Recycling of traditional materials such as glass, tins, paper, cardboard and plastic has been around for ages, and have been generally well-supported. Even ten years ago, schools across South Africa incentivised recycling efforts by students and their families to make valuable contributions towards eco-friendly living. Now, well into the 21st century, it is starting to set in that our wasteful habits of the past have done near-irrevocable damage to our precious planet.
We want to continue encouraging recycling by showing you 10 things you didn’t know you could recycle, to show you that the list goes on beyond what we thought we knew.
Fluorescent light bulbs are one of those unexpected items that myriad companies will actually take off your hands for the purpose of recycling. Organisations such as Reclite will take whole, uncrushed lamps of just about any kind from you and recycle them, diverting several kilograms of harmful chemicals and unnecessary waste from landfills, nationally.
Many people know that batteries shouldn’t be tossed in with general waste, but do they actually know how batteries should be disposed of? Better yet, did you know that batteries can be recycled?
There are recycling centres across South Africa – such as PC Undertakers – that will recycle batteries on your behalf, doing a great deal towards reducing harmful substances in landfills.
Did you know that even your used, damaged or outdated spectacles can be recycled? Your old eyewear can be dropped off and broken down into key components which are then repurposed and recycled accordingly. Companies such as SmartMatta in Prospecton offer a wide range of recycling services which encompass eyewear.
Speaking of SmartMatta, this centre also recycles another unusual product: polystyrene. If you have ever bought a new fridge or kitchen appliance, you’ll know that every single component they can think to encase in polystyrene, is, to the point of insanity. Whilst this may be to protect the components, it results in a lot f bulky waste.
Rubber and tyres are another huge component of landfills, and virtually never biodegrade. Luckily, it is possible to recycle these materials and contribute towards more sustainable living and consumerism!
You can convert your old, tired electronic assets into cold, hard cash, if you are possessed to do so. Companies such as PartServe in Mount Edgecombe will collect (or receive) your electronic assets, preferably in some working order, and either take them off your hands for a relative market value, or dispose of them properly and in an environmentally friendly way.
Some cosmetics and skincare companies will accept your used, empty makeup containers and components from their brand, and put them towards reuse and recycling processes. One such brand is MAC Cosmetics, who will exchange every 5 primary packaging units returned, for a complementary primary inline lipstick of your choice. This concept wonderfully incentivises recycling an unexpected product.
We bet you never saw this one coming! The film used to record medical x-rays can be recycled. Plenty types of medical waste can be recycled into unexpected alternatives and reduce thousands of kilograms of waste from entering landfills each year.
The cartridges that carry your printer ink have been recyclable for many years, believe it or not. Many office supply companies around the world will accept empty cartridges for recycling processes, and sometimes even offer customer benefits for your sustainable efforts.
Gift bags are bought every single day for parties, events, shopping purposes, every function under the sun, and whilst some of us hoard them to reuse for upcoming birthdays, many are discarded. Given that paper-based gift bags such as those produced by Kiki Bag are wholly recyclable and biodegradable, it is a shame to see so many end up on the landfill.