Last month, I wrote a blog post about some items that could be recycled and usually end up in landfill and it was quite popular on social media. People do love to recycle, which again is a great thing – as long as we also try to reduce our waste the best we can.
So, I’ve decided to keep writing about recycling items outside the normal kerbside council services, mainly to bring awareness about these possibilities.
Please note, links in today’s post are mainly for people living in Australia, but if you are reading from another country, please read these options and check what’s available locally. I am sure in many countries there are also ways to recycle these products.
From time to time, we need to have X-rays taken for different reasons, and when we are done we save them in the “just in case” drawer and completely forget about them. The reality is: these films are hardly ever used again.
If you’ve got some old X-rays that you no longer need, these can be recycled. According to Planet Ark:
“X-ray films contain silver in the form of halides, which can be extracted and converted into pure silver.”
If you are in Australia, the easier way to find places to recycle X-rays is searching in RecyclingNearYou.com.au. Enter your suburb/postcode and select “X-Ray films” from the drop-down list.
Coffee cups and plastic straws
Take-away coffee cups are not as eco-friendly as they look, they have a hidden material inside: a lining of plastic. This makes the process of recycling really hard, that’s why most kerbside recycling services won’t take them (they do recycle the plastic lids though).
Plastic straws are also hard to recycle because they are too small and fall during the sorting process; most of them end up in landfill.
The best option is to get a reusable cup (and reusable straw if you need one) and forget about disposable plastic all together, but I know life happens – particularly when trying to build new habits, things won’t go as planned. So if you end up with a take-away coffee cup or straw in your hands, here in Australia 7-Eleven has joined forces with Simply cups to recycle these items.
Note that they recycle all brands, not only 7-11 ones, so you can collect these items and drop them there.
Find your nearest location here: 7-Eleven Cup Rescue Program.
Did you know that it is a bad idea to drain cooking oil down the sink? For many years, I didn’t know. It turns out that this oil ends up in our waterways where it can cause many environmental issues and it can also clog pipes.
The good news is that cooking oil can actually be recycled. According to Planet Ark:
“Used oil is collected from on-site storage bins and delivered to a processing facility. The oil is filtered into large storage tanks which are heated and treated for subsequent conversion in to a range of other products including biofuel, animal feed products, detergents and soap, paints and industrial lubricants.”
I personally collect the cooking oil in a glass jar and when it is full, I take it to a council waste and recycle centre. I don’t fry a lot of food, so it takes ages to fill up.
You can also add cooking oil to the compost bin, however, it is probably better to give it another chance and recycle it.
If you are in Australia, the easier way to find places to recycle cooking oil is searching in RecyclingNearYou.com.au. Enter your suburb/postcode and select “Oil – cooking” from the drop-down list.
If you own a restaurant, there are also commercial oil recycling services, to find out more click here.
Sooner or later eyeglasses break or people replace them for new ones when they get new a prescription and the old ones end up in a drawer or in landfill.
Here in Australia the easiest way to give your glasses a second life is through Lions Recycle for Sight Australia. From their website
“We receive requests from humanitarian organisations either travelling to a third world country or supplying shipping container loads of suitable humanitarian aid from Australia to groups in the third world.”
They have partner with many optometrists, so it is easy to find a collection point, otherwise you can send them via mail. Information here.
However, sending these items overseas in not the same as recycling the materials. While searching info for this post, I found some articles suggesting that sending prescription glasses overseas is not the best option because only a small percentage of those glasses can actually be reused (read more here). Due to this, Vision Aid Overseas in UK stopped sending glasses and instead they recycle second-hand glasses and extract the materials.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an option to actually recycle glasses in Australia; if you know about it, please let me know to update this post.
Given the topic, I’d like to mention a company called Dresden. They sell affordable glasses made from recycled plastic and when they break you can actually return them back and they recycle them into new glasses. Isn’t that cool? A closed loop. Check their website, I have no affiliation with them, but I love this type of companies doing the right thing for the planet.
NOTE: When the frame is in good condition, in my opinion best thing to do is to reuse them and only get the lenses. I have done this several times. In the optical, they always try to convince me that it is better to get new ones because they are not responsible for damages to the frames bla bla bla, but I have never had any problems.
You have probably seen mattresses in the streets waiting for rubbish collection. According to PlanetArk:
“Each year in Australia around 1.25 million mattresses are sent to landfill and each mattress takes up 0.75 cubic metres of space in landfill.”
There are valuable materials in these mattresses, so they can be recycled. There are private and social enterprise companies who charge you a small fee to collect and recycle your mattress. Visit RecyclingNearYou website and check the map.
Also check with your council and ask them about your rubbish collection. If they don’t recycle the mattresses they collect, then suggest them to do something about it. We can all bring positive changes to the world when we speak up!
“The vast possibilities of our great future will become realities only if we make ourselves responsible for that future.”-Gifford Pinchot
That’s it for today. Let me know in the comments below: Did you learn something from this post? Are you ready to start recycling any of these items?
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Thanks for reading,