It seems these days we have a bin of every colour of the rainbow for various recyclable goods. Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but it seems we could be heading for a Red for Monday, Orange for Tuesday, Yellow for Wednesday etc situation. It doesn’t surprise me, then, that so many people are put off recycling because it actually does take a bit of effort to get your head around it all. Hopefully, and I am fully aware of how much I’m blowing my own trumpet here, this article may help…

recycling bins

HELP! What Can I Actually Recycle These Days?

So we are all aware that numerous products that we own are recyclable. From the can of your favourite soda to your usual paper napkins, these products can easily be recycled by reprocessing them. Take for instance the can of soda; the rubbish collectors usually sort the trash according to the type from polythene, organic paper to metals. These products are then taken to recycling factories where they are re-processed and then reused.

Almost everything we own, from the wearable to electronic gadgets, all these products are indeed recyclable. How is that possible?

Well, here are some of the most obvious things that you own that are actually recyclable:

a) Batteries– indeed batteries can be recycled. Whether it’s the rechargeable or single-use ones, once the power juice is at a very low level, these items are usually shipped to the manufacturer or your local recycling firm who will re-use every component of the batteries. So don’t let your good old car battery lie around your garage doing nothing.

b) Cardboard boxes– have you recently moved to a new home and you still have the cardboard boxes? Well, unless you are planning to move to a new home very soon, and soon I mean by end month, you can donate them to the local shelter homes or a religious centre that takes care the homeless. These cardboard boxes would be of great help to those who are homeless.

big box

c) Clothes– we all have those favourite outfits that we don’t want to let go. It’s time to move on my friend, donate those items to the homeless through your local community program or religious initiative. These outfits would go a long way in helping those who lack essential basic clothing to wear.

Yes, Steven, it can be recycled #excited
Yes, Steven, it can be recycled #excited

d) Old mobile phones and tablets– you might be having one or several in your bedroom drawers or closets. Most of these gadgets are fully functional and can be made useful. The only defect that these mobile phones and other electronic gadgets are guilty of is a worn out housing. For just less than a pound, you can buy a new housing for the mobile phone. With a few DIY tips on YouTube, you can safely change the old housing and fix the new one. I can guarantee that the phone will look brand new just as you bought it. With the refabricated phone, you can opt to use it as an alternative for another mobile service provider like GigSky or sell it on eBay and earn some quick cash.

Other, lesser-known items which you can recycle include:

e) Oil/grease – if you have lots of it and not in use, you can opt to sell or donate to a construction company especially those who use timber. Oil or grease is a good repellent of termites and prevents mould from growing.

f) Shoes – we are guilty as charged when it comes to owning a pair or pairs of shoes which we no longer use. If you have outgrown them, you can opt to donate them to the local shelter programs, if they have some value you can trade them at your local thrift shop or flea market for an item in exchange.

g) Ink toner/ cartridges

h) DVDs/ CDs

i) Foam packs

j) your old Tooth brush!


FACT: NO-one likes to throw money down the proverbial drain. Yet, we ALL do this every day. True, it may only be a couple of pence here and there on a daily basis, but as my nan always says: Look after the pennies and the pounds take care of themselves!

So how much money are we wasting today? Different household appliances use different amounts of electricity, and it certainly pays to be aware of how much you can save by turning things off. Read my tips below and see the reduction in your energy bill next month!



Ensure that you turn off all lights, including night lights. For security purposes, you can set up energy-efficient lamps on timers.

Water heater

If you are headed for a long vacation, you can turn the heater off at the breaker or set it to the lowest temperature. However, there may be times when you’ve returned from your long vacation only to realize the water heater is not working properly. In such cases, you could hire a technician from a company like Home Team Electric to come and do the necessary work.

Air Conditioner

If you are going to spend a better part of the weekend or a month away from your apartment or home, it is advisable to switch off the air conditioner. Also, before leaving for your trip, do inspect your air conditioner for any signs of malfunction (such as bad odor or water leaks). If need be, contact a skilled AC Repair personnel who can provide you with a solution quickly. Remember that if you leave your device unattended for a long time, you might come back to find it infested with molds.

Even if you aren’t going anywhere, it is always a good habit to ensure that any appliances that aren’t in use are turned off. If you have a habit of forgetting about these things, you can always rely on smart technology to remind you. All of this, however, only applies if the systems are in good working condition. You could make use of Premier HVAC Services AC tune-up to get this done for your household.

Entertainment Electronics

Ensure that your TV, decoder, and home theatre are switched off and unplugged when you are planning for a vacation or weekend away. In case you have pets in the house and don’t plan to take them along during your vacation, it is advisable to leave them with your neighbor or close friend. Leaving your pets alone in the house can increase the chances of an electrical mishap.



Whether you own a desktop computer or laptop, ensure that the machine is switched off and unplugged when not in use. Double-check before you leave. Devices that are plugged in have a higher chance of causing an electrical disaster.

Kitchen appliances

Your deep freezer will definitely not be in use when you are away. In addition, consider emptying your refrigerator and unplugging it. Microwaves, coffee makers and toaster ovens should be unplugged when not in use.

Swimming pool heater

Unless you are planning to take a swim, the heater should always be switched off at all times to minimize energy consumption.

Mobile phone chargers


The amount of energy consumed by your mobile phone chargers might seem minute, even negligible but it has a severe effect when you factor in other appliances and electronics left plugged in. These chargers are the easiest to unplug, always ensure that you unplug them when not in use.

Confusing bins and green fatigue turning people off recycling

Recycling rates are expected to fall this year for the first time in a decade, according to a leading rubbish collector.

The proliferation of bins that households are forced to use together with “green fatigue” and falls in the use of glass and paper, the two most recyclable types of rubbish, are all contributing to a stalling of the recycling rate, according to analysis by SITA UK, which collects waste from 12 million homes.

Government officials have already warned that current recycling rates are “insufficient” to meet a European Union target that half of household waste be recycled by 2020.

Figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed that the recycling rate in England rose by only 0.2 percentage points from 43 per cent in 2011-12 to 43.2 per cent in 2012-13. SITA UK believes the rate will drop by at least 2 per cent this year.

It said its collection information showed the rate was already falling in urban areas, particularly in London.

Confusing bins and green fatigue turning people off recycling

The company said this could be down to “green fatigue” and that councils needed to make recycling easier. It suggested introducing mixed-bin recycling rather than making people separate out their own rubbish. David Palmer-Jones, the company’s chief executive, said: “Rates of overall recycling, especially in high-density urban areas, are undoubtedly higher when councils and their contractors run a mixed collection service.”

The Campaign for Real Recycling has opposed mixed-bin recycling, arguing that such waste cannot be properly sorted and ends up in landfill. It claims waste companies prefer it because it allows them to keep using the same trucks.

Other reasons for the forecast decline include local authority budget cuts, as councils divert stretched resources away from recycling to education and roads.

A Defra spokesman said it was working to ensure that it met the EU’s 50 per cent target.

More than three million families are paying a “garden tax” to have their lawn clippings taken away by the council, according to the Daily Mail. One in three councils in England and Wales charges residents to collect garden waste.

The levy, which can cost up to £120 a year, is not imposed by authorities in Scotland or Northern Ireland, which have retained free collections. The newspaper’s analysis of official data collected by Wrap, the government’s waste quango, revealed that 3.12 million homes had to pay for garden waste to be collected by their councils in 2012-13.