you don’t need a whole packet, saving you a trip to the hardware store. And plastic pet-food trays or ready meal containers are also great for mixing filler or paint for odd jobs around the house.
We should all make a point of keeping and re-using these plastic items if we can. However, if we must throw them out, there is more info on how we up-cycle plastic here. and on the different types of plastic here.
Alternatively, give us a call and we will collect and re-cycle plastic items and any other household waste on your behalf.