Sustainable Living

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – A Few Tips

Protecting the environment is a hugely important issue, especially in this present day. We often hear the phrase, ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ in relation to lessening our environmental impact and creating less waste. Over the past few years I have been writing down ideas for how I can reduce my use of resources, as well as reusing and recycling items that would normally be thrown away. In this post I’ll share some tips that are easy to implement into your life.

Reduce

Cut open product tubes

Many cosmetic products such as cleansers and hand creams come in a plastic tube. It can be hard to get the last bit of product out of the tube! A solution to this is to cut the tube. I cut about 1/4 of a way up from the lid, and first use any product that is around the inside of the longer part, nearest to the cut. To store your product, you can then insert the shorter part of the tube into the longer part (which is now clean around the inside edge). There will be a gap where the shorter part is squeezed in, so you can also place the tube in a pot or a plastic bag to make it airtight. This is a good way to reuse any little plastic bags you acquire as packaging.

By doing this, you can get the last of the product out of the tube, which saves on waste and also makes the tube easier to recycle because it is clean. It also means you save money and resources, because your products will last longer so you won’t have to buy new ones quite as often.

Cut open product tube
Cut the tube about 1/4 of the way up. Use the leftover product in the longer section first, and then bend and insert the shorter section into the longer one.
There will be a gap where the shorter part of the tube is squeezed into the longer part.
As you can see, there will be a gap where the shorter part is squeezed in.
Seal the tube in a bag to make it airtight.
Seal the tube in a bag to make it airtight.

Wee in the shower

To save water, wee in the shower to save on toilet flushes. You might be thinking, ‘Yuck!’, but urine is sterile when it leaves the body. It’s cleaner than the dirt and sweat you are washing off yourself. As long as the shower is running, the wee will go straight down the drain – the same drain that your toilet goes to!

There was a campaign a few years ago at the University of East Anglia called ‘Go with the flow’. It encouraged University students to take their first wee of the day while showering. They calculated that if all 15,000 students in the University did this, they would collectively save enough water to fill 26 olympic sized swimming pools over the course of a year! Imagine how much water would be saved if everyone did this!

Reuse

Use old pen lids as pencil lids

It can be difficult to find ways to recycle pens that have run out. But there is an easy way to reuse their lids! Use them as lids for your pencils instead. This will stop the pencils from drawing all over the inside of your pencil case or bag, so everything will stay clean!

Use old pen lids as pencil lids.

Reuse the sellotape that is used to seal Ferrero Rocher boxes.

I have received boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates as gifts in the past, and the boxes are sealed with long strips of sellotape. If you peel the sellotape off carefully, it is still sticky and looks almost pristine. Instead of throwing this sellotape away, try wrapping it around an old sellotape ‘middle’ (or anything round) and re-using it.

I know this tip is quite specific, but other brands of chocolates and sweets probably come sealed with sellotape so it could apply there too.

Cut up old socks to make useful cloths

When your socks are holey and beyond wearing, you can cut them up to make useful cloths. I have written a blog post about this here.

Cut up socks to make useful cloths.

Use the wires from old spiral-bound calendars or notebooks as bin bag ties

It’s easy to recycle the paper from an old notebook or calendar, but what about the wire binding? One idea is to stretch it out, cut it to shorter lengths and use it to tie up bin bags. I know most purpose-made bin bags already have tie handles, but sometimes I like to reuse old plastic packaging and other types of bag. These don’t always have handles. They can be hard to tie up, so the wires from calendars or notebooks are a perfect solution!

Use the wires from old spiral-bound calendars or notebooks as bin bag ties.

Use Kinder Egg toy capsules to store small things

If you eat Kinder Eggs, you will know that inside the chocolate egg you get a toy inside a small yellow or orange capsule. These capsules can be reused as handy storage for anything small, such as seeds, beads or pills.

Use Kinder Egg toy capsules to store small things.

Recycle

Recycle metal bottle lids

Although metal bottle lids are recyclable, many recycling schemes request that they are not put loose into your recycling bin. This is because they are small and can fall through the conveyer belt at the recycling plant, potentially jamming the machinery. A solution to this is to save up several metal bottle lids, and then put them inside a can that you are recycling. When you open the can, remember to leave the lid partially attached. This way, when the can is empty you can put the small lids inside, and then squeeze the lid of the can closed so that they can’t fall out.

Metal bottle lids.

Take plastic bottle lids to LUSH

Most recycling schemes accept plastic bottles, but not their lids! Fortunately, there is an easy way to recycle them. Save them up and take them to a LUSH store they take plastic bottle lids and send them off to be recycled. Of course, it’s best to buy as few plastic bottles as possible in the first place!

Plastic bottle lids.

Check your local Marks & Spencer or Tesco for plastic recycling

Early in 2019, Marks & Spencer launched an in-store plastic recycling scheme for types of plastic that are not usually recycled. These include crisp packets, ready-meal trays and sauce sachets. The scheme was initially only available in 8 stores, but M&S plans to extend this nationwide by the end of 2019!

Tesco is also trialling a similar scheme in 10 stores around the Bristol and Swindon areas. Hopefully they will end up extending this to all Tesco stores.

Could you implement any of these ideas?

I hope you found these tips helpful. Do you already do some of these things? Would you try out any of the ideas I’ve mentioned? And do you have any other creative ideas for how to ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’? Let me know in the comments!

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - A Few Tips
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11 Comments

  1. I like the pen and the pencil heck and will start doing it. Simple and genious!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Glad you liked that hack, hope it comes in useful!

  2. I love the tube idea, I need to do this as I probably end up throwing loads of toothpaste and skincare away 🙁

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      It’s amazing how much is actually left inside the tube when you think it’s empty!

  3. Emma Young says:

    These are fantastic tips! I’ll be sure to implement some of them! The sock one is a good idea! I liked your Ferrero Rocher one! I’ve re-used the inside plastic tray of a big box of them as it has individual spaces which is perfect for putting jewellery into! 🌸👍

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I’m glad you liked my tips! That’s a great idea to re-use the plastic tray to organise your jewellery! 👍 💕

  4. These are some really good tips. I will have to try the pen cap thing too. The wire from a notebook…… Actually all of these are good.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I’m glad you liked my tips and are going to try them! 🙂

  5. She great tips!! Thank you for sharing xx

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      You’re welcome! xx

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