Recycling at home: 5 odd items you can recycle

RECYCLING is one small and simple action that can fight the planet’s pollution crisis. You may already have an effective sorting and recycling system at your home. Most South Africans are aware of the importance of recycling, and regularly recycle plastic, paper and glass items.

However, what happens to those odd bits and pieces, like batteries, old clothes, old cellphones and books? There are various local organisations that will re-use or recycle old items that, in most households, usually end up in the trash bin. Instead of discarding old items, donate them to a local environmental organisation that will make better use of them.

“It is old stuff that may be useless to you, but there are people out there who would really appreciate a donation,” said Lindsay Hopkins from the national non-profit organisation (NPO), SA Harvest, that addresses hunger across South Africa.

Hopkins says that the re-purposing and re-using industry is an important societal structure, and more people should utilise it.

“There are people out there who can do so much with old items – to you it’s old, but to them it’s gold,” said Hopkins.

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There are plenty of household items you might not even realise are recyclable. Here are some old items that you should be recycling:

Books

Local charities, libraries, schools and second-hand bookstores, will accept old novels, granted they are in a relatively good condition. Photo: Pixabay

Other paper items such as magazines, newspapers and paper pages can be thrown away in a paper recycling bin, however, books should be donated. Local charities, libraries, schools and second-hand bookstores will accept old novels, granted they are in a relatively good condition. For those copies that have been damaged, there are still recycling companies that will accept old books and recycle the paper from the book. So, next time you want to chuck out your old Stephen King novel, rather donate and share a classic thriller with the next person.

Electronics

Discarding old electronic items can be harmful for the environment. Many of them are full of chemicals and heavy metals that can seep into the soil and harm our planet. Although you may be tempted to dump old electronics in the trash, consider not doing so because these items can still be recycled. There are recycling centres that deal specifically with electronic materials and items such as old laptops, TVs and power cords.

Running shoes

There are shoe companies that have recycling programmes, and some even accept old shoes via shipping. Photo: Stock Image

Those once firm and freshly coloured shoes eventually end up old and tattered, and the easiest thing to do is to chuck them away and out of sight. But athletic shoes in fair condition should be donated, and those that can no longer be worn can be recycled. There are shoe companies that have recycling programmes, and some even accept old shoes via shipping.

ALSO READ: Perfecting the EV battery recycling process

Batteries

Batteries contain toxic chemicals such as lithium, cadmium, sulphuric acid and lead, and if disposed of improperly, these toxic chemicals can leak into the soil and contaminate groundwater. Photo: Pixabay

It can be extremely harmful for the environment to discard old batteries in the trash bin. Batteries contain toxic chemicals such as lithium, cadmium, sulphuric acid and lead, and if disposed of improperly, these toxic chemicals can leak into the soil and contaminate groundwater. In South Africa, you can sign up to make use of a special battery collection service, or you can drop your old batteries off at one of the various battery recycling centres across the country. Some Pick ’n Pays have battery-recycling bins at the entrance to their stores.

Clothing

There are countless local organisations that accept old clothing. Many non-profits and used-clothing stores will sort your old clothing for you, dividing it into what’s re-usable, and what needs to go to a recycling plant.

Donate your old clothing and bedding, or cut them up to re-use as washable cleaning rags and dusters.

Local organisations to check out:

SA Harvest 

Robin Hood Foundation 

Love Mark 

USE-IT  

Electronic Cemetery e-Waste 

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